How to Clean Dryer Vent Components Safely – 9 Easy Steps
What’s on your yearly spring cleaning and deep cleaning to do list? Many homeowners don’t realize the significance and importance of knowing how to clean dryer vent components. Don’t worry, though. We’ll show you it’s easier than you think.
Did you at last buy your dream home, and now you’re starting to realize the time and effort it takes to look after your asset? Being a homeowner—or a landlord—comes with a great number of home maintenance responsibilities. Luckily, our quick reference guide on how to clean dryer vent components safely and effectively will help you tick off at least one item on your to do list—quickly.
Why is it Important to Know How to Clean Dryer Vent Systems?
Did you know that by cleaning a dryer vent you’re actually simplifying your family’s house chores? It means your dryer will work more efficiently, cutting back on home maintenance time and effort.
Furthermore, whether you know how to clean dryer vent components affects the safety of the household. In extreme cases, the combination of heat and dry lint in this appliance can lead to a fire. By keeping your appliance clean and in a good working condition, you’re reducing the chance of this happening in your home.
It’s also vital to understand how to clean dryer vent parts correctly. You don’t want to put anyone at risk while performing their list of tasks on your home’s daily to do list. For example, you may want to advise a family member to wear a mask while working with so much dust. Or perhaps you’re looking for an easy-to-follow guide to help your teen manage his or her chore list.
Our detailed discussion will help manage all these scenarios.
How Often Must You Clean Your Dryer Vent?
At the bare minimum you need to clean your dryer once a year. However, various lifestyle choices can require multiple cleaning sessions a year. For example, households with pets that shed a lot of hair will have more residue sticking to the vent. Even the type of fabric you prefer wearing may determine if the vent gets clogged quickly. Therefore, take a look every few weeks to see if there’s massive lint build-up in your appliance.
When it’s time for a clean, follow our steps on how to clean dryer vent components.
And if you’re not sure whether it’s actually necessary, look for warning signs that you need to clean sooner rather than later.
Signs You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent
Stay aware of how well your appliances are functioning, because there are often tell-tale signs that they need maintenance:
- If you think your dryer isn’t working as efficiently as always, it’s possible that it needs a good clean. When clothes are still damp after long dryer sessions, something is wrong.
- There’s a burning smell in the laundry room when the dryer is on, or it’s extremely hot when you touch it.
- When you take out clothes from the dryer and they’re very hot (warmer than usual).
- Instead of the air escaping via the vent, it’s making the laundry room humid.
Enzo tip: add ‘Clean dryer’ as a regular chore on the Enzo chore tracker app, so a certain household member can receive a reminder to check for these issues and take care of the task when needed.
What You Need to Clean a Dryer Vent
Here’s a list of items to get when learning how to clean dryer vent components in your home:
- Microfiber cloth
- Vacuum cleaner
- Dustpan and brush
- Solution of soap and water
- Power drill
- Dryer vent cleaning kit, which is available from various retailers
Work through our method of how to clean dryer vent components and also read the appliance’s manual. Then you’ll know exactly what you’ll need for cleaning YOUR specific dryer.
How to Clean a Dryer Vent
With any home maintenance it’s best to plan ahead rather than impulsively starting the new task. Otherwise, you may end up rushing to the store mid-task.
You do need specific equipment for proper dryer vent maintenance, which we listed above. However, you may find you prefer one method to another. We cover multiple approaches in the sections below and you can use the methods you find most comfortable and applicable to your home.
For example, will your children help you with house tasks? When you show them how to clean dryer vent components, for safety you may prefer them using the dustpan and broom if they’re not comfortable using the vacuum cleaner yet.
If you’re concerned about dust affecting your health, wear a mask throughout the cleaning process.
Before you start with the actual cleaning and maintenance, you need to switch off the dryer. When working with any electrically powered appliance, never run the risk of someone getting electrocuted. The unit itself must be off and also switch off the outlet AND disconnect it from the power outlet.
Some dryers are gas operated. In this case you need to close the gas valve.
At the back of the dryer there is usually a dryer duct. You can disconnect this too.
Moving the Dryer
Experts on how to clean dryer vent components will tell you it’s much easier working on the relevant parts if you move the appliance. Therefore, pull it away from the wall for easy access.
Depending on the layout of the room and the dryer’s design, you may have to pull it away anyway in order to unplug it from the wall.
Your normal vacuum cleaner is an efficient tool to clean near the vent’s entrance and the exhaust duct. Suck out the dust and debris as far as the vacuum can enter these parts.
You can brush away dust as well and the most effective way is to use a vent brush kit. These are designed to manoeuvre deep into the duct, so you can reach more lint and debris and clean a large interior section of the dryer.
You can attach these flexible rods to a power drill if you have one. This automates the turning action and by pushing a brush forward and then pulling it out again, you can remove dust from inside the vent.
When you’re done with this process, vacuum again—even across your entire work area—so there’s no chance of the dust getting caught up in the vent system again. You can also sweep up the dirt if you prefer.
Also make sure to clean the lint trap and wipe the outside of the appliance clean with a cloth.
Components that you can completely remove, such as a vent cover, you can wash in some warm water with soap. Depending on the design you may need a tool like a screwdriver to remove it. Also use a microfiber cloth to prevent scratching and make sure to dry it completely before putting it back.
Check Inside AND Outside
Apart from cleaning inside the laundry room, you can also head outside and clean the exterior vent. Remove components like the cover and use your vacuum cleaner to clear away lint, dust and debris. A microfiber cloth can also work well.
Putting Everything in its Place
The efficiency of your dryer does relate to how all components interact together. Therefore, it’s vital that you return the dryer’s parts to their original places. For example, if you disconnected a duct, ensure it’s once again in the right place when you’re done cleaning.
Take extra care with any dryer that uses natural gas. If you suspect there may be a leak because of your cleaning process, rather ask a professional to check it for you before using the unit again.
Do a Test Run
Before using your dryer properly for the first time after its cleaning, do a short test run. Switch it on to make sure it works and monitor if the air is channeled outside, not escaping into the house itself. Experts suggest running it—while empty—for around 20 minutes.
You can also listen for any odd sounds or determine if you detect odors you’re not used to. This could be signs that something is wrong, and you can get professionals to have a look as precaution.
As with many maintenance tasks, cleaning your dryer vent isn’t something most people get excited about. But please don’t put it off for too long and stay vigilant about how your dryer is working. A dirty, clogged dryer can be a home fire hazard and you should have peace of mind that your home is a safe place for the household.
That’s yet another benefit of using chore trackers like Enzo since the reminders prevent you falling behind on important home maintenance. Download our app and add this task to your to do list now—get it sorted before it’s too late.