There may be more than stray socks lurking in your laundry room—there are safety risks as well.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires are reported each year. And in 2014, more than 11,000 children were exposed to dangerous detergent, reports the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Here's what needs to be cleaned, checked, and stored in order to maintain a safe laundry room:
What to clean
- Spills: Wipe them up as soon as they happen. Soapy detergent can cause falls, and clear bleach could be mistaken for water.
- Lint traps: Empty it after every load, and clean it with a nylon brush every six months.
- Dryer ducts and vents: Hire professionals to clean your ducts and vent if you notice a decrease in dryer performance. If you have pets or a large family, this could be necessary as often as twice a year.
- Washing machine: Learn how to maintain your washer.
What to check
- Dryer ducts: Plastic dryer ducts are a fire hazard. Replace them with straight or flexible metal ducts.
- Dryer manual: This should tell you the space a dryer needs for proper airflow. Keep your dryer cool by keeping the area around it clutter-free.
- Dryer vent: Check the vent's exterior output for blockages, such as leaves or bird nests.
- Washing machine base: Make sure to place the machine in a pan connected to a drain to catch leaks before they cause major damage. This is especially important if your washer is located on an upper floor in your home.
- Hoses: Replace washing machine supply lines every three to five years as part of a proactive maintenance plan.
What to store
- Detergents: Store detergents, detergent packets, bleach, and fabric softeners out of reach of children and pets. Also talk to your kids about what's safe to touch and what's not.
- Fire extinguisher: Thousands of fires start in laundry rooms each year. It's smart to keep an extinguisher close.
- Important numbers: Keep your local poison control center's number posted in the laundry room in case of an emergency.
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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.