The thumbnail version:

  • Lint builds up if not cleaned away regularly.
  • Built-up lint is a fire hazard.

The full version:

If yours is one of those spotless textile screen printing shops where nobody goes home in the evening until all the equipment has been wiped down and all traces of lint have been removed, then you don’t really need to read any further. That is unless you want to feel smug about your cleanliness by reading about two not-so-clean shops that had to call the fire brigade.

Both of these stories are from some time ago but the lessons learned apply as much to day as they did way back then. The first story is from Calgary where the exhaust vent over the dryer had not been cleaned out for a long time. Lint built up in the ducts where it was a fire waiting to happen. And it duly happened when someone knocked a can of spay adhesive onto the belt and didn’t realize it until the explosion. Flammable adhesive set the flammable lint alight which resulted in the fire brigade turning up. I don’t recall how long the shop was out of operation but it was considerable, as was the damage.

The second story is from Vancouver where another shop had not had a thorough cleaning in some time. The lint around a press caught alight somehow, and then the flame traveled wherever there was lint, such as on the metal pillars all the way up to the twenty-foot ceiling. From there it travelled along the beams under the ceiling. By the time the fire brigade arrived the shop was full of smoke. Again, I don’t recall how long the shop was down or what the cost was, but whatever it was, it could so easily have been avoided by better housekeeping.

So . . . the obvious lesson here is that unless your shop is cleaned up as a matter of routine, it could be a lint fire hazard.