Can a Dishwasher Catch Fire?

Risks and Preventions

In the modern, fast-paced world, dishwashers have become indispensable appliances, saving us time and effort in the kitchen. However, with convenience comes responsibility. One pressing question that often lingers in homeowners’ minds is, “Can a dishwasher catch fire?”

While dishwashers are generally designed to enhance safety, they are not immune to potential hazards. Understanding the factors that can lead to dishwasher fires is crucial for every household. This article delves into the hidden risks associated with dishwashers, shedding light on the causes and offering essential prevention tips.

We’ll explore various elements, from electrical faults to improper use, that could turn your trusted kitchen companion into a potential fire hazard. By the end of this informative guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to ensure your dishwasher operates safely, giving you peace of mind as you enjoy the convenience it brings daily.

Can a Dishwasher Catch Fire

Why Do Dishwashers Catch Fire?

Dishwashers are a convenient appliance that can save us time and effort when cleaning our dishes. However, dishwashers can also be a fire hazard like any other appliance.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, dishwashers are responsible for approximately 3% of all home appliance fires. Moreover, while this may seem like a small percentage, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent a dishwasher fire from happening in your home.

Here are some of the most common reasons why dishwashers catch fire:

  • Electrical problems: Faulty wiring or connections can cause a spark that can ignite flammable materials inside the dishwasher.
  • Overloaded dishwasher: Putting too many dishes in the dishwasher can strain the motor and other components, leading to overheating and a fire.
  • Grease and food buildup: Grease and food particles can build up on the dishwasher’s heating element and other details, creating a fire hazard.
  • Leaking water: Water can damage the electrical components of the dishwasher and cause a short circuit, which can lead to a fire.

What are some of the causes of dishwasher fires?

Dishwasher fires are rare, but they can be devastating. Moreover, you can keep your home and family safe by understanding the causes of dishwasher fires and taking steps to prevent them.

The most common causes of dishwasher fires include:

  • Electrical problems: Faulty wiring, damaged components, or moisture intrusion can cause electrical problems.
  • Improper use: Overloading the dishwasher, using flammable detergents, or not cleaning the dishwasher regularly can all increase the fire risk.
  • Lack of maintenance: Old or poorly maintained dishwashers are more likely to experience problems that can lead to fires.

Which dishwashers have a fire risk recall?

Dishwashers are convenient and time-saving, but knowing the fire risk associated with some models is essential. Over the years, manufacturers have issued dishwasher recalls due to fire hazards.

Dishwashers with fire hazards have been recalled, and here is the list:

  • Bosch, Gaggenau, Jenn-Air, and Thermador dishwashers: The manufacturer recalled these dishwashers because the power cord posed a risk of overheating and causing a fire. The recall was announced in 2015 and expanded in 2018.
  • Cove Appliance 24-inch built-in residential dishwashers: The heating element overheating and causing a fire led to the recall of these. In 2021, they announced the recall.
  • The manufacturer recalled GE:  Dishwashers because the heating element’s electrical failure posed a fire risk. In 2010, they announced the recall.
  • Kenmore, Maytag, KitchenAid, Bosch, and Whirlpool dishwashers: The manufacturer recalled these dishwashers because the heating element’s electrical failure posed a fire risk. In 2009, they announced the recall.

How to find out if your dishwasher has been recalled

Consumer Product Safety Commission website to Check to determine if they have recalled your dishwasher. The CPSC website has a list of all recalled products, including dishwashers. You can search the list by product name, model number, or serial number.

What Can You Do to Prevent Dishwasher Fires?

Dishwashers are convenient for many homeowners but can also be a fire hazard if improperly maintained. Dishwasher fires are relatively rare, but they can be devastating when they do occur.

Here are some tips to help you prevent a dishwasher fire:

  • Read your dishwasher’s owner’s manual: This will help you learn how to use and maintain your dishwasher correctly.
  • Clean your dishwasher regularly: This includes cleaning the interior of the dishwasher, the door gasket, and the filter.
  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher: This can cause the dishwasher to overheat and increase the fire risk.
  • Use only the recommended detergent: Too much can create suds that can clog the dishwasher and increase the fire risk.
  • Don’t put flammable materials in the dishwasher: This includes plastic items not labeled dishwasher-safe, paper products, cloth napkins, and wooden utensils.
  • Have your dishwasher regularly inspected by a qualified technician: This will support identifying any potential problems before they cause a fire.

What should you do if your dishwasher catch fire?

A dishwasher fire is a severe hazard that can quickly escalate and cause significant harm to your home and belongings. If you notice that your dishwasher is on fire, acting rapidly and safely to extinguish the flames is essential.

Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Call 911 immediately. Even if the fire is small, it is essential to have the fire department on its way in case the flames get out of control.
  2. If the fire is small and contained, attempt to extinguish it using a Class C fire extinguisher. Designers create Class C fire extinguishers to extinguish electrical fires, the most common type of dishwasher fire.
  3. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, or if the fire is too large to destroy safely, evacuate your home immediately. In addition, close the door to the room where the fire is located behind you to help contain the flames.
  4. Wait for the fire department to arrive and extinguish the fire. Only re-enter your home once the fire department has given you the all-clear.
Can a Dishwasher Catch Fire

FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can a dishwasher catch fire during regular use?
  • Although it is relatively rare, dishwashers can catch fire during regular use. An electrical fault can cause this, overheating, or a problem with the heating element. Routine maintenance and proper use can help reduce this risk.
  1. What are the common causes of dishwasher catch fire?
  • Common causes of dishwasher fires include electrical problems, damaged wiring, overheating due to blocked vents or spray arms, and faulty heating elements. Keeping your dishwasher clean and well-maintained can reduce these risks.
  1. How can I prevent my dishwasher from catching fire?
  • To prevent your dishwasher from catching fire, follow these tips:

             Clean and inspect the appliance regularly.

             Make sure a professional correctly installs the dishwasher.

             Do not overload it, as it may overheat.

Avoid using a damaged power cord or outlet.

             Unplug the dishwasher when not in use or during an extended vacation.

  1. What should I do if my dishwasher catches fire?
  • If your dishwasher catches fire, safety should be your top priority. If it is safe, turn off the power to the appliance, evacuate your home, and call 911 immediately. Only attempt to put out a fire yourself if you have the proper training and equipment.
  1. Does the dishwasher have a recall or safety feature to prevent fire?
  • Manufacturers may issue recalls for dishwashers with known safety issues. To stay informed, register your dishwasher with the manufacturer and check their website regularly for any recalls or safety updates. Additionally, follow the user manual instructions for safe use and maintenance to reduce fire risk.


In conclusion, the question, “Can a dishwasher catch fire?” is a valid concern for homeowners, and it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with these appliances. While dishwashers are designed for safety, various factors can contribute to fire hazards, including electrical issues, improper maintenance, and user errors.

By staying informed and implementing preventive measures, such as regular maintenance, avoiding overloading, and using the dishwasher as intended, you can significantly reduce the chances of a dishwasher fire in your home. Safety should always be a top priority when dealing with household appliances.

Regularly inspect your dishwasher; furthermore, follow manufacturer guidelines diligently, and promptly address any issues to ensure both the safety of your kitchen and the smooth operation of your dishwasher. Following these safety measures and staying well-informed, you can use your dishwasher conveniently without any concerns about catching fire.

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