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In Plain Sight: the Dirt on Laundry Room Dangers

The fourth installment of In Plain Sight unfolds the hidden dangers lurking in your laundry room.

You may think the laundry room is one of the cleaner and safest rooms in your home, but there’s a few hidden dangers that you may not be aware of entirely. Here are a handful for you to consider.

1. Traps: Thousands of children and pets die every year from injuries related to hiding in washers or dryers. The popularity of front-loading machines has only exacerbated the problem, as the control panels tend to be within easy reach of tiny fingers, and the units lock victims inside.

2. Fires: Excessive dryer lint–in the lint filter, dryer vent, or exhaust duct–can block air flow, cause excessive heat build-up, and lead to home fires. Also, flammable materials (including paints, solvents, and cleansers) may emit vapors that can ignite if stored too near the heat-producing dryer.

3. Floods: Cracked or frayed rubber hoses (leading to the washer) can burst and cause flooding. Because laundry rooms aren’t visited as frequently as other areas of the house, flood damage can be extensive by the time it’s realized. Because of flood potential, it is imperative to install an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter in the laundry room.

4. Chemicals: Many commercially available laundry detergents and dryer sheets contain chemicals that can irritate eyes and skin, and cause hormonal imbalances and allergies. Naphthas, a commonly used chemical, has been linked to cancer in humans and death in fish.

Photo by Patricia H.

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