Washing Machines

Washing machines can be found in most homes, owned or rented, and are a useful addition to any household - but with any electrical appliance, there’s always a small risk of fire.

Washing Machine Safety

Safety First

  • When buying a new washing machine, always buy from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always register a new washing machine with the manufacturer. That way you can be contacted easily if a safety recall is required. While the chances of a faulty product causing serious damage are small, the risk is still there and returning a faulty product or ordering its repair is very easy to do. To register all your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
  • Use our free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
  • Check that your washing machine has a UK plug, but if it doesn’t, do not use a UK travel adaptor, but rather have the retailer fit the washing machine with a UK plug.
  • Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing, circuit-breakers tripping or if it feels too hot to touch.
  • Ensure your home is fully protected by an RCD or residual current device, which can be found in your fuse box (also known as a consumer unit).  An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires.
  • If you don’t have RCD protection on your sockets, consider using an RCD plug, which can prevent serious appliance faults that pose threats to you and your property.
  • Sometimes, appliance fires are caused by something beyond your control. Smoke alarms are essential in keeping you safe in the event of a fire. There should be a minimum of one smoke alarm per floor and fit enough alarms to cover all areas where a fire could start, and make sure they are tested regularly.
  • If a fire does start, don't try to fight the fire. Get out and call 999 immediately.

Safe use

  • When purchasing a washing machine, think about how much it will be used. A large capacity washer should be considered for frequent bigger loads.
  • Try to avoid leaving a washing machine running during the night or when you are out, and as you can’t supervise it throughout the cycle, make sure you have a working smoke detector.
  • Never overload – take large or bulky items such as duvets to the dry-cleaners. Make sure to clean the filter regularly. Empty pockets before washing items and keep machine and door seal clear of items such as coins or buckles, which can weaken door glass, leading to them potentially shattering under constant heating up and cooling down.
  • Washing machines should be turned off when not in use. If your washing machine begins making a strange noise, don't ignore it. If you think there might be a problem, always unplug it and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.