One of the most dangerous appliances in your home could be your washing machine or clothes dryer. Between 2006 and 2010, dryers and washing machines were involved in 1 out of every 22 home structure fires. Clothes dryers accounted the majority of the fires at 92%. The leading cause of dryer fires is attributed to failure to clean at 32% and 22% coming from unclassified malfunctions. Lint that comes from clothing is very flammable and can accumulate in the machines. The lint build up can cause excessive heat, which leads to a fire.

It is highly important to keep your washing machine and dryer running properly to prevent fires in your home. Below are 13 clothes dryer fire safety tips to keep your family and home safe:

1. Your dryer should be installed and serviced by a professional.

2. The clothes dryer MUST have a lint filter.

3. Clean the lint filter after each load of laundry. Also, remove the lint that has collected around the rim of the door or lid.

4. The air exhaust vent pipe must not be restricted and the outdoor vent flap must be open when the dryer is running. Make sure that the vent pipe does not have animal nests blocking the vent.

5. At least once a year, clean the lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it.

6. Keep up the maintenance on the dryers. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line is open and the connections are free of leaks.

7. Don’t overload your dryer! Overloading the dryer can also add to the amount of lint in the dryer, which in turn can create a fire.

8. Turn off the dryer when your leave your home or are going to bed because a fire could start in your dryer when you are not available to attend to it.

9. Dryers should be properly grounded and plugged into the correct plug or outlet, not an extension cord.

10. Keep the area around the dryer clear of things that could easily catch on fire such as boxes, cleaning supplies, or clothing.

11. Line dry clothing that have come in contact with flammable chemicals, cooking oils, gasoline or cleaning agents.

12. Don’t dry anything with foam, rubber or plastic, such as bathroom rugs with rubber backing.

13. If you are away from your home for an extended time, unplug and disconnect the dryer.