dryer not drying clothes

When & How to Clean Dryer Vents to Improve Efficiency

Vent cleaning is an important part of dryer maintenance that not only creates more efficient operation but prevents serious problems. How do you clean a dryer vent, and how often should it be done? Every 6-12 months, wash the lint screen and remove lint from the lint trap vent and vent hose with an appliance brush. Find out how to clean dryer vent components with simple steps that help this appliance run smoothly and safely.

How to Clean Dryer Vent Parts With the Right Methods and Supplies

Our step-by-step guide details how to clean dryer vent lint screens, lint traps, and vent hoses to improve efficiency and prevent larger issues. But before we detail the right steps and procedures, here’s why cleaning your dryer vent is so important.

Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vents

While lint appears like a harmless byproduct of dryer use, a buildup can have serious repercussions. When lint accumulates in the trap, trap vent, or vent hose, it can limit airflow. When this happens, you may notice your dryer takes forever to dry clothes or that it’s even hot to the touch. While a dryer not drying clothes is frustrating, a hot dryer is at risk for a fire that can cause serious damage.

These common problems indicate that dryer vent cleaning may be necessary:

  • Longer drying cycle times
  • Dryer takes several cycles to dry
  • The top of the dryer feels hot to the touch
  • Burning smell when dryer operates

Using the following cleaning steps every 6-12 months can solve and prevent these problems, ensuring safer and more efficient dryer operation.

Clean the Dryer Lint Trap and Screen

While you should remove any lint from the lint screen after each drying cycle, the screen also needs regular washings. This is especially true if you use fabric softener or dryer sheets. They can leave behind a clogging residue on the screen’s fine mesh, limiting airflow.

Here’s how to clean the dryer lint trap and screen:

  • Take out the lint screen and remove all visible lint with your hand or a paper towel.
  • Rinse the screen under cool, running water, adding a drop of dish soap to the screen’s mesh.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the screen and remove any residue.
  • Rinse the screen under cool, running water.
  • Allow it to air dry completely before replacing it.
how to clean dryer vent
Photo Credit: The Crafty Blog Stalker

Clean the Lint Trap Vent

While the trap is drying, clean the lint trap vent to remove any accumulated lint and debris. The best dryer vent cleaning tool for this job is a flexible appliance brush that can reach every nook and cranny.

Follow these steps to clean the lint trap vent:

  • Use the appliance brush to reach into every corner of the lint trap vent. Circulate the brush repeatedly to remove as much visible lint as possible.
  • With a narrow vacuum hose attachment, remove any remaining lint.
  • Replace the lint screen once it’s completely dry.
dryer vent cleaning tool
Image from Amazon

Clean the Dryer Vent and Hose

The last step in how to clean dryer vent components addresses the vent hose and ducts. If you have a metal dryer hose, use both the appliance brush and vacuum attachment to remove lint. However, if you have a flexible hose made of plastic or foil, skip the vacuum to avoid damaging this more delicate material.

The following steps detail how to clean the dryer vent hose and duct:

  • Unplug the dryer and move it away from the wall to access the hose.
  • Disconnect the vent hose from the wall and dryer ducts.
  • Circulate the appliance brush throughout the vent hose, pulling out any lint and debris.
  • Use the vacuum attachment to remove lingering debris in the vent hose and wall and dryer ducts. Vacuum up any lint on the floor around the dryer.
  • Clean out the exterior vent on the outside of your house with the appliance brush.
  • Reconnect the vent hose, restore power to the dryer and reposition it in place.

Knowing how to clean dryer vent parts can improve your dryer’s performance and avoid serious problems. Do you still feel your dryer isn’t operating well? Our dryer repair service can help! Call A-Tech Appliance Parts & Service for all your laundry appliance concerns. 

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