Preventing accidental fires in your kitchen can be as simple as verifying that the flame on your stove is turned off, or making sure that the cord on your old toaster isn’t frayed. But there are some common household items and food products that are unusually flammable. Be mindful of these items.
Powdered Foods: Flour, Sugar, and Spices
If you’re cooking with an open flame and want to playfully toss a little flour at your sous chef, think twice. Why? Because airborne flour that’s exposed to an open flame could ignite and cause a fiery explosion, resulting in serious injury and damage to your home. For this very reason, flour manufacturing plants have special fire control measures in place, as required by the National Fire Protection Association.
The fire risk is largely the same for powdered sugar and spices. When powdered sugar gets extremely hot its molecules can ignite. Powdered spices, like chili powder and cinnamon, also contain flammable particles. To be safe, make sure you keep your flour, powdered sugar, and spices away from the stove.
Don’t underestimate the dangers of dryer lint. A build-up in your dryer’s lint trap could spark a fire that sets your home ablaze. That’s because the components of lint—fabrics, hair, and other debris—are highly combustible, and many homeowners allow lint to collect heavily–out of sight, out of mind.
Also, in many older homes, dryers are located in basements near other flammable materials that could further intensify a fire. The best way to avoid this fire risk is to clean your dryer’s lint trap regularly. Also, inspect your dryer’s exhaust hose, ductwork, and vents to prevent lint buildup there.
Don’t worry, it’s not the juice that’s a concern—it’s the peels. Orange peels contain a naturally-occurring chemical, limonene, that’s highly flammable. So if you snack on an orange while you’re waiting for the pasta to boil, don’t let the peels linger on the counter near the open flame.