Dirty ovens cause one in five house fires

Dirty ovens are the destructive culprit, but most homeowners still only clean their cooking appliances twice a year

Dirty ovens cause one in five house fires: Hotpoint Class 2 DU2540BL oven

Dirty ovens creep us on us, right? Chucking dinner in the oven after a long day at work is the norm for most of us, and a third of British workers bake to de-stress after a busy day. But many of us are at risk of a house fire by continuing to use our cooking appliances when they haven't been cleaned.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that cooking appliances like ovens are a leading cause of house fires, responsible for one in five blazes in homes last year. Despite this, most of us are cleaning our ovens just twice a year –potentially putting their homes at risk.

'Over time, food and grease stick to the hot plating, grills and metal trays inside of the oven and if left, this will burn whenever its used,' says Rik Hellewell, managing director at oven cleaning specialists Ovenu (opens in new tab).

'Continuous cooking with a dirty oven can create carbon-based fumes and excess smoke during cooking is often an indicator of a potential fire hazard. It also sours the taste of food, makes the oven less efficient, creates an unpleasant smell that permeates the house and can be dangerous to health if inhaled.

'Homeowners and tenants should really be cleaning their oven at least every 12 weeks or as often a twice a month if it gets heavy use.'

If your oven catches fire, Ovenu recommends leaving the door closed, turning the oven off and letting it cool down. Putting water on the flames could cause oil to splatter and spread the fire further, so avoid doing this. If the fire doesn't subside, call 999.

Better still, read our comprehensive guide on how to clean your oven before it's too late.

Ellen Finch
Ellen Finch

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.