The hack, which involves soaking small sponges in a mixture of fabric softener and water and then using it in place of a regular dryer sheet, has been around for years. The hack is sometimes advertised as a more environmentally friendly alternative to dryer sheets — while also saving you a couple of extra bucks.
TikToker Hailee Clarke (@haileeclarke87) dedicates her whole account to cleaning tips and tricks. But in a recent video, which has since racked up over 1.2 million views, she told her followers to avoid laundry hack after she awoke to a smoke-filled house the morning after she tried it out herself.
“Hindsight is a great thing!” Clarke wrote in text overlay on TikTok. “I know this is my fault, so don’t need any negative comments! This is purely to help spread awareness.”
“This is the first time I’ve ever used [the hack], and I’ve never had a problem with my dryer in any way, shape or form,” Clarke narrated. “We were woken up this morning to the house filled with smoke — the dryer had been smoking and was on fire through the entire night.”
Clarke filmed a bucket of sponges soaking in fabric softener and water before cutting to the footage of her burned laundry machine and a load of destroyed clothing.
“I’m not really sure what happened, but it’s absolutely terrifying,” she added. “We’re really lucky to be alive.”
Clarke also clarified in the comments that the dryer hadn’t been running throughout the night, but the fire had apparently been slowly burning inside the dryer the whole night.
Fabric softeners carry warnings that they can increase the flammability of certain fabrics, although it’s unclear how the fire started in the first place.
To make the situation even scarier, Clarke told Insider the house’s smoke detector needed batteries, so if her daughter hadn’t discovered the fire when she did, who knows what would have happened to the family.
Grateful that Clarke and her family were OK, commenters also thanked Clarke for sharing a failed hack attempt for the safety of everyone else.
“It’s actually really brave to post a hack gone wrong,” someone said. “Cleanfluencers are known for silently stopping practices without explaining risks.”
“Nice of you to put this on knowing that you are bound to get mean comments,” another agreed, “just to prevent it [from] happening to anyone else.”
“Fabric softener is highly flammable! This was a crazy one to try,” a commenter wrote. “But if you don’t know, you don’t know! So glad you are all OK.”
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