Clothes dry better when dryer vents are clean.

The Best Way to Clean Dryer Vents

by Michele Norfleet

A clogged dryer vent can create undue problems. Your clothes won’t dry quickly, your electric bill will rise from additional cycles and, more seriously, a clogged dryer vent can cause a fire. Since you can’t see a clog in your dryer vent, the only way to know if you have one is to check it out. You can hire a professional to do this job for you, but do-it-yourselfers can complete this task and save a few dollars in the process.

1 Remove the lint screen. Wipe the screen to remove all lint.

2 Insert a long-handled, narrow brush (snorkel brush) into the lint trap opening. Move the brush around, reaching as far as possible into the opening. Remove the brush. Clean lint from the bristles. Repeat the procedure until no lint is evident on the bristles.

3 Disconnect the dryer's electrical cord from the wall outlet. Carefully pull the dryer away from the wall. Vacuum the floor behind the dryer and the back of the dryer cabinet. Note: If you have a gas dryer and cannot safely move the dryer enough to access behind the unit, call a professional to have the vent duct cleaned.

4 Remove the duct from the rear of the dryer. It should just pull off. Alternatively, on some dryers there may be a clamp attaching it. Clean lint from the duct with a large dryer vent brush. Vacuum the duct to remove all loose lint.

5 Insert a large dryer vent brush into the ductwork in the wall. Reach as far into the vent as possible. Remove the brush. Clean lint from the bristles. Repeat the process until there is no residual lint on the bristles.

6 Remove the vent cover which is usually on the exterior of your house. Insert the dryer vent brush into the opening. Remove the brush and clean the lint from the bristles. Repeat the procedure until no lint remains.

7 Replace the metal duct onto the rear of your dryer. Attach the duct to the vent ductwork in the wall. Use aluminum tape to seal the seams.

8 Push the dryer back in position and plug it in.

Items you will need

  • Snorkel brush
  • Dryer vent brush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Aluminum tape

Tips

  • Clean the lint trap after each dryer load.
  • Vacuum under and behind the dryer frequently to keep lint from accumulating.
  • Dryer-cleaning kits are available with attachments to reach into longer ductwork that you are unable to reach with your dryer brush.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends replacing flexible ducts with rigid or semi-rigid metal ducts for maximum airflow. Flexible ducts can trap lint and get crushed, which reduces the amount of airflow.

About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.

Photo Credits

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