Can Hair Dryers Catch Fire & Explode? (Checked)

Owning any hot tool comes along with some form of anxiety. This is especially true regarding whether or not your hot tool can create a dangerous situation.

For example, hair dryers can catch fire and, even occasionally, explode.

However, it is important to remember that it depends on how you care for and use your hot tools. Also, certain hair dryers are more prone to damage than others, depending on the style and production date.

Here’s How Hair Dryers Catch Fire or Explode:

Hair dryers are designed to reach high-temperature heat while being contained in a plastic casing. When plastic reaches a certain temperature, the heat can cause the plastic to melt and burn. Most fires happen because the hot hair dryer comes in contact with flammable materials.

Can Hair Dryers Start a Fire?

Aside from hot plastic, the other common reason a hair dryer starts a fire is the wiring itself. This is especially true if the cord or plug of your hair dryer has some damage.

Wires that have split or have a cut in them create a seriously dangerous situation for you, especially if your hair dryer is sitting on something like a towel.

An electrical current cannot be properly contained if there is damage to the wire like this, which can cause sparking that leads to a fire. This is why you find that most modern hair dryers have a safety button featured on the plug so you can quickly stop the current of electricity from flowing.

Is it Possible for a Hair Dryer to Explode?

When talking about whether or not a hair dryer can explode, we are talking about a spontaneous event and not purposefully trying to make the dryer malfunction.

So, is it possible for a hair dryer to explode on its own? They sure can!

There have been incidents reported where a hair dryer spontaneously exploded while someone was using it.

Usually, it starts with overheating before leading to a full-on explosion. While the explosion is mostly due to human error, many recorded incidents of a hair dryer randomly exploding due to a manufacturing error.

Always check the warning labels and pay close attention to the part about power and voltage. Ensure you always use your hair dryer in an outlet that can handle that specific type of voltage. Also, please avoid using power extensions like cords or even power towers, as they are not always designed to handle that specific amount of voltage.

When a hair dryer explodes, it is due to human error. More specifically, the hair dryer was left plugged, or even on, after use which can cause the inner components to heat up fairly quickly.

Once the internal motor gets too hot, it can explode, which will explore the plastic casing surrounding your hair dryer.

The last way to make a hair dryer explode randomly is if it was mistreated. More specifically, when it comes to using your hair dryer around water.

There is a reason why you are not supposed to use a hair dryer when your hair is soaking wet. This can cause water to make its way into the inner components of a hair dryer, which will short out the mechanics.

How Do You Prevent Hair Dryers From Getting Too Hot?

The number one way to keep your hair dryer from overheating and causing a dangerous situation is to clean or change the filter regularly.

Depending on your hair drying style, you will find the filter at the back end of the dryer. Often it looks like a plastic vent covering the airflow run-off grate that you can find inside your hair dryer. This vent can be easily removed so that you can clean it.

Once removed, take a look inside. You may be surprised to see all the dirt, hair, and gunk built up inside the filter. This is because this is all the debris your hair dryer filters out to keep from ending up in your hair.

While it may be gross, cleaning out this gunk is very important. If left alone, the debris and gunk will only build up and start to find their way into the inner motor of your hair dryer.

Once it gets to the heart of your hot tool, there isn’t much more you can do other than wait for it to overheat and break.

Can Hair Dryers Blow Up?

When we’re talking about hair dryers blowing up, we’re talking about a specific type of damage.

Rather than a huge explosion, we are talking about how the inner motor of the hair dryer malfunctions to a point where the motor itself blows up.

Often, a hair dryer will blow up when long strands of hair get pulled through the hair dryer and find their way to the motor. Once inside the hair dryer, long strands of hair can wrap and tangle around the motor, which will cause it to stop spinning.

If this happens while the hair dryer is in use, you have to quickly turn off the power to your hair dryer so the motor will stop trying to run. If you leave the power on, the motor can blow up, which can not only hurt you but will also destroy your hair dryer completely.

How did the hair get in there in the first place? This has everything to do with the airflow.

Air is meant to flow through the hair dryer so that the temperature can remain regulated while keeping debris and hair clear from the motor. If you are not cleaning your filter or hair dryer properly, the chances of your hair dryer blowing up will only increase over time.

Can Hair Dryers Set Off Fire Alarms?

A hair dryer can set off a fire alarm. You must remember that fire alarms alert you if a dangerous situation could lead to a fire.

This is done using sensors to pick up steam or smoke in the air. Some alarm sensors are so sensitive that they will be triggered by the smallest thing like steam escaping from a hot shower.

While hair dryers randomly blow up, most of the time, you will get a hint that something dangerous is brewing. This is especially true if your hair dryer is about to fire due to faulty wiring. A fire alarm can be triggered by the light scent of smoke in the air.

This is common if you use your hair dryer to soaking wet hair, which can cause your hair to burn quickly. We’ve all been there, woefully blowdrying our hair when we get a whiff of that familiar burnt hair scent in the air.

While not every case of a fire alarm going off means that you’re in danger, you should still take precautions. Start by cutting off the power at the source by either hitting the “disengage” button on your plug or unplugging the whole thing. However, avoid touching the wire if there is a noticeable danger.

It is safer to cut the power at the outlet if you can. Perhaps the solution is as easy as letting your hair dryer cool off before trying to use it again.

How Hot Do Hair Dryers Get?

Hair dryers come with many different heat settings. From the blast of cold air to hot heat, they are designed to reach a wide range of temperatures, so it is the only tool you need to dry and set your hair.

A hair dryer will reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest heat setting. This high temperature is good for removing excess moisture in your hair, but you should still proceed with caution.

While hair dryers may seem generally harmless, a high temperature will not only dry your hair but can also burn you.

This is especially true when it comes to the health of your scalp. The skin on your scalp is some of the most sensitive. This is because it is protected from the sun since it is buried beneath a pile of hair, so when it is exposed to high heat, as you can get with a hair dryer, it can sizzle and scorch.

To avoid damage to your hair and scalp, try to keep your hair dryer on a lower heat. The average hair dryer will reach around 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest. While this is not high enough to seriously burn your scalp, it will do the trick when drying your hair.

Best of all, using your hair dryer on a lower heat setting will reduce the chances of your hair dryer catching fire.

Final Thoughts

You may be surprised to learn that many things around your home can catch fire when not used properly.

In the case of exploding hair dryers, it is best to remember that most of the time, it comes down to human error.

So, to avoid any future damage, always follow the safety guidelines set in place for your specific hair dryer!

Reference Links:

How Hot Is Too Hot?

How Hair Dryers Work