Cooking equipment, smoking, and heating equipment are the primary sources of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

But you might be surprised to know that there are many common household items that are highly flammable, and if exposed to an open flame, sparks, or even extreme heat, they can catch fire and endanger the lives of you and your family—and potentially destroy your home. Here are four items that you may least suspect, and are likely to be inside of your home.

Shoe Polish


Shoe polish is made with a mix of natural components, as well as synthetic ones which are flammable, including turpentine, naphtha, and waxes. Black shoe polish contains combustible charcoal dust.


Nail Polish and Remover


The chemicals contained in nail polish and nail polish remover are highly flammable. Most nail polishes contain isopropyl alcohol, butyl acetate, and ethyl acetate. But nail polish remover is made of acetone, which is so combustible that the vapors alone can ignite when exposed to a flame. So be careful when using a cigarette lighter, lighting matches, or smoking while applying nail polish or removing it.

Plastic Storage Containers


Who doesn’t have at least one, or a few, of those large plastic storage containers that are so convenient for helping to keep things neat and organized around the house? Unfortunately, these handy items— which you may have stacked in your basement or garage—can also help set your home ablaze.


Plastics are made from petroleum, which can make them extremely flammable. Although many of these types of plastic containers include additives that reduce their likelihood of burning, if they’re exposed to high heat they can still catch fire.


Ping Pong Balls


If you’re like most people you’ve probably played at least a game or two of ping pong before. Ping pong balls are made of celluloid—which makes them highly flammable if they’re exposed to high heat. Older ping pong balls consisted of acidified celluloid, a substance that becomes unstable with time and has been known to cause balls to explode mid-match.