Mom says TikTok laundry hack may have set her dryer on fire: 'Lucky to be alive'

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A mother says she and her family are lucky to be alive after she tried a DIY reusable dryer sheet hack that she saw on TikTok, and she’s shared a warning about it on the app.

Hailee Clarke from the U.K. posted a video to TikTok at the start of November stating a fire started inside her dryer the same night she tried the laundry hack.

“I just wanted to spread some awareness. I tried this hack yesterday with a cloth, fabric softener and water as tumble dryer sheets in my tumble dryer,” Clarke explained in her video. “This is the first time I’ve ever used it. I’ve never had a problem with it in any shape or form.”

Clarke’s video goes on to show her destroyed dryer and laundry load, which have been badly burned.

“We were woken up this morning to the house filled with smoke,” Clarke continued. “The dryer had been smoking, it was on fire from the inside through the night. It was absolutely terrifying. We’re lucky to be alive… Be careful of the hack that you try.”

Fox News reached out to Clarke for comment. It is not immediately clear if the sponge and fabric softener combo is the direct cause of the alleged fire.

Several TikTok users left comments stating that it’s obvious that something like this could happen because most commercial fabric softeners have flammability warning labels. Though, many of these warnings are in reference to fabric softeners having the ability to degrade flame retardant chemicals in clothing and not the product itself, as seen in published safety data documents from Procter & Gamble’s Downy, Henkel’s Snuggle and SC Johnson’s Mrs. Meyers.

Clarke defended herself from critics in a follow-up video Thursday to show how she missed the flammability warning label printed on her fabric softener bottle, which isn’t as visually prominent when compared to her other household products she owns.

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) does not recommend “this [fabric softener, water and sponge] home concoction,” but the organization’s spokesperson did tell Fox News that families don’t have to worry about the safety of these laundry products on an individual basis.

“Liquid fabric softeners – as used in the washing machine – and dryer sheets are used safely by millions of people every week. You do not have to worry about liquid fabric softener residue after you take your clothing out of the washer,” the ACI’s spokesperson wrote in an email. “It is important to use these products as directed and to read the fabric care labels of the garments you are laundering. You should not use dryer sheets with garments labeled flame-resistant or with children’s sleepwear.”

The DIY dryer sheet hack with diluted fabric softener has been used for decades by people who want to either save money or avoid dryer sheet waste, and the hack has gained significant popularity on TikTok thanks to a number of viral “CleanTok” videos.

Fox News spoke with cleaning influencer Cary Colón in September when her DIY dryer sheet video reached 10.8 million views on her Pairs Well with Whine.

Colón reiterated that she shared her DIY dryer sheet hack as an available laundry option, but she does not do it all the time.

“It is an option I use if I don’t have dryer sheets,” Colón said. “If you look at the comments, many individuals who have done this for years have never experienced such a thing, including myself.”

She added, “A hack is a method that someone uses to do something that works for them. Every individual has complete and full authority to make a conscious decision to make an attempt to test something to see if it works or not do it at all.”

U.K. mother Hailee Clarke says she and her family are lucky to be alive after she tried a DIY reusable dryer sheet hack that she saw on TikTok, and she’s shared a warning about it on the app.

Although some launderers have found success with creating DIY dryer sheets with diluted fabric softener, it is not an approved method by laundry manufacturers or the ACI.

“Please beware of any advice that recommends unproven chemical mixtures at home,” the ACI told Fox News. “You should not be using liquid fabric softener in the dryer, only as directed in the washing machine. We strongly advise only using appliances and laundry additives as intended and directed per the manufacturers’ instructions.”

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