Martha Stewart is sounding a consumer five-alarm after a recent scary encounter with a magnifying makeup mirror.
Over the weekend she posted a series of photos to her Instagram showing how sunshine reflected off the mirror, sitting near a window, burned a painted windowsill nearby.
“BEWARE!!!!!” she wrote. “While I was in Tasmania my master bathroom had a serious problem A magnifying makeup mirror, sitting on the back of the toilet, happened to catch the rays (of) the afternoon sun, reflecting them directly onto the painted window sill.
“The light was so intense that the paint scorched and smoked And almost ignited! My housekeeper smelled the burning paint and stopped the problem. Please take care not to let such a queer thing happen in your home!!!!!”
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“Martha Stewart doesn’t just want to help keep your home organized. She wants to help you protect it too,” wrote Good Housekeeping.
Some of the hundreds of comments on Stewart’s post reflect that makeup mirror fires might not be as unusual as she might think.
“This happened to me!”
“That happened to my mom. So scary.”
“Yes! That happened to a friend and luckily she was home to put out the fire.”
“This happened to me too!!! It made a deep scorch in the window trim. I was very lucky there weren’t any fabric drapes close enough to ignite. Glad you posted this to a wider audience. They are dangerous.”
“That happened at my brother’s house! We could smell the smoke but could not find the source. Turns out the magnifying mirror caught the sunlight which then ignited a wooden frame. Good thing there were people in the house to remove mirror and frame! Weird!”
“Fishbowls (full of water) do that too- burnt my teak hutch.”
In 2015, a fire that caused $1,250 damage to a house in Fairfax County, Virginia was blamed on a makeup mirror when it reflected sun rays onto stuff in the master bedroom, WTOP in Washington, D.C. reported.
On another sunny day in May, 2016, in Brookfield, Massachusetts, a magnifying shaving mirror left on a bench on an outside deck started a three-alarm fire that nearly burned down a farmhouse on the town common.
“The mirror reflected the sunlight onto the wood and, slowly but surely, started the fire,” the town’s fire chief, Peter E. Martell, told the Telegram & Gazette.
Like Stewart, a woman in Toronto warned the public about makeup mirrors after hers started a fire on her windowsill on a sunny July in 2017.
Sofia Mihaylova told CTV that she called her husband from work and asked him to close the curtains to keep the heat out of their bedroom, and that’s when he found the windowsill on fire.
“If he wasn’t lucky enough to enter the room at that very moment, we would have had a house fire,” she said.
She said she called the manufacturer, Conair, who told her the mirror came with a safety warning saying “when heat reflects on the mirror, a fire can occur,” CTV reported.
“Makeup mirrors typically have a regular side and a magnifying side with a concave mirror. If the concave side is placed into direct sunlight, the mirror can focus the sun’s rays and start a fire on anything combustible,” according to CTV.