Laundry Can Spontaneously Combust After Being Put Away If Folded While Still Warm, Fire Department Warns

Laundry can self-ignite

A fire department is warning of the dangers of spontaneous combustion of laundry. The London Fire Brigade warned its followers on Twitter that laundry can pose a fire risk if it is folded while still warm. In fact, the fire officials provided photos of a fire they put out at a home due to laundry combustion. The fire department noted that tightly packed laundry can “self-ignite” due to oils or residues left on the fabrics which are heated in the dryer. So what can you do to avoid spontaneous combustion of your laundry? The London Fire Brigade offers some sage advice.

The London Fire Brigade warned of a little known danger associated with doing laundry on their Twitter account this week. The fire officials noted that a fire was caused by self-igniting laundry in an apartment unit. They took the time to use the fire as an educational tool for those that may not be aware of the dangers associated with laundry that is folded while still warm.

The department also posted a public statement regarding the matter to their website which points out that cotton laundry is prone to spontaneous combustion if any leftover oil residue remains on the fabric and it is folded while still warm. The fire apparently started in a cupboard in the apartment after the owner folded some laundry and placed it in the cabinet.

“Cotton laundry like aprons, tea towels and cloths can often be contaminated with organic cooking oils that can self-ignite if dried and stored.”

The fire brigade notes that self-igniting of laundry is more common in a commercial setting where towels are frequently contaminated with oils or other flammable liquids and dried at high temperatures. However, the problem can also exist for regular laundry as well if oils are not fully washed from items. Here are a few tips the London Fire Brigade offers to ensure your laundry doesn’t self-ignite.

“Make sure you do your wash at the right temperature with the appropriate detergent to remove any oil based contaminants. Also make sure you wait for your laundry to cool down before packing it away and store it in a well ventilated place.”

Did you know that laundry folded while warm could actually spontaneously combust?

[Image Credit: Twitter/ London Fire]