With winter months looming and the weather wetter, many people are turning to their clothes dryers to get the laundry done.

However, it can be easy to forget that the machines need lint catchers cleaning out after every load of drying, otherwise they can become a fire hazard.

Shannon Volunteer Fire Brigade has been getting the message out on social media about clothes dryers causing fires, warning users they the lint can combust and melt the plastic parts of the appliance.

The brigade urged caution because static electricity and build-up of heat in the dryer can cause any dust, lint or chemical residue on clothes to catch fire.

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Dust can also build up in the back of the machine over time, something that should be checked and cleaned by a service person as taking the back cover off can void warranties and potentially expose electrical risk.

Over the last 10 years, there have been about 54 fires on average per year that have started in clothes dryers, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson said.

The organisation provides safety checklists for the proper use of home appliances.

For dryers, along with cleaning the lint trap after every use, it recommends ensuring the dryer goes through the full cycle, including cool down, before being opened, and making sure there is proper ventilation and air space around the machine.

Fire and Emergency NZ offers a series of online checklists to help residents ensure their homes are as safe as possible.

For more information and to find the checklists visit www.fireandemergency.nz