Emollient products such as creams, sprays, liquids or gels are safe to use and they are vital for the skin conditions that they treat.
When emollient products get onto bedding, clothing, bandages or other fabrics, the dried residue will make the fabric more flammable.
This means that if a heat or ignition source, such as a cigarette, comes into contact with the fabric it will catch fire more easily and the fire will burn faster and hotter.
This risk exists in emollients that contain paraffin and in those that don’t.
If there is any risk that your clothes, bedding, bandages or other fabrics ar0e contaminated with emollient residue, follow the fire safety advice below:
Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, and you want to quit, the best way to do so is a combination of medication and support.
Visit the NHS Smokefree website (opens in new window) for more information
Keep away from anyone else that is smoking
Don’t go near naked flames, smoking materials, cookers, heaters and other ignition sources
Wash your clothes, bedding and fabrics at the highest temperature recommended on the fabric care label. This will reduce the emollient residue but be aware that it may not totally remove it. Therefore, remain cautious and stay away from fire
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home and test it weekly. If you can’t test it, ask someone you know and trust to test it for you
If you would be unable to escape without help in the event of a fire, talk to your care provider, or the fire service, about linking your smoke alarms to a telecare system
Emollient products and fire safety leaflet (PDF, 1.2MB)
If you are caring for an emollient user read our additional Fire safety advice