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Preventing Kitchen Fires: How to Prevent & Fight Kitchen Fires

Basic Kitchen Safety Rules

Cooking can be a lot of fun, but basic kitchen safety is a priority! Within the kitchen there are a multitude of hazards and potentially dangerous equipment. Sharp objects like knives, open fires by the stove, electrical appliances and even harmful bacteria around the kitchen can all pose a potential risk. Observing basic kitchen safety rules is a great habit to develop with potential danger just around the corner.

Store Knives Safely

Knives are one of the biggest potential dangers in the kitchen, make sure you store all knives in a wooden block or in a drawer out of reach from children. You can follow these simple knife safety tips in order to prevent potential injury.

Don’t Cook in Loose Clothing & Keep Hair Tied Back

Cooking in loose clothing can be potentially dangerous as your clothes may accidentally catch fire. The same goes for long hair, which should always be tied back in order to avoid the possibility of your hair catching fire or even in food.

Be Careful of Jewellery

Always be careful of loose or hanging jewellery that can potentially get caught in pot handles and even potentially fall into food.

Turn Pot Handles Away From You

Pot handles should always be faced away from the edge of the stove, this can prevent you from accidentally knocking the pot from the stove and causing harm to yourself or even a kitchen fire. Keeping handles pointed away from the stove edge also keeps children from being able to reach them.

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly

Always make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, before and after handling food, especially if you’ve been handling raw meats. This can prevent the spread of potentially harmful germs and bacteria.

Don’t Let Temperature-Sensitive Foods Sit Around

Never leave temperature-sensitive foods sitting around the kitchen. Items like raw meats, fish and certain dairy products can spoil very quickly if left in the open, so always ensure you freeze or refrigerate them right away.

Have a Fire Extinguisher on Hand

Just in case of a potential kitchen fire, it’s always good to have a fire extinguisher on hand, just in case. You can find which fire extinguishers are used to different fire types by clicking here.

How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Keep Appliances Clean & Serviced

It can be tedious, but you should always keep on top of cleaning appliances in and around the kitchen. Ensure you clean toaster crumb trays, wipe down microwaves, clean the oven and even look to have any extraction fan or system cleaned professionally. It’s also a good idea to unplug any appliances that you think may be faulty, and have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Unplug Electric Appliances When Not in Use

Appliances like toasters, mixers and coffee machines can all continue to draw power when they’re turned “off”. If these appliances have any faulty wiring that you’re not aware of, it could lead to a potential kitchen fire.

Install Smoke Detectors

Installing smoke detectors is a great idea (you should already have these installed!). However, we recommend not installing smoke detectors within your kitchen, as this may lead to small  amounts of smoke from general cooking tripping smoke detectors.

Don’t Put Metal in the Microwave

This seems like something we should already know… But don’t microwave anything metal, as this is highly dangerous. Sparks from this can cause fires as well as potentially damaging your surroundings.

Don’t Overfill Pots with Oil or Grease

Hot oil and grease are potential fire hazards due to splashes and spills. Hot oil can reach temperatures upwards of 100’C, posing a danger to not only yourself but also your surroundings.

Never Leave Food Cooking Unattended

If you’re in the middle of cooking, always make sure someone is in the kitchen as the food cooks, especially if cooking in oil or when your oven is set to a high temperature. If you need to leave the kitchen, switch the oven or stove off before leaving.

Keep Hair Tied Back

Long hair can look great, but not when it’s in your meal or worse, on fire!

How to Put Out Kitchen Fires

Fire Triangle (Combustion Triangle)

The fire triangle (Sometimes also known as ‘Combustion Triangle’ or ‘Fire Diamond’ are simple models for understanding the key factors needed for fire to thrive. The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite, these are: heat, fuel and an oxidising agent (most often oxygen).

A fire naturally occurs when these three elements are present and combined in the right mixture. A fire can be prevented by removing any one of these three elements from the fire triangle, for example, covering a fire with a fire blanket removes the oxygen, and suffocates the fire, eventually extinguishing it.

Which Fire Extinguisher Should I Use?

Fire extinguishers are available in various different types with each one categorised into classes they can be used to extinguish.

  • Class A Fires – Solid Combustibles – Fire involving solid combustible materials such as wood, textiles, straw, paper etc.
  • Class B Fires – Flammable Liquids – Fires caused by combustion of liquids or materials that liquefy  such as petrol, oils, fat etc.
  • Class C – Flammable Gases – Fires caused by combustion of gases such as methane, propane, hydrogen, natural gases etc.
  • Class D – Flammable Metals – Fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium, aluminium, lithium, sodium etc. Combustible metal fires are unique hazards that require special fire extinguishers.
  • Electric Fires (Formerly Class E) –  Electrical Appliances – Fires involving electrical appliances such as computers, electrical heaters, stereos etc.
  • Class F Fires – Combustible Cooking Media – Fires involving particularly hot or deep oil and grease fires such as deep fat fryers in commercial kitchens.

Water Extinguisher

Water fire extinguishers have a class A rating, making them suitable for fighting fires involving solid combustibles such as wood, textiles, paper and more.

Electrical equipment should NEVER be extinguished using a water extinguishers as water is a conductor.

AFFF Foam Extinguisher

AFFF foam extinguishers are effective on class A & class B fires as the foam agent helps to prevent the fire re-igniting.

Some foam extinguishers have been dielectrically tested up to 35000 volts (35kV) and can be used on or near electrical fires.

Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher

Carbon dioxide extinguishers (CO2 extinguishers) were originally intended for use on flammable liquid fires and have therefore been classified with a class B rating.

They are ideal for electric fires, as carbon dioxide does not conduct electricity, and won’t leave behind any harmful residue.

ABC Powder Extinguisher

ABC powder extinguishers are extremely versatile and can be used on class A, class B, Class C & electrical fires.

These extinguishers are available in sizes ranging from 1-9 KG and are ideal for application in environments containing mixed fire risks. However, powder extinguishers aren’t recommended for indoor use due to the risk of inhalation.

Water Mist Extinguisher

Water mist fire extinguishers are highly effective on Class A, B, C, F and electrical fires, making it one of the most versatile extinguishers available for every type of fire except class D fires.

The unique design of the water mist extinguishers’ supersonic nozzle creates a microscopic mist curtain, reducing oxygen content.

Wet Chemical Extinguisher

Wet Chemical extinguishers are designed specifically for use on fires involving combustible cooking media such as burning oil and fat.

They have a class F rating, along with a special lance applicator nozzle. They’re also usually safe for class A fires, with most wet chemical extinguishers not safe for class B fires.

General Tips for Putting Out Kitchen Fires

  • if your oven or microwave catch fire, close the door and keep it closed! This will suffocate the fire, and eventually put it out due to lack of oxygen.
  •  If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still raging within, call the fire brigade.
  • If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan, or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher (Making sure it’s the correct one). Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire not the flames.
  • NEVER use water on grease fires! Water and grease don’t mix and so you’re potentially spreading the fire by doing this.
  • Don’t swat at flames with a towel, apron etc. this can fan flames and likely spread the fire.
  • if you can’t get the fire under control, get everyone out of the house and then call the fire brigade. Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safety in case of a fire.
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The Complete DIY Kitchen Maintenance Guide

Are you sick and tired of those tough, hard to clean stains you keep finding around the kitchen? No matter how much you given them a clean they just seem to stick around. Well, you’re not alone. Many people aren’t aware how to properly clean their kitchen, and those that are usually use chemicals and other products that aren’t great for your health. That’s why we put together a simple guide to naturally cleaning your kitchen and appliances.

What You’ll Need:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Lemon, Orange or Lime
  • White Vinegar
  • Vacuum
  • Essential Oils (Optional)

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Cabinets are often over looked when tidying up around the kitchen, but they shouldn’t be as cabinets collect large amounts of dust, as well as oils from human contact and even occasionally food splashes and stains.

How to Clean

Clear out all cabinet contents before wiping down all surfaces inside your cabinets with a solution of warm water and white vinegar. Dust the cabinet tops before wiping them down using a solution of warm water and white vinegar to clean any persistent stains. Then wipe down the cabinet faces with a slightly damp cloth to remove any general dirt and grime. If you find persistent grease spots, use a cloth soaked in the same white vinegar and warm water solution.

How Often Should It Be Done

Cabinet Faces: Fortnightly
Cabinet Tops: Yearly
Inside Cabinets: Bi-Yearly

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Sink, Taps & Countertops

The sink, taps and countertops are quite easily the most used parts of any kitchen, usually all coming into contact with dirty hands, dishes and contaminated foods, so keeping it clean is essential.

How to Clean

After using your cutting board, wash it with a solution of warm soapy water and white vinegar, removing any odours, then allow it to air dry. You can also sprinkle the surface of your cutting board with baking soda and work this into the wood using a lemon, lime or orange, afterwards, rinse with warm water and allowing to air dry.

How Often Should It Be Done

Countertops: Daily
Sink & Taps: Every Other Day

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Walls & Backsplash

Kitchen walls are prone to grease build-ups in areas where you cook and prepare food, not to mention any accidental spills and stains that might have built up over time.

How to Clean

Soak a microfiber cloth in warm, soapy water and gently scrub any spots and stains on walls around the kitchen. If any stains are especially persistent you can use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. You can also use a solution of 1 part baking soda and 8 parts water to clean any stubborn stains from your backsplash.

How Often Should It Be Done

Walls: Weekly
Backsplash: Weekly

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The oven is often one of the dirtiest places in the kitchen – Let’s be honest when was the last time you really gave the oven a deep clean? Yeah, it probably wasn’t that recent, and with all the food being cooked, spilled and splashed around your oven it’s worth spending some time making sure it’s done properly.

How to Clean

Empty all shelves and trays from your oven and mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with water and mix this until it becomes a paste. Spread this paste on any hard to clean areas within your oven and allow it to sit for a few hours. Wipe all baking soda off any surface of the oven using vinegar and a damp cloth – This will help to remove any grease and grime that’s managed to build up over time. Lastly, take a microfiber cloth and create a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, add a few drops of essential oils (You can choose any scent) and thoroughly wipe down all glass surfaces.

How Often Should It Be Done

Oven: Monthly
Glass: Every Other Day

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Gas Range

If you use your range as much as we do, you’ll know that a few spills are simply unavoidable, and with the added heat of the burners these simple spills quickly become stubborn to clean.

How to Clean

Remove the burners and grates from the range top and give them all a scrub in warm water to remove any easier to remove food debris. If you come across any harder to remove stains and food debris you can create a paste like mixture of water and baking powder and apply this to the stubborn areas, allow this to sit for an hour or so before removing with a dam cloth and vinegar. You can also give both the burners and grates a wipe down with just a damp cloth and white vinegar to remove any stubborn splashes and spills.

How Often Should It Be Done

Burners: Monthly
Grates: Monthly

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Extraction Fan

If something is made to remove airborne grease, combustion products, fumes, smoke and more, then it’s likely to get pretty dirty, well cleaning it is simple if you know how.

How to Clean

Remove your extraction fan filter and place it in a boiling/simmering solution of baking soda and water for around 10-15 minutes.

How Often Should It Be Done

Extraction Fan Filter: Monthly

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Fridge Freezer

We use our fridge freezer for storing any perishables, from raw meat and eggs to frozen pizzas and chips. So in a place where we store the majority of our food, it makes sense to ensure it’s always clean and tidy to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

How to Clean

The interior of your freezer is fairly easy to clean, all you really need to do is ensure nothing has spilled and keep ice build up to below an inch in thickness – If the ice build up gets too thick, grab a scraper, knife or anything that can be use to scrape the ice and get to work (Defrosting the freezer will make this a lot easier). Next, empty out the contents of your fridge, including all shelving and wipe everything down with warm soapy water. Lastly to ensure your fridge freezer stays in good working order, it’s worth pulling it away from the wall and vacuuming the evaporation coils.

How Often Should It Be Done

Freezer Interior: Yearly
Fridge Interior: Yearly
Coils: Bi-Yearly

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We know from experience that the microwave always manages to end up with plenty of spills and splashes and over time grease manages to build up within. Cleaning the microwave takes 15 minutes to do and will make it look as good as new.

How to Clean

Wipe down the inside of your microwave with a damp cloth to remove any loose dirt and grease. If stains remain persistent, fill a microwave safe container with water and add a chopped up lemon, lime or orange. Place the container within the microwave and turn onto full heat for 5 minutes, allowing steam to build within the microwave. Once done, allow the water to cool before wiping all surfaces with a damp cloth – This should remove all grease and grime.

How Often Should It Be Done

Microwave: Monthly

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Many people believe that because your dishwasher is washing your dishes it doesn’t require much cleaning itself. However, food debris and water stains can build up over time.

How to Clean

Remove any food debris and wash the drainage area using a mixture of baking soda and water. Take a dishwasher safe container and fill it with white vinegar, place the container in your dishwasher and run on a hot cycle in order to clean the interior of your dishwasher. Finally, remove the filter from your dishwasher and wash it using baking soda and warm water before replacing.

How Often Should It Be Done

Filter: Monthly
Interior: Monthly
Drainage: Monthly

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Coffee Maker

Coffee machines deal with large amounts of water and so can experience mineral deposit build-ups which can cause bad tastes in your usual morning coffee.

How to Clean

Empty any coffee grounds left in the filter, then fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Start a brew cycle, turning the machine off half way through the cycle. Allow this to sit for around an hour before resuming the brew cycle and allowing it to finish. Now repeat this process with fresh water.

How Often Should It Be Done

Coffee Machine: Monthly

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Most of us use our toasters daily, but it’s been found that on average people only clean their toaster once per year! This means you’re leaving bread crumbs and dust sitting in your toaster while you’re using it, and we all know what happens when bread passes it’s expiry date…

How to Clean

Remove the crumb tray from your toaster and clean with warm water and soap. If you toaster doesn’t have a crumb tray, you can turn your toaster over and give it a shake. Wipe down the exterior of your toaster using a damp cloth. You can even use a solution of water and vinegar to give your toaster a little shine.

How Often Should It Be Done

Toaster Exterior: Weekly
Crumb Tray: Monthly

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Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are often used in the preparation of food, quite often used for cutting raw meat and other food items that can sometimes cause illness. For that reason it’s worth making sure you wash them correctly and thoroughly.

How to Clean

After using your cutting board, wash it with a solution of warm soapy water and white vinegar, removing any odours, then allow it to air dry. You can also sprinkle the surface of your cutting board with baking soda and work this into the wood using a lemon, lime or orange, afterwards, rinse with warm water and allowing to air dry.

How Often Should It Be Done

Cutting Board: After Every Use

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Pots & Pans

We use pots and pans for the majority of meals we prepare at home – so it pays to make sure they’re clean and free of potentially old burnt food.

How to Clean

Fill the dirty pot/pan with 2-3 inches of water (Of course, if the pan isn’t this deep, use less water) and add 1/4 cup of baking soda (1/4 cup of vinegar can be added for more serious jobs). Bring to the boil and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat and allow the pot/pan to cool for half an hour. Empty and then gently scrub to remove any grime.

How Often Should It Be Done

Pots & Pans: Daily (After Use)

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Over time, you might notice the water from your kettle tasting a little bit ‘off’ or funny and this is usually due to a build up of limescale around the heating element within your kettle. Giving it a quick clean can save your brew from that awful taste.

How to Clean

You can easily clean and shine the exterior of your kettle by giving it a quick wipe down with a cloth soaked in a mixture of water and vinegar. Once done, fill the kettle with equal parts vinegar and water and allow this to soak for around an hour before boiling the kettle. Once boiled, rinse the kettle with warm fresh water.

How Often Should It Be Done

Kettle: Monthly

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Garbage Bin

Probably one of the most obvious places within the kitchen that would require a clean. I’d hope we’re all cleaning out the bin any chance you get to prevent the spread of any nasty germs.

How to Clean

Empty your bin, and then using a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water, wipe down the outside of your bin. In order to clean the inside, use a solution of disinfectant cleaner and warm water and rinse the whole bin out before giving it a good scrub.

How Often Should It Be Done

Garbage Bin: Fortnightly

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