Kent Fire & Rescue Service

White goods and kitchen safety


Reading the instructions could save your life and your home


More than half of the accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen.

To help prevent a fire in our kitchen, always fully read and comply with manufacturers’ instructions, keep kitchen appliances in good working order and follow the advice below.

White goods and fire safety

Tumble dryers, washing machines, fridges and freezers can all cause electrical fires. Here's what you need to know to stay safe.  

Sadly we attend many fires, some fatal - caused by faulty electrical appliances.

Washing machines

  • Ensure washing machines are not left in standby mode for long periods after use
  • Don't leave your washing machine running overnight or while you're out of the house

Tumble dryers

  • Avoid a flammable fluff build-up by cleaning filters on a regular basis
  • Only dry appropriate and correctly sized items as described in the manufacturers’ instructions (quilts and sleeping bags are sometimes not recommended in domestic tumble dryers)
  • Don't leave your tumble dryer running overnight or while you're out of the house

We regularly see fires because tumble dryer filters are not cleaned.

Fridges and freezers

  • Ensure regular defrosting to ensure the motor is not overworking and overheating
  • Always allow air to flow around fridges and freezers - at least 2cm is recommended by most manufacturers


  • Don't overload your dishwasher - this can lead to overheating and leaks
  • Make sure you follow manufacturer's instructions about positioning and ventilation of the machine
  • Clean filters and other user serviceable parts to prevent blockages and wear
  • Use recommended tablets and powders to prolong the life of your dishwasher
  • Don't leave your dishwasher running overnight or while you're out of the house
  • Dishwashers draw a lot of electricity, make sure yours has a dedicated power socket to help prevent overloading -   try our socket overload calculator to see how this can affect you.
  • View or download this information as a PDF file.

Register you appliance and recall safety advice


  • Keep ovens, hobs and grills clean – a build up of fat and foodstuffs can start a fire
  • Do not store any items on hobs, in ovens or grills
  • Do not dry items in ovens or grills
  • Do not fill pans more than a third full of oil

Most weeks we attend fires caused by the storing of paper, tea towels and other items on top of hobs.


  • Overheating can cause fire, always ensure the correct timing is used
  • Only heat appropriate items
  • Do not store items on top of the microwave

We regularly go to fires because items have been overheated in microwaves.


  • Ensure the toaster is well away from curtains
  • Empty the crumb tray regularly


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