Is it Safe to Leave Appliances Running Unattended?


    Is it safe to leave a washing machine running when you go out, or pre-programme a dishwasher cleaning cycle to kick in while you’re asleep?

    With delayed starts or programmable timers on lots of appliances these days, it may appear that you don’t even need to be in the neighbourhood to start your products up, let alone be around for the entire duration of a wash or dry cycle.

    The temptation is always there to leave the equipment running, while you go to the shops, or to turn it on overnight so it’s ready to hang up in the morning. 

    However, according to a study on fires in the UK over a 2 year period, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers pose the greatest risk of household fires.

    Fire service data shows washing machines caused 14% of fires categorised as due to a faulty appliance, followed by tumble dryers at 12% and dishwashers at 11%.  The three types of appliances are therefore responsible for 37% of such fires combined.

    According to the figures, around 3,700 fires have been caused each year as a result of faulty appliances.

    ‘Which?’ States that some brands appeared to cause a higher number of fires than others, naming Hoover and Candy washing machines and Hotpoint dishwashers and tumble dryers.

     Additionally, the ESC found that the average success rate of a typical product recall is a paltry 10 to 20%. Given the 266 electrical product recalls made in the last six years, and the fact that manufacturers often produce hundreds of thousands of each item, there are likely to be millions of dangerous products threatening safety every day.

    More than 600,000 faulty Bosch dishwashers, made over a seven-year period, are at risk of catching fire, but only one in four has been traced, despite a product alert by Bosch in July 2011.

    Electrical appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can develop a fault at any time, but can only cause a fire whilst they are in use.  If the appliance causes a fire while you’re out, who’s there to call the fire brigade?  If a fire starts while you’re asleep, who’s there to wake you?

    Last year over 200 people died as a result of a fire in their homes.  Don’t let it happen to you.

    For a list of recalled products, follow this link:


Collated by Philip Turnbull







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