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If You Don’t Clean These Items, They Become a Fire Hazard!

 We all try to keep the living room tidy and the countertop clean, but it’s easy to forget about the nooks and crannies that are usually out of our sight. Cleaning these hidden spots is extremely important - not only for hygiene’s sake but also for your safety. If left untouched for too long, the dirt accumulating in these areas can become a real fire hazard. We rounded up 10 spots you must add to your regular cleaning routine to keep your home and family safe.

1. Air conditioners10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly air conditioner

Summer is fast approaching, and that means that air conditioner use will soon rise significantly. Even though an air conditioner is meant to cool down a home, neglecting to clean it could potentially lead to a fire. 

When cleaning your air conditioner, you want to make sure that the filters don’t accumulate too much dust and that the wiring is fully intact. Broken wires can easily happen as a result of wear and tear. If the wire is totally broken, the risk is low, but if it’s only partially broken or frayed, power continues to flow with increased resistance. This causes overheating and can potentially start an electrical fire. To prevent that, experts recommend cleaning your air conditioner unit thoroughly every three months. 

2. Toasters10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly toaster

The toaster is one of the most commonly used appliances in many homes, and as such, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, it can become a fire hazard. Crumbs easily accumulate at the bottom of the toaster. When the appliance is used again, those crumbs can be reheated and start giving off smoke. Cheese and other ingredients can also melt onto the heating panel, which is even more dangerous. 

To stay safe, it’s best to clean the crumbs after every use and make sure that nothing is left on the heat source. 

3. Pests and rodents10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly mouse trap

When pests invade your home, the first thing to come to mind is the potential health hazards they bring. What many people tend to forget is that rodents can also increase the risk of a fire. Rodents and birds both like to nest in and on buildings. They seek out small voids like chimneys, vents, and nooks in the walls, and usually make their nests out of flammable materials like lint, bits of fabric, dead grass, and paper. Rodents are also known for their love of gnawing on things, including electrical wires and cables. 

If you are not taking measures to ensure these critters stay out of your home, like setting traps and keeping the kitchen clean, you could find yourself ending up in a "volatile" situation.

Related: Be Aware of These 10 Unexpected Hazard Around the House

4. Bathroom exhaust fans10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly bathroom exhaust fan

The bathroom exhaust fan is one of the most overlooked fire hazards in the home. Newer models usually have thermally protected motors that shut off automatically when the motor is overheated. However, older bathroom fans do not have this safety feature.

So, when dust and debris are choking the motor and the fan cover is clogged by dust, the motor can easily overheat and start a fire. If you have an old exhaust fan in your bathroom, it’s vital that you clean the fan cover at least once a year and the motor itself every few years.

5. Outdoor grills10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly outdoor grill

Cooking outside can be a great summer experience, but unfortunately, grill fire accidents are all too common during the warmer months. We’re not saying that you should let go of your beloved barbecues, but be sure to properly clean up and store your grill after each use. Grease build-up is a common cause for fires, so don't underestimate the importance of scrubbing or wiping down your grill after each use. 

When cooking on a charcoal grill, always make sure that the coals are fully extinguished when you’re finished. When you no longer see any red glow on the coals, hose it down with water, and stir up the coals until they turn into an almost liquid mixture. 

6. Dryer vents10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly dryer

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 17,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year. To lower that risk, it’s important to clean the lint from your dryer and the dryer vent on a regular basis. Otherwise, lint can gradually build up and catch fire in the heating element or exhaust duct. 

7. Unwashed rags and cloths10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly rags

An item as simple as an oily rag used for staining left in the garage or basement can start a house fire. That’s because a chemical reaction between cotton and certain oil-based stains can cause spontaneous combustion.

After using a cotton rag for oil staining, it should be placed in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid and soaked in a solution of water and laundry detergent for three days. Only then it can be disposed of safely.  

Related: Warning: Do Not Throw These Household Items In the Garbage

8. Hairdryers10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly hairdryers

If a hairdryer is used every day, hair and dust start to build up inside the appliance. Not only is it unhygienic, but it can also be downright hazardous. If the appliance smells like burned hair or occasionally shocks you, these are clear signs that it needs to be cleaned or replaced. 

Cleaning the hairdryer is simple and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Firstly, make sure it’s unplugged. Next, remove the filter located at the back of the dryer. Some filters will twist right off, while others will require a screwdriver. Once the filter is removed, place it under running water for a few seconds until all the dirt comes off, and dry it with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Make sure the filter is completely dry before reattaching it.

9. ​Lawnmowers10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly lawnmower

Most of us tend to push the lawnmower into the shed after using it and forget about it until the next time we need it. Unfortunately, that is not a safe habit. When a lawnmower isn’t maintained and cleaned properly, debris or dry grass can get stuck in the mower deck and start a fire. That is especially common during the warmer months. Try and make it a habit to clean your lawnmower after each use. 

10. Range hoods10 Items That Can Cause a Fire When Not Cleaned Regularly range hoods

Cleaning the range hood is key, too. A dirty hood can easily be ignited by old grease or cooking oil splatters stuck in the hood. Additionally, the buildup could clog the filter and destroy your ceiling, with bubbles and residue forming in the places where the air isn’t able to be filtered out properly. To clean the range hood, experts recommend using a little hot water, baking soda, and degreasing soap once a month. 

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