Massage Sheets Combust and Catch Fire Again

ABMP has recently learned of additional incidents concerning massage sheets combusting and catching fire, and would like to remind our members of this risk. The danger is caused by combustible massage oils that can saturate cotton sheets and catch fire in the dryer or when the sheets are stored in tight containers, even after they’ve been washed. You can avoid this risk by allowing sheets to air dry so that the residual oil can evaporate.

King 5 News in Seattle, Washington, reports that another massage therapist had his massage sheets combust and catch fire, this time inside his backpack. The therapist’s landlord, Karen Lucht, was fixing up one of her Seattle rental properties when she smelled something burning in the laundry room in the basement and called firefighters.

At first, Lucht couldn’t figure out where the burning smell was coming from. “There was no smoke, there weren’t any flames, but there was something in the air,” Lucht says.

When firefighters arrived, they identified a backpack in the laundry room as the source of the fire. The backpack was filled with freshly washed massage sheets that had come out of the dryer hours earlier. Captain Kyle Ohashi of the Kent Fire Department says the residual massage oil is what combusted and caused the fire.

“It actually happens quite often,” Ohashi said, explaining that people are often unaware of how combustible organic oils can be, especially when saturated into cotton sheets that can easily catch fire. He advises allowing the sheets to air out so that the residual oil can evaporate.



Sadly, this is all too common. Washing machines and dryers now have warnings about oil in fabrics. For massage sessions I prefer a good unscented lotion to an oil, and use very little of that. When you use less or lotion in your bodywork, it forces you to slow down and really connect with the client's body. Added benefit - compression based strokes, which are so useful, do not need lotion at all. 

I found recently that my massage soap solution was no longer doing the job. Now I add Borax 1/4 cup to each wash with reg detergent and bleach and sheets have never been cleaner and fresh smelling!!

I mostly use coconut oil and I find that using a combination of a good detergent [I use 7th gen], distilled white vinegar, borax and baking soda does the trick!! Also drying on a low to medium heat can help.