How to Clean Your Dryer Vent System


You know to clean your lint trap after every load and use a lint brush, but did you also know that the dryer vent system needs to be cleaned regularly? After all, lint buildup in the vent can lead to a fire.

So, you’ll want to learn how to clean your dryer to keep it running safely and efficiently. Here are four simple steps that’ll get your machine looking brand new in no time.

1. Remove the Lint Trap

If your dryer isn’t delivering as much moisture-free air as you would like, your clothes aren’t drying quickly, or the vents don’t appear clean, it might be time to clean your dryer. Cleaning your lint trap is simple, inexpensive, and wonders for your dryer’s efficiency and energy bill!

Your lint trap should be cleaned at least four times a year. This prevents lint buildup on the screen, which reduces the performance of your dryer and can make clothes smell and feel damp.

For this quick cleaning, use your vacuum’s crevice or extension wand attachment. Attach an empty cardboard paper towel roll, or an empty gift wrap cardboard tube, to the wand, ensuring you have a tight seal and maintain proper suction.

Then work the hose around the inside of the lint trap, removing any loose lint as you go. Repeat as needed, alternating between the vacuum and the hose until you have removed all the lint from the vent.

2. Clean the Drum

Cleaning the drum from your dryer is an essential step for maintaining efficiency. It helps remove residue that accumulates from drying sheets and fabric softeners. It also prevents a lint buildup in the lint trap that could cause a fire.

You can clean the drum with an all-purpose cleaner or DIY vinegar solution. Spray the inside of the drum with either key and let it sit for a few minutes.

A few drops of WD-40 or rubbing alcohol can also be used for this task. To get crayon off the drum, use a spatula or an old credit card to scrape it off.

Once the drum is free of crayon, scrub the area with a sponge dipped in warm water and a bit of soap to remove any remaining residue. After the drum is clean, you can run a load of laundry to ensure the area is dry.

3. Clean the Interior

If you’re a laundry pro, you’ve probably cleaned your dryer’s lint screen and surface-cleaned the appliance’s exterior, but a little deeper cleaning goes a long way toward keeping it clean and performing well. Regularly deep-cleaning your dryer’s lint trap, drum, and vents will prevent a buildup of lint that can lead to a fire and keep it running efficiently.

Lint buildup is a common fire hazard in residential dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). A dirty dryer can also cause a clog that causes the dryer’s motor to work harder than it should or can lead to long dry times and odor problems.

A dryer’s exhaust vent leads from the back of the appliance to the exterior of your home. Thomas recommends cleaning your dryer vent at least once a year to help avoid the growth of mold and mildew that can exacerbate air quality issues in the home.

4. Clean the Exterior

In most dryers, lint escapes the machine through a short exhaust vent duct connected to an outside wall duct. It should be cleaned regularly to improve dryer efficiency and prevent structural moisture issues like mold or mildew buildup in your laundry area walls or floors.

The ducts connect to the exterior wall of your home and are typically made from aluminum. The vents can be either semi-rigid or rigid, but both are prone to clogging with lint.

You’ll need a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean the ducts. Removing the cover from your vent is best to make it easier to access and clean.

Once the ducts are accessible, you can swab out the lint accumulating on both pipe ends. If you don’t have a vacuum with a hose extension, you can also use a flexible brush to break apart the debris that may be stuck in the grooves of the ducts.