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The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them.
Facts and figures
In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries and $236 million in direct property damage.
Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 4%.
The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (32%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (22%). Eight percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or malfunction.
The Ohio State Fire Marshall recommends dryer vents are cleaned every two years.