Know Causes of Laundry Cart Fires – And How to Avoid Them

SEGUIN, TEXAS — Spontaneous combustion in the laundry is a “hot” topic. Researchers have discovered a variety of reasons that spontaneous combustion may occur; many of these relate to trapped heat, moisture, and contamination.

It has been determined a common cause of spontaneous combustion is oxidation. Oxidation starts within linen while in the dryer. Heat may not properly disperse if the linen is pulled from the dryer, placed in a cart, without the opportunity to cool down. The trapped heat creates the oxidation process, and can potentially build up to an “auto-ignition temperature” inside the cart.

A popular cart material choice in the laundry industry is polyethylene (poly),  due to low cost and durability for over the road linen transports. However, “poly carts” are highly flammable.

Here is a list of flash and melt points for various materials.


* Steel and Stainless melts at 2,500 °F

* Aluminum melts at 1,220 °F

PVC, Poly, and Fiberglass:

* PVC/ Polyvinyl Chloride melts at 176 °F; ignited at 851 °F

* Poly/ Polyethylene melts at 122-137 °F; ignites at 349 °F

* Fiberglass is non-flammable with no melting point but does soften at 2,192 °F. Cart manufacture fire ratings on fiberglass carts are: ASTM-E-84 Class 1. UBC Class 2 and Torch Test 1

Vinyl or Cloth Carts:

* Canvas or Mesh Liners are extremely flammable, will immediately ignite

* Vinyl Liner melts and burns slowly; Fire-retardant properties may be added to select material

* Wood Base easily will catch fire and burn

Fiberglass (Reinforced glass fibers bonded with resin) is best for a direct comparison to poly carts and its fire-retardant properties. Fiberglass models are offered in models and sizes to that of poly: bulk transport, baskets or convertible transport (clean-soiled in same carts) and enclosed models. Generally an additive is added to the fiberglass to create a Class ll fire-rating with a melting point of over 2000.

Steel and Anodized Aluminum carts have high melting points (see chart) and are available in corrosion resistant finishes. Additionally, these materials have extremely tight molecule structures that prevent bacteria from penetrating it; therefore it is also highly sought after in health care or hotel linen transportation.

For more information on Tecni-Quip fiberglass, aluminum and stainless steel carts you can email, call 800-826-1245

Or visit the website:  TQ Industries