Recently, one snacker in Sweden had a hot surprise. Just wanting to enjoy his grapes in the sunshine, he took the fruit outside in this ubiquitous stainless steel bowl from IKEA, but the situation quickly got heated.
According to Aftonbladet as translated by the Local, Richard Walter put a bunch of grapes in IKEA’s BLANDA bowl and brought outside, where he quickly smelled smoke. The bowl’s mirrored surface was refracting the sun’s rays, lighting the stems of the grapes on fire.
Walter then tested it with newspaper:
This isn’t the only instance of sunlight-related fires; light, when refracted through or off of glass or mirrored items like jars, crystals, fishbowls, eyeglasses, and even doorknobs can get hot enough to start a blaze. The London Fire Brigade said in 2015, after a Nutella jar caused a serious fire, that 125 light refraction cases had been reported in the last five years, and that’s just one city.
The news story caught the eye of IKEA, of course, who told Aftonbladet that they would be holding their own tests.
Yesterday, the company provided a statement to Local:
Product safety is always a top priority at Ikea and Ikea products are always tested to comply with applicable standards and legislations. In risk assessment for the bowl Blanda it has been established that many different parameters would have to converge for the content of the bowl to overheat and that the risk for this to happen is very low. The round design of the bowl further contributes to a very low risk of spreading, in case of any overheated material in the bowl.
So no need to toss your BLANDA—just keep it out of direct sunlight during high temperatures. And if you’re looking to start a fire with household objects, Popular Mechanics suggests a battery and a gum wrapper, among other things.