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?