Exploring the Lesser-Known Fire Hazards in Your Garage

A pile of colorful rags

Five Things to Look For

While some fire hazards in the garage are readily apparent, there are also several less-obvious dangers. Here are five overlooked fire hazards that could be present in your garage:

1. Spontaneous Combustion of Oily Rags
Oily rags used for cleaning or automotive maintenance can present a fire risk if not stored correctly. When oil-soaked rags are clumped together and left in a confined space, they may undergo spontaneous combustion due to the heat generated by the oxidation process. To prevent this, dispose of oily rags properly or store them in an approved metal container with a securely sealed lid.

2. Dust and Cobwebs
Accumulated dust, lint, and cobwebs in the garage can easily ignite if exposed to heat sources such as light bulbs or electrical outlets. Regularly clean and dust garage surfaces, including light fixtures and electrical appliances, to minimize the risk of ignition.

3. Improperly Stored Batteries
Batteries, particularly rechargeable ones like those found in power tools, electronics, or vehicles, can pose a fire hazard if not stored correctly. If batteries are damaged, overcharged, or exposed to extreme temperatures, they can leak or even explode, leading to a fire. Store batteries in a cool, dry location and dispose of damaged or expired batteries safely.

4. Combustible Chemical Reactions
Mixing or storing certain chemicals together can result in unexpected chemical reactions that generate heat or release flammable gases. Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when using and storing chemical products and avoid mixing incompatible chemicals.

5. Faulty Electrical Wiring
Concealed behind walls or above ceilings, faulty electrical wiring in the garage can pose a significant fire risk. Overloaded circuits, damaged wiring, and improper electrical installations raise the likelihood of electrical fires. Have a qualified electrician inspect the wiring in your garage regularly to identify and fix any potential issues.

By recognizing these less-obvious fire hazards and taking measures to address them, you can help reduce the likelihood of fires in your garage. Regular maintenance, proper storage practices, and attentiveness are crucial for preventing garage fires.


The information presented in this document is for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to assist individuals, farmers, and business owners in identifying common hazards/risks and considering proactive loss prevention or loss mitigation actions. For information related to specific loss hazards, please contact your insurance agent.

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