Be sure to include your dryer vent on your spring cleaning list. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, dryers account for 15,500 fires and more than $84.4 million in property damage each year. Most of those fires could be avoided by a simple, twice-yearly vent cleaning.
If you’ve never cleaned yours before, here are step-by-step instructions to take you through the process:
How to Clean a Dryer Vent:
What You’ll Need
A vacuum cleaner
A Dryer Lint Removal Kit
A screw driver
What You Do:
Unplug your dryer from its power supply.
Remove the lint trap screen; and clean it by hand (just like you do after every load). Then, vacuum it, and set it aside.
Insert a dryer vent cleaning brush into the screen well. Push, pull and twist the brush until it reaches the bottom.
Remove the cleaning brush. Then, insert the special vacuum cleaner attachment (it’s basically a long, flat vacuum hose), and vacuum out the loose lint.
Repeat the brushing and vacuuming a couple times.
Then, slide the dryer away from the wall, and remove the vent hose from both the dryer exhaust port and the wall.
Use your vent cleaning brush to brush out the exhaust port on the back of the dryer, twisting and turning as you go.
Then, vacuum out the port.
Repeat the brushing and vacuuming a couple times; then, continue on to the next step.
Now, take the vent hose outside; and clean it with the brush, shaking out the loose lint as you go. This will make a mess on your lawn, but at least it’s not indoors.
Repeat this step several times, until you’re satisfied that you’ve gotten out as much lint as possible.
While you’re outside, clean the exterior section of the dryer vent hood (a bit of vigorous brushing should do the trick). Then, make sure the vent is secure against birds and other critters.
Now, head back inside, and clean the interior (tube) section of the vent hood.
Reattach the vent hose, and slide your dryer back into place. Then, put the lint screen back in its place; re-connect the power supply; and the job is done!
Dryer Vent Cleaning Tips:
- Two cleanings a year is enough for most households, but if you have a large family, you may need to do it more often
- If you don’t notice an improvement in drying time after cleaning the vent, more lint may be trapped inside the body of the dryer. Consider hiring a professional to clean it out for you
- Laundry detergent and fabric softener builds up on the lint trap over time. Scrub yours periodically with soap and water, and your clothes will dry faster
- Have a plastic or vinyl dryer hose? Consider replacing it with metal, which is far less likely to become pinched and pose a fire hazard
Ready to tackle your next spring cleaning task? Print a copy of my spring cleaning checklist, and use it to guide you through the process.