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Danger! - Common Household Item Could Burn Down Your House

Updated on February 12, 2010

Death by Fresh Air?

I came across this today and felt that, since I've never even heard or thought about this danger, I had better write a hubpage about it so that none of you wake up to find your house burning around you. Apparently, these Plug-In-style air fresheners (that plug directly into 120VAC receptacles) can malfunction, overheat and sometimes catch fire! I would think this kind of thing would be tested for. I wonder if these devices have UL or CSA approval? (I checked...they do.)

All these pictures of burning houses were caused by plugins!

(Just kidding...but they give the hub a nice ambiance don't they?)

Perhaps this is just all a hoax. You decide.

Here's the related articles:

After building this hub more and more desperately trying to get rid of the dammed "duplicate" tag, I found an Official statement released by Glade saying there's "no worries". Then I found out they did a factory recall for a ton of their plug-ins ...because of a FIRE RISK! The problem is due to incorrect assembly or something.


Death by Fresh Air

A man and woman learned a hard lesson recently.

Their house burned down leaving nothing but ashes.

They have insurance so the house and contents will be replaced. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the home owners were surprised and sickened when they found out the cause of the fire was traced to a plug-in appliance in the bathroom.

He asked the woman what she had plugged in the bathroom. She listed the normal things...curling iron, blow dryer, etc. but he kept saying to her, 'No, this would be something that would melt at high temperatures'. Then the woman remembered she had a Glade Plug-In Air Freshener, in the bathroom..

The investigator stated it was the cause of the fire. He said he has seen more house fires started with the plug-in type room air fresheners than any other single cause. He also said that in every case of a major fire, there was usually nothing left to prove that a plug-in air freshener even existed. When the investigator looked in the wall receptacle, the two prongs from the plug-in were still in it.

The woman had a plug-in that had a small night light built in. She noticed that the light would dim and then finally go out then, when she walked into the bathroom a few hours later, the light would be back on again. The investigator said that the unit was getting too hot, and would dim and go out rather than just burn out the light bulb. When it cooled down it would come back on again. That should have been taken as a warning sign

The investigator said he personally would not use any type of plug in fragrance device anywhere in his house since he has seen so many house fires caused by them.


Plug-in air freshener overheats and sparks house fire

A warning was issued over plug-in air fresheners last night after one overheated and caused a serious fire. Sarah Cooper, a mother of three, left the Ambi-Pur device plugged into a kitchen socket while the family visited friends. The air freshener overheated and set fire to a pile of clothes before the blaze spread to other parts of the kitchen. A neighbor heard the smoke alarm and alerted Mrs Cooper, 28, of Chorley, Lancashire. She called the fire brigade who put the fire out before it spread through the house. The air-freshener had melted around the socket and scorched the surrounding wall.

Around 68 million plug-in air fresheners are sold in Britain every year. Fire chiefs have warned that leaving them plugged in for long periods could be risky. Mrs Cooper, whose children are aged nine, seven, and four, hopes her lucky escape on November 21 will act as a warning to other families.

There are many different plug-in air fresheners on the market. Most operate by using electricity to warm up fragrant gel capsules that gradually spread around the room.

Manufacturers say "There is no conclusive evidence that plugins pose a fire risk." (Surprise!)

SC Johnson, the U.S. maker of Glade fresheners, has been dogged by unsubstantiated internet claims that its PlugIns brand has caused fires. The firm issued a statement on its website saying: "It is important that you know that all of our Plug-Ins products are safe and will not cause fires." Surprisingly, the demand for air fresheners shows no signs of abating.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue service said: "There are a lot of these plug-in air fresheners and scent dispensers about. "We would advise people there is a health warning with the fire risk of it overheating."


Company Response to Internet Rumor on Glade PlugIns®

SC Johnson recently learned that there have been postings on the Internet that have claimed that our products were involved in fires. It is important that you know that all of our PlugIns® products are safe and will not cause fires. We know this because PlugIns® products have been sold for more than 15 years and hundreds of millions of the products are being used safely. Because we are committed to selling safe products, SC Johnson thoroughly investigated these rumors. First, we confirmed that no one had contacted SC Johnson to tell us about these fires or to ask us to investigate them. Additionally, we had a leading fire investigation expert call the fire department representative who is identified in one of the Internet postings. That fireman indicated that he has no evidence that our products had caused any fire.

We suspect this rumor may be associated with a past SC Johnson voluntary recall of one of its air freshener products, a Glade® Extra Outlet Scented Oil product that was sold for a short period before June 1, 2002. After discovering an assembly error in a small number of that product, SC Johnson implemented a voluntary recall and provided extensive information about the product to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission (CPSC). After revising the manufacturing process and thorough testing for proper assembly, the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Extra Outlet product returned to store shelves on June 3, 2002. SC Johnson has no knowledge of any credible reports of fire related to this product. We also know that our products do not cause fires because all of our PlugIns® products have been thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratories and other independent laboratories and our products meet or exceed safety requirements. SC Johnson continues to work closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate allegations involving PlugIns® products.

As a more than 100-year-old, family-owned company, SC Johnson is committed to providing top quality products that can be used safely in homes and we want to reassure you that PlugIns® products can be used with complete confidence.


SC Johnson Recalls Glade® Extra Outlet Scented Oil Air Fresheners

They say the products don't cause fires (above) ...yet they recall them because they can cause fires? Wh-What?

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), SC Johnson, of Racine, Wisc., is voluntarily recalling about 2.5 million Glade® Extra Outlet Scented Oil Air Fresheners. These Extra Outlet PlugIns® may have been misassembled during manufacture, which could pose a risk of fire.

SC Johnson has received five reports of misassembly and no reports of injury or property damage.

The Glade® Extra Outlet Scented Oil electric air fresheners come in two fragrances, Sky Breeze™ and Mystical Garden™. The air fresheners have a unique rotating plug-thru outlet, which allows other electrical devices to be used in the same outlet as the plug-in. The rotating outlet says "15 Amps Max" on the front and has a yellow disk on the back. The Extra Outlet Scented Oil units have a model number "SCJ079" on the back. No other products, sold under the Glade® PlugIns® brand names, are part of the recall.

Grocery and retail stores nationwide sold the air fresheners between January 2002 and April 2002 for between $4 and $5.

Consumers should immediately unplug the air fresheners and contact SC Johnson at (800) 571-0920 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Sunday, or anytime on-line at, for free, full value replacement coupons or a refund.


Household Fire Safey Tips:

The American Red Cross reports that 80 percent of all deaths due to fire take place when the family is sleeping. The cause is not the fire itself, but rather smoke inhalation and lack of oxygen. In addition, the fire may trigger the release of poisonous chemicals in upholstery, plastic material, and draperies.

No matter what the construction, no house is completely fireproof, but you can do a great deal to prevent home fires:

  • If there are children in the home, lock up matches and cigarette lighters.

  • Don't hang potholders or dishtowels over the burners on the stove. Store them away from the stovetop.

  • Never smoke in bed.

  • Never leave home or go to bed with your Christmas tree lights on.

  • Never use a higher watt lightbulb than a lamp manufacturer suggests.

  • Use salt or soda to put out a grease fire in your kitchen; never throw water on it.

  • Have an established family escape route and have regular fire drills. If your house has more than one story, keep a fire safety ladder under each bed. Plan ahead where you'll all meet outside.

  • Teach your family the American Red Cross rule if their clothes ever catch on fire: Stop running, Drop to the ground, and Roll over to put out the flames.

  • Keep papers, curtains, and other flammable material away from hot radiators, portable heaters, and lighted fireplaces.

  • Make sure that your child's sleepwear is flame resistant, and wash it according to manufacturer's instructions.

  • Be very careful with portable kerosene heaters. Use them only when you are in the room; turn them off any time you leave the room.

  • For homes with children, put up guards around space heaters, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves.

  • Don't overload circuits by putting too many plugs in an outlet.

  • For lamps or small appliances, don't use extension cords that dangle and can be pulled. Children can pull the appliance down and injure themselves as well as start a fire.

  • Don't let your children play with firecrackers or any type of explosives.

  • Buy fire extinguishers, and learn how to use them. Place them where they are most likely to be needed, such as the kitchen. Check periodically to be sure they are in good working order.


Death by Air Fresheners:

Warning Foul Language:


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    • eugbug profile image

      Eugene Brennan 6 years ago from Ireland

      If they contain volatile solvents they could potentially be a fire risk.

      Being a migraine sufferer I think air fresheners should be banned. They can trigger an instant attack and are problematic for asthma sufferers also!

    • profile image

      durtyduck 6 years ago

      I just recently found out that my wife had plugged in a scented wax candle heater.. I hate anything that plugs in first and foremost to freshen the air. If your house has an odor , then find the source , don't cover it up by one of these devices.. But I digress. I went into the hand went to turn it down as it was pretty bright. I touched the control knob on the side and I couldn't hold it , it was so hot. In the Navy we are taught if you can't touch it for 10 seconds without pain then its too hot.. Trust be I jerked my hand away faster then lightening. These plug in are a hazard in just fire hazards alone not to mention the chemicals they disperse.... So my wife has removed it and will be tossing it out..... I have been in burning buildings and do not wish to be in another.

    • profile image

      anna 7 years ago

      i think that if these airfreshners are cabable of starting terturous fires,, they theyshould notbe alloud to be used !! its rediiculousss

    • pjk_artist profile image

      pjk_artist 8 years ago from Turkey Point, ON