Why you shouldn’t fold your freshly dried laundry straight away

If you’ve ever grabbed your clothes fresh out of the dryer while they’re still warm and folded them, you could

If you’ve ever grabbed your clothes fresh out of the dryer while they’re still warm and folded them, you could have put yourself in danger without even realising it.

A Brisbane woman has learned this lesson the hard way over the weekend.

According to Nine News, the massage therapist folded a pile of towels after getting them out of the drier at the laundromat and put them on the backseat of her car.

The next morning, she went out to her car and saw smoke coming from the backseat – and suddenly her gutted was gutted by flames.

“I said to my hubby, ‘I think my car is on fire’. He ran out and as soon as he opened the car door the whole thing set off on fire. It immediately burst into flames,” she told Nine.

“It’s a write-off. The whole inside of the car was destroyed. Even the roof over the driver’s seat was all melted down to the steering wheel.”

So, what does this have to do with drying your laundry?

Well, it turns out folding the towels trapped heat in them, which combined with massage oil residue in the towels, resulting in the towels self-combusting.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services rarely deal with self-combustion cases such as this, but they were able to explain it.

Gordon Hemphrey from the QFES investigation unit told Nine there have been similar cases in commercial laundries, at dryers in people’s homes and in restaurants – caused by oily tea towels.

He explained in this case, the reaction was between the massage oil and the cotton – and when the woman opened the car door, she introduced oxygen, which created the flames.

The lesson from this incident is simple and one that we should all remember.

“The worst thing you can do when you take clothes out of the drier is to fold them up straight away,” Mr Hemphrey said.

“You should always allow the item to cool right down before you start folding it and putting it into your box, clothes basket or cupboards.”

Who would have thought this could happen? Did you know this?




  1. Jill Austin  

    Surely in Queensland ‘the sunshine state ‘you wouldn’t need to use a dryer!! If I leave my washing in the basket too long the cats use it instead of litter tray(much softer)!!

    • I came from the bottom end of NZ 26 years ago to live in QLD and could not believe my eyes when I saw people putting their washing in a dryer.It only takes an hour or less up here for it to dry on the line.It takes a bit longer during our one month of so called winter.There is nothing I love more than the smell of freshly dried laundry dried in the fresh air and sunshine.There is no excuse up here to be putting it in a dryer and the energy savings are huge.
      Brings me to an article I was reading yesterday about all the new high rise apartments they are building in Brisbane at the moment.Up until the last few years all high rise apartments had balconies and Windows that could be opened so there was no need to have air cons going all year round but all these new ones have no balconies and no windows that open and virtually become hot boxes if you don’t leave the air con on continuously.Here we are with the government sprouting off all the time about saving the environment and lowering our emissions but allow buildings like this to be built when they know that air cons are one of the worst offenders.
      Thinking about all this kind of stuff that is just common sense makes no sense at all any more but I really do worry about what kind of future my grandchildren are going to have.
      Sorry about the rant and I hope you have a wonderful day.😄😄

  2. Bianca  

    That’s why your dryer has a cooling cycle at the end

  3. Loz  

    hot laundry straight out of a dryer will self ignite if left in a pile in the basket. ALWAYS leave in the dryer for the cooling cycle before removing and shaking out as you do so.

  4. Allan Varcoe  

    Similar thing happened at a local hotel in Dunedin recently. Dish cloths that had been used to handle hot food containers and plates in the restaurant kitchen, were machine washed then placed in a clothes dryer. Oil residue off the cloths mixed with lint in the dryer’s lint-filter which burst into flames. Fortunately the fire brigade attended to the fire promptly and damage was minimal.

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