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How to Clean a Dryer Properly

February 1, 2024

When was the last time you cleaned the dryer? Because they need some love too.

Over time, lint and dust can accumulate in the dryer vent and that can potentially damage the appliance. Not only that but it can also become a fire hazard.

That’s why it’s so important to clean the dryer regularly – and that includes the vent duct.

What’s the best way to do it? What products should you use? Learn more below.

The Importance of Dryer Maintenance

how to clean a dryer

Cleaning your dryer isn’t just about keeping it running efficiently; it’s also a vital step in maintaining home safety.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers cause roughly 2,900 house fires each year, with one-third resulting from failure to clean the clothes dryer.

Cleaning the appliance regularly will also help your clothes dry faster and keep serious damage at bay by ensuring proper airflow within the machine. The key parts playing crucial roles in this process are the lint trap, dryer lint screen, and vent system – they all require regular checks and cleanses.

Take trapped lint, for example, not only will it prevent your clothes from drying, but it can also pose a fire hazard.

Signs It’s Time to Clean Your Electric or Gas Dryer

If your dryer isn’t performing as it should, lint buildup might be the culprit. More specifically, remaining lint can clog up the dryer vent and restrict airflow, which will reduce its efficiency.

A common sign is clean clothes taking longer than usual to dry or coming out still damp after a full cycle. This suggests that hot air isn’t circulating properly because of vent blockage.

An overheating dryer is another red flag. If the exterior vent gets too hot during operation or if you notice a burning smell, stop using it immediately.

A blocked dryer duct could cause this heat build-up and it’s also one of the leading causes of house fires.

Cleaning Frequency

As part of regular maintenance, aim for a thorough cleaning every six months at least. However, if any signs mentioned above show up sooner – don’t wait.

Tools and Equipment Needed for Cleaning a Dryer

cleaning a dryer

Cleaning your dryer doesn’t have to be intimidating, but it does necessitate some specialized supplies. To get started, you’ll want to grab a dryer cleaning brush.

A credit card or plastic spatula can also come in handy when you’re trying to scrape off stubborn residue from the drum without scratching it. Just make sure not to use too much force.

Rubbing Alcohol

You might be surprised at this one, but rubbing alcohol is actually quite effective at removing ink stains on the interior drum of your dryer.

It’s perfect because it evaporates quickly without leaving any unwanted residue behind.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Did you know fabric softener sheets are great helpers during laundry day? Besides making your clothes smell nice, they will also soften any residue that’s stuck inside the dryer drum, mkaking them easier to wipe away with a dry cloth.

Cleaning the Lint Trap and Lint Screen

Your dryer’s lint trap and screen play a crucial role in ensuring optimal airflow. But over time, they can collect too much lint that might restrict this flow.

Step 1: Remove and Clean the Lint Trap

First things first, pull out your dryer’s lint trap. You’ll usually find it inside the drum or at its top corner. Using a clean microfiber cloth, remove as much of the lint gathered on it as possible.

Step 2: Soak the Trap in a Dish Soap Solution

Soak both of the items in a cleaning solution for about ten minutes. That will help loosen any stubborn dirt or residue that’s stuck on them.

Tip: Use Rubbing Alcohol for Stubborn Stains

If you notice stains that didn’t come off after soaking, don’t fret. Grab some rubbing alcohol and dab some onto your cleaning cloth then gently rub away those pesky spots until they disappear.

Tip 2: Use a Dryer Brush to Remove Lint

You can get a special tool called a dryer lint brush, which you can use to clean hard-to-reach areas within your dryer vent pipe.

Once cleaned properly, air will be able to flow freely through the dryer vent.

Cleaning the Dryer Drum

how to clean a dryer drumDirty dryer drums can lead to stains on your clothes. But with a few simple steps, you can get that drum clean and shining again.

Removing Residue and Stains

To start, grab a clean cloth or white towel soaked in hot soapy water. Wipe down the interior of the drum thoroughly. That will help remove any residue from fabric softeners or laundry detergents.

If there are stubborn ink stains left behind by pens or markers, rubbing alcohol is your best friend. Dampen another clean cloth with it and gently rub over the stain until it fades away.

For more challenging messes like dye or lipstick marks, use an all-purpose cleaner but make sure to rinse well afterwards as residues could damage fabrics during future laundry days.

Maintaining A Clean Drum

A regular cleaning routine will help maintain your dryer’s performance while ensuring its longevity.

Drying a load of old towels after cleaning is also advisable – that will help pick up any leftover lint or debris within the drum.

Also, remember to leave the dryer door open for at least an hour post-cleaning; that will allow complete drying.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent Exhaust

Keeping your dryer’s vent exhaust clean is vital to its overall efficiency. It also prevents dangerous lint buildup, which can be a fire hazard.

Use a Soft Bristled Nylon Brush for Thorough Cleaning

how to clean a dryer ventA long flexible dryer lint brush, specifically designed for this task, can reach deep into the vent system and dislodge accumulated lint.

The cleaning process begins by disconnecting your dryer from power – safety first. Then remove the vent hose attached at the back of your machine. That will give you direct access to both ends of your dryer’s exhaust vent – essential spots that need meticulous cleaning.

Poke one end of the long flexible brush into these openings and start twisting gently but firmly. The bristles will grab onto dust particles while turning and give you a clean dryer vent exhaust.

Maintaining Cleanliness Post-Brushing

Use soapy water to clean away any leftover residue within reachable parts before reattaching everything back together again.

Keep things neat between deep cleans by regularly checking hidden corners on laundry day.

Always empty the trapped lint after drying, especially for heavy fabrics. Good quality dryer sheets can be a great help too – they will cut down extra fuzz in the drum over time and keep it cleaner longer with less fuss beyond routine upkeep.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Dryer

Here’s an overview of how to clean your clothes dryer.

Unplug Your Clothes Dryer and Prep It for Cleaning

To start, always unplug your dryer. That will prevent accidental shocks and dryer fires while you’re working on it.

Remove Lint From Different Parts of The Dryer

how to clean dryer lintA clean lint trap means faster drying times.

Remove the lint screen and gently brush off the accumulated lint using a soft cloth.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Use your vent cleaning kit (preferably the long flexible dryer lint brush) to clean out your exterior vent exhaust system thoroughly from both ends – where it attaches to the dryer as well as outside at its exit point.

How to Clean a Dryer – FAQs

Can you sanitize a gas dryer?

Yes, you can sanitize a gas or electric dryer. Use a microfiber cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe the dryer drum and kill germs.

How do you clean a dryer that smells?

To fix a smelly dryer, wipe down the drum with white vinegar. Then run an empty cycle on high heat to get rid of lingering odors.

How do you clean the inside of a dryer lint trap?

Clean it using warm soapy water and an old toothbrush – you want to get rid of as much lint as you can. Scrub gently then let it air dry before putting back into your machine.

Can I clean my dryer with Windex?

Nope, don’t use Windex or similar products as they could damage its surface. Stick to mild soap and water for cleaning your dryer’s exterior parts.

Can I clean the dryer lint screen with a vacuum cleaner?

Yes, you can use a vacuum to remove excess lint from the screen. From there, you can wash it with warm soapy water.

How do you clean a dryer vent?

We recommend using a dryer cleaning brush to clean the hard-to-reach areas inside the duct system. That will help remove lint buildup from the inside.

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Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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