Safe Usage

Looking after your machine with good care and maintenance is the best way to keep it, you and your home safe. Appliances are designed and tested to high standards to ensure they work safely but users should be aware of some essential principles.

Here you can find information about how to make sure your appliances and your home are safe.

Know thy appliance

  • Read your appliance’s instruction booklet. Additional product information is often available on a brand website.
  • Store any instruction manuals safely. Note the serial number and date of purchase in the booklet for easy reference.
  • Download a user guide online if your booklet has gone astray.

Safe as houses

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home, placing one near your kitchen as a priority. Remember to test them frequently.
  • Gas appliances should be safety checked and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Set a reminder at
  • Be mindful of extension leads. Ensure you don’t overload your extension leads. Check the amps your leads can safely carry: the maximum is normally 13 amps. Then check your appliance usage – for example a fridge freezer can draw around 5 amps and a toaster 9 amps.  While extension leads are very useful, they are probably best used temporarily or for small appliances only.
  • Keep laundry and cleaning products out of reach and sight.

Your garden: a safe sanctuary

  • Store equipment – lawnmower, hedge trimmer or other power tools – in a dry, safe place and check the item is undamaged before using it.
  • When using electrical equipment in the garden, check the socket has been fitted with a residual current device (RCD). If you don’t have one built into your fuse box, use a plug-in RCD.
  • Never use the lawnmower, hedge trimmer, strimmer or other power tools in wet conditions.
  • Frequently check for damaged lights, extension leads, cables or connections used in the garden.
  • Have outdoor mains supplied garden lighting, speakers and outdoor TVs installed by a registered electrician in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations).

Ovens and Hobs

  • Never leave children alone near cookers, hobs or bubbling pans, and remember that children need parental supervision around any electrical appliance.
  • Check your cooker is turned off after use, particularly the hob.
  • Keep tea towels and kitchen roll away from burners and plates.

Fridges and Freezers

  • If they are accessible, keep the sides and back of your fridge clear from debris such as old carrier bags or newspapers,
  • Move any glass containers in the fridge to the higher shelves, out of reach of small hands.
  • Generally 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, without checking the installation instructions.


  • For safety, point knives, forks, and other sharp items downward in the utensil basket.
  • Keep dishwasher tablets and cleaning supplies out of reach and sight.

Food Waste Disposers

  • Never pour oil or grease into the disposer. Instead, collect fats in a container and then throw the container into the dustbin.

Microwave ovens

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

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.

Small appliances

  • Keep appliance cords out of reach, especially those connected to hot items such as toasters and irons.
  • Unplug appliances that get hot – such as irons and hair straighteners – immediately after use, and store out of reach and away from any flammable material.
  • Leave portable hot appliances such as irons to cool down before putting them away, and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Never use electrical equipment in wet conditions and don’t use appliances in the bathroom unless the instructions say you can.
  • When packing appliances away, ensure any cables are kept loose.
  • Kettles – use in the open, never in a cupboard.
  • Toasters – use in the open, never in a cupboard. Regularly remove the crumbs from the rack and crumb tray.
  • Hair straighteners and curlers – these get extremely hot so be sure to lay them on a heat resistant protective pouch or mat.
  • Heaters and fans – don’t cover or leave them close to curtains. Don’t leave a free-standing heater where a child can touch it or accidentally knock it over. Never run a fan on the floor.

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