SMS Analytical have had an increasing number of cases relating to tumble drier fires in the last couple of years but these are not related to electrical faults like those with the subsequent recall shambles seen a few years ago. In these particular cases Fire Investigators pass the remains of semi burnt fabrics on to us for analysis of residual fats/greases/oils.
We provide a comprehensive report detailing any tiny traces found. The fire can be caused by particular chemical reactions of residual oils/fats with oxygen in the air, aided by some heat. I suspect this may be partly because of lower temperatures used in ‘Eco’ wash cycles, leaving traces of residual oils/fats which can lead to auto-oxidation reactions, causing self heating and then increased chances of a fire. Some oils are much more likely to cause this, their class is referred to as ‘drying oils’ and includes Rapeseed, one of the most commonly used cooking oils. Even after the drier has finished there may still be a critical core of heat within a stack of fabrics, containing residual oils, so best open and allow to cool after it finishes.
The general advice is not to overload the washer/drier and ensure a sufficiently high temperature is used to remove all oils before tumble drying and use regularly cleaned lint-trapping filters.
Which have provided a useful guide: Section 5 relates to oils.
Never leave a drier on unattended overnight. Sleep tight!
For more information visit our website https://www.smsanalytical.com or give us a call on +44(0)333 3580037