White Goods Safety

Consumers should always be aware that the products in their homes may become subject to product recalls – often many months or even years after they have been purchased. We advise everyone to regularly check the Government's pages on product recalls, which give lots of guidance, help and information.

RoSPA also supports the Register My Appliance scheme, which alerts people when any of their products have been recalled. We urge everyone to sign up to the scheme and register their appliances even if you buy or are given a second-hand item.

There are also many things that people can do to ensure that their products are used safely:

Fridges and freezers

  • Install fridges and freezers in a dry, well ventilated room. These appliances should not be installed in direct sunlight or near a heat source such as a radiator
  • Fridges and freezers are designed to live indoors – don’t be tempted to install yours in a garage or in areas that may be damp or subject to abnormal temperatures
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions, occasionally clean the rear of your fridge or freezer and make sure that the drainage hole is clear
  • Regularly defrost if it is not a frost-free appliance.

Microwave ovens

  • Do not attempt to heat non-food products unless the instructions say you can
  • Keep vents on a standalone microwave clear and don’t put metal dishes directly onto the turntable.

Washing machines

  • Check the filter from time to time and clean if necessary.

Tumble dryers

  • Install in a dry, well-ventilated room
  • Clean the filter of fluff, lint and any other debris after every use
  • Periodically clear the vent tubes of any accumulation of fluff or lint
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and temperatures
  • Never dry items that contain grease or oil-like substances.

Dishwashers

  • Check the filter regularly and clean it if necessary, using the method described in the instruction booklet/online.

Ovens and hobs

  • Check your cooker is turned off after use, particularly the hob
  • Keep tea towels and kitchen roll away from burners and plates.

Small appliances

  • Leave portable hot appliances such as irons to cool down before putting them away, and keep them out of reach of children and pets. Hair straighteners and curlers get extremely hot so be sure to put them in or lay them on a heat resistant protective pouch or mat
  • Use kettles and toasters in the open, never in a cupboard, and ensure toasters are not used underneath any overhanging cupboard units. Regularly remove the crumbs from the rack and crumb tray of the toaster. If you live in a hard water area you should descale your kettle from time to time
  • Don’t cover electric heaters or fans or leave them close to curtains
  • Never use electrical equipment in wet conditions and don’t use appliances in the bathroom unless the instructions say that you can.

Many accidents and fatalities involve electricity – it must be treated with respect. Here are some tips:

  • Have your wiring installation checked at least once every five years by an approved contractor, or straightaway if you are buying an older property
  • Do not use appliances with worn or damaged flexes. Don't wire flexes together
  • Keep portable mains-operated appliances out of the bathroom
  • Have electric blankets serviced and checked regularly
  • If an appliance appears faulty stop using it and have it checked at once
  • Consider having a RCD (residual current device) for whole-house protection. These are especially valuable when power tools are used
  • Look for the CE mark when you buy electrical equipment
  • Never overload an electric socket
  • Never leave phone chargers plugged in after the phone is removed, and charge in an open space – never on beds or furniture
  • Substandard and counterfeit chargers can be dangerous; only buy replacement accessories from reputable retailers.

Although many products are fitted with timers, it is advisable never to use dishwasher, tumble dryer or washing machines when you are away from the house or in bed. If they do develop a fault you could be at risk from a house fire.

For guidance on the general care of your appliances please consult the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have misplaced them most can now be found online.


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Public Health
+44 (0)121 248 2107
publichealth@rospa.com
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