18 Household Items That Could Be a Fire Risk if You Don’t Maintain Them

It’s important to know what items in your house could be a potential fire risk, especially if you don’t maintain them. Many culprits known to start fires include faulty wiring or items that haven’t been looked after. Here are 18 items that could potentially cause a fire.

Dryer Lint

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Dryer lint is known for being highly combustible and has contributed to many household fires. This is supported by Bob Vila, who writes, “Dryer lint is so flammable that many people use it to make their own DIY fire starters.” Regular cleaning of lint traps and vents will reduce the risk of fire.

Old Appliances

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Old appliances can have outdated safety features and worn-out electrical cables, and both of these can pose fire risks. If you’re using old appliances, it’s important to keep regularly checking your cables to make sure they aren’t damaged or frayed. You can also try unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use.


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Creosote buildup can lead to many chimney fires. If you have a working chimney, then it should be inspected every year and cleaned by a professional if they say it needs sweeping. Regular maintenance of your chimney will prevent a buildup and keep you safe.

Oily Rags

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Reader’s Digest writes that many fires are often caused by unwashed rags that have been used for staining and are then left in the garage or basement. Many oily rags are known to spontaneously combust if they aren’t properly stored. Make sure to dispose of the rags properly when you’ve finished with them by allowing them to soak for three days.


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If dust and debris accumulate in your hair dryer, it can cause overheating, which is a fire risk. If your hair dryer has burning smells coming from it or is creating electrical shocks, then it could be a sign of a malfunction. It’s essential to ensure your hair dryer is regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure it doesn’t start any fires.


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Debris and dry grass can build up in your lawn mower, and this can cause it to catch fire. This is supported by Mapfre Insurance, which writes, “When not properly cleaned out, the mower can catch fire when weather conditions are hot.” To maintain your lawn mower, make sure to clean it after every use.

Flour and Powdered Foods

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Flour and powdered foods are highly flammable, especially when airborne. You should always store these foods safely and immediately clean up any spills to avoid ignition. It’s so easy for powered foods to alight when cooking, especially if they’re left out, so always be cautious where you’re placing them.

Beauty Products

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Beauty products often contain flammable ingredients, especially if they’re in aerosol cans. Always store them away from sunlight, and ensure they’re kept away from any open flames. Storing beauty products properly will reduce any fire risks. The best place to keep them is in a cabinet or drawer.

Hand Sanitizers

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Family Handyman writes, “Hand sanitizers are useful when you’re out and about, but many of them are alcohol-based products, so they can ignite very easily at relatively low temperatures.” Always use small amounts of hand sanitizer and allow it to fully dry before you start using your hands, as it could easily ignite.

Nail Polish Remover

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Acetone is a highly flammable beauty product, and even the vapors it produces can ignite from a distance. Never use nail polish remover near open flames or where there could be sparks. It’s important to store nail polish remover away from any heat sources, so try to keep it in a cool, dark place.

Pool Chemicals

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Chemicals such as chlorine and other pool maintenance liquids can ignite, even without a flame. You should maintain these chemicals by keeping them in a cool, dry place and away from any direct sunlight. Handling these chemicals properly and adequately storing them will prevent any fires.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

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Fire Chief writes, “Warning signs that a lithium-ion battery pack or cell is likely to fail include the battery appearing to bulge or swell, sometimes accompanied by other signs such as discharging too fast and/or the battery is hot to the touch.” Make sure you always recycle your batteries instead of having them in your home.

Shoe Polish

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Shoe polish contains flammable substances such as naphtha and turpentine. Always use and store it in well-ventilated areas, and keep it away from any heat sources. It’s important to always regularly check your shoe polish for damaged containers to ensure they’ve been stored properly.

Plastic Containers

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These types of containers can catch fire if they’re exposed to high heat, as they have a petroleum base. Try not to microwave plastic containers, and instead put your food into glass or other microwaveable containers. They should also be stored away from stovetops and ovens.

Ping Pong Balls

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Ping pong balls are made from a highly flammable material. This is supported by Science Notes, which writes, “The reason they burn is because they are made of celluloid. Celluloid is a flammable polymer, much like nitrocellulose or guncotton.” Make sure your ping pong balls are stored in a cool, dry place, such as a drawer.


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Mattresses contain flammable materials such as memory foam and polyurethane. If you’re purchasing a new mattress, especially a second-hand one, then ensure it complies with safety standards and never smoke in bed. You can regularly check your mattress to make sure there isn’t any damage and adhere to safety regulations.


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It’s important to never leave candles unattended and never fall asleep with any lit. Always keep them away from anything flammable, as well as any pets or children. If you want to light a candle, first ensure it’s in a stable container that’s heat resistant. Regularly check on candles to make sure they’ve been properly extinguished.

Electrical Heaters

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While we love to keep warm, it’s important to always check on your electrical heater. For example, J.S. Held writes, “When it comes to space heaters, it’s important to note any objects in close proximity and/or in contact with the heater that could cause a fire.” Regular inspections of your electrical heater will ensure it isn’t a fire hazard.

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