South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Emollient creams

It’s really important to be aware of the fire safety risks associated with the use of emollient creams.

When we talk about emollient creams, we refer to the treatment for dry skin conditions such as eczema. They come in many forms (creams, lotions, gels and sprays) and can be water-based, paraffin-based or even contain natural oils.

As a service, we we fully recognise their effectiveness and reasons for their use, and we also recognise that they are not flammable on their own.

However, a build up of emollient cream residue on fabrics such as bedding, clothing and dressings can make these already combustible items even more flammable.

What this means is that, in cases where somebody uses these creams on a regular basis and/or spends an extended amount of time in their bed or arm chair, their fire risk can increase dramatically.

Government guidance on the safe use of emollient creams 

Using emollient creams safely

Should you, or somebody you care for, use emollient creams – it is really important that you understand the fire risks around their use.

Importantly, anyone using emollient or skin creams regularly should keep well away from fire, naked flames or heat sources.

They shouldn’t smoke and need to be careful near hobs, candles and heaters.

Top tips

Here’s some do’s and don’ts for people using emollient creams.


  • Wash bedding and clothing frequently at the highest temperature recommended
  • Cover soft furnishing and airflow cushions with throws – and wash them regularly
  • Try to stop smoking – ask carers and health professionals for support with this
  • Read the warnings on your product packaging and tell family and carers that you are using said products

Do not:

  • Smoke or allow others to smoke near you if there is a chance your bedding or clothing could be contaminated with emollient
  • Smoke in bed – ever
  • Sit too close to opens fires, heaters or candles
  • Cook if there is a chance your clothing has been contaminated with emollient

Should you care for somebody that uses emollient creams, please consider if they would benefit from a free home safety visit from our staff.

You can book a visit via our website, here. 

This content was last updated on March 01st, 2024