As somebody with a busy household, your laundry room is in continual use. People are ferrying baskets of washing in and out all the time, trying to keep stains at bay.
But when it comes to laundry room safety, we don’t always know what we’re doing. While we understand that we should put gates at the bottom of the stairs and keep hot pans away from toddlers, we’re not sure how to deal with utility hazards. It seems more complicated.
If you find yourself in this position, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this in-depth article, we’re going to run through some of the ways that you can be more proactive with your laundry room safety. By the end of it, you’ll know the significant potential hazards in the laundry room and what you can do to avoid them.
1 – Remove The Buildup Of Lint
The word lint is a little confusing. It can either refer to a lattice structure clothes makers use to support the fibers they weave or the buildup of bits of material in your dryer. Here, we’re talking primarily about the latter kind: the fluff that accumulates in various areas of your appliance.
Lint is a problem because it is a fire hazard. As your dryer operates, tiny chunks of material drop off your clothes and accumulate on your filters. At first, it doesn’t matter – it’s all within the design specifications of the machinery. Eventually, however, it clumps in a thick mass and eventually becomes a fire risk, especially if the dryer has to work harder.
Lint fires are a common cause of household fires and are among the big reasons that properties burn down. Thus, you need to be aware of where lint builds up and how to get rid of it.
First, check the filter on your machine. Usually, this is a net-like panel you pull out from the door area of the appliance.
Then unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall. Check the duct at the back of the unit and the wall, as this location is the most common for the start of fires. Hot air from the dryer superheats the lint, and eventually, it can start smoldering. Once this happens, a fire becomes almost inevitable.
Once you’ve cleared out all visible lint, your dryer should work more efficiently. Your bills will be lower, and you’ll feel better about safety in your laundry room.
2 – Store Your Detergents Out Of Sight
Detergents and other washing products are attractive to children because of their interesting shapes, bright colors, and strong smells. Manufacturers have a nasty habit of making them look like food or toys, which is a risk for any toddler exploring the world.
Storing detergents somewhere safe is relatively easy – just keep them up high if you can. If you don’t have an elevated unit, then try a lockable cupboard at a lower level.
Failing that, only buy products with child-proof packaging. Some detergents, for instance, come with screw-top lids that kids can’t undo.
Also, be sure to put away your detergents when you finish using them instead of putting them out on the side. If kids see them, they will inevitably grab them and try to play with them – not what you want as a responsible parent.
3 – Check Your Air Conditioning Unit
Air conditioning units are another potential hazard in your laundry room. Many homeowners install them in this part of their houses to keep all the ducting out of the way. However, since the utility room is prone to dust, so too is the air conditioning unit, potentially limiting its productive life.
Find an honest HVAC service you can trust and get them to inspect the unit. Usually, they’ll be able to tell you the condition of the internals and whether anything requires replacement. Be sure to change the filters regularly so that you can avoid overworking your equipment. The more freely air can move through the system, the better it will function in general, and the less likely it is that you’ll need to replace parts.
HVAC systems are incredibly convenient because they combine so much functionality into a single machine. Keeping them safe is actually a technical challenge and something you’ll want to hand over to experts. Schedule regular inspections to stay safe.
4 – Keep Your Laundry Products In The Original Packaging
While you might decant food items into attractive jars in your pantry, you shouldn’t do the same for laundry products. Yes – you’d like them to look more attractive. But products often contain harsh chemicals that require a special kind of storage.
Think about it this way: you wouldn’t pour paint for DIY out of the tin and store it elsewhere. You shouldn’t do the same for detergents and softening products. Manufacturers very deliberately create packaging that helps to keep you and your family safe while stopping spillages or leaking at the same time.
Some companies, for instance, now offer child-resistant bags for washing tablets. Others are creating pods with a bitter but harmless taste for the outer layer, discouraging chewing.
5 – Keep Your Machines Locked
Sometimes the machines themselves can present a hazard to kids. Small children could potentially climb inside and get stuck. Often a washer or dryer looks like the perfect hiding spot or crawl space.
Most manufacturers supply appliances with child safety locks built into them. If yours doesn’t have one, it might be time to sell it on and replace it with a device that does.
6 – Maintain Your Machines
Finally, you need to maintain your washing machines to prevent things like floods, leaks, and fires. While most manufacturers create products to last several years, they won’t continue functioning correctly forever without intervention. Ideally, you need trained experts to come and take a look at them every so often and offer advice on preventive maintenance. Be sure to flush them out with anti-limescale tablets if you live in a hard water area as this can shorten the life of your machines and increase the risk of hazardous failure.