Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

by Jenny Banks

If you have a clothes dryer at home, it's extremely important that you clean the vents regularly. Dirty or blocked vents can cause your dryer to work harder, costing you more money by using more power. It can also take longer for your clothes to dry if the vents are blocked. In addition, dirty or clogged dryer vents can cause a fire, making them very dangerous.

Here are instructions to help you clean out your dryer vent. If you discover a broken or cracked vent, you may be in need of a dryer duct replacement.

  1. Unplug the dryer from the power source. If your dryer is powered by gas, you should also shut that off.
  2. Gently pull your dryer away from the wall, about the length of the entire vent. Give yourself enough room to get behind it easily.
  3. Loosen the clamp that should attach the vent to the dryer using a screwdriver. 
  4. Gently slide the vent away and off of the dryer.
  5. Using a vacuum cleaner, remove all lint, dirt, and other debris from the back of the dryer. This material can really build up over time, so you should see a good amount of it coming out.
  6. Follow the same step with your vacuum cleaner on the vent itself. Try to get as far into the vent as you can, removing all lint and other laundry remnants.
  7. If you cannot reach all the way into the vent, try using a coat hanger or other long object to push the material through the other side or closer to you so you can vacuum it out.
  8. Closely examine your dryer vent. Look for any cracks or problems. If it looks to be damaged, you may need to have it replaced.
  9. Reattach the vent to the dryer and the wall, tightly screwing the clamp back on.
  10. Check your outdoor vent screen. This is where the lint is trapped as the hot air from your dyer is blown outside. Remove it if possible, and clean off all lint. Wash the vent screen off with running water.
  11. Vacuum any debris from the outside vent area.
  12. Run your dryer on air dry for approximately ten minutes. This setting should help to force any loose or remaining lint out of the vents.
  13. Reattach your outdoor vent screen.

By cleaning the dryer vents and ducts at least every few months, you can help to prolong the life of your dryer, save money, and help keep your family safe. If your duct needs replacement or if you are in doubt about any of the steps above, contact a company like Wildman Dryer Vent Pro for help.