how to clean your dryer vent

DIY Guide: How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

The change of seasons is the perfect time to check some annual tasks off your to-do list, specifically cleaning your dryer vent. Why is cleaning a dryer vent so important? A clogged vent restricts airflow inside the dryer drum, hampering performance and risking overheating. Learn how to clean your dryer vent, and avoid serious malfunctions, with this simple step-by-step guide.

When, Where and How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

While clogged dryer vents can restrict heat and decrease function, overheating can cause dangerous fires that risk serious harm. Performing a dryer vent cleaning and inspecting all its components every 6-12 months avoids these risks and keeps your dryer functioning properly. But before we detail how to clean your dryer vent, these common problems signal that it may be time.

Common Signs of a Clogged Dryer Vent

A dryer not heating properly due to clogged dryer vents exhibits several possible signs.

These common problems are often caused by a clogged dryer vent:

  • Dryer takes too long to dry clothes: Without adequate heat, clothes won’t dry during a typical cycle, making the dryer run longer.
  • Dryer takes more than one cycle: Instead of one cycle running longer, a lack of heat may require multiple cycles to get clothes dry.
  • Dryer feels hot when touched: If the top of the dryer feels hot when touched or the dryer is emitting a burning smell, stop the cycle immediately. The dryer may be at risk of overheating and starting a fire due to restricted airflow from the clogged vent.

Another sign your dryer vent needs cleaned is if you see lint on the outside vent opening. Air from your dryer exits your home from the outside vent opening. If you notice lint around the vent or the duct hood flap isn’t opening when the dryer is running, lint may be blocking it.

dryer vent cleaning

Here’s how to clean your dryer vent and avoid these problems with the right methods and supplies.

Step One: Clean Dryer Lint Trap

While it’s important to remove accumulated lint from the lint trap after every drying cycle, it also requires a more in-depth cleaning. Over time, dryer sheet and fabric softener residue can clog the holes in the lint trap, allowing lint to accumulate in the vent. 

dryer not heating

Follow these steps to clean the dryer lint trap:

  1. Remove the trap from its housing and take out all visible lint.
  2. Use a vacuum’s narrow hose attachment to remove smaller debris.
  3. Rinse the trap under running water and apply a small amount of dish soap.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the trap. Keep scrubbing until water flows through it freely, indicating that all residue is removed.
  5. Allow the trap to dry completely before replacing it.

Step Two: Clean the Lint Trap Vent

Even if the trap isn’t blocked, lint can accumulate in the lint trap vent and cause clogs. Cleaning the lint trap vent can quickly be accomplished with a dryer vent brush while the lint trap dries. Simply circulate the brush throughout the vent opening, removing all reachable lint and debris. It may take several passes with the brush to remove as much lint as possible. Once large debris has been removed, use a vacuum’s narrow hose attachment to extract all remaining lint from the area.

Step Three: Clean Your Dryer Vent

Once the lint trap and vent are clean, it’s time to remove any accumulated lint from the dryer vents. Here’s a picture we took of dryer lint in a customer’s wall vent!

Here’s how to clean your dryer vent:

  1. Unplug the dryer and move it away from the wall to access the vent.
  2. Disconnect the vent from the dryer and the wall.
  3. Circulate the dryer vent brush within the vent to remove lint and debris.
  4. If you have a metal dryer vent, use the vacuum’s narrow hose attachment to remove smaller pieces of debris. Skip this step if you have foil or plastic venting, as vacuuming could cause damage.
  5. Use the brush or vacuum hose attachment to remove any blockages around the vent exhaust on the outside of your house.
  6. Reconnect the vent to the wall and dryer, restore the dryer’s power and position it back in place.

The experts at CD Appliance Repair can help with any and all dryer maintenance. Call or schedule your professional dryer vent cleaning online today!

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