How Often To Clean Your Dryer Vent

How often to clean your dryer vent and how to do it.

Cleaning your dryer vent is an important part of keeping your home safe and your dryer operating efficiently. You can easily clean your own dryer vent with a dryer vent cleaning kit and save hundreds by doing it yourself.

In this article we cover how often to clean your dryer vent, how to do it and why it’s so important.

Why Clean Your Dryer Vent?

Cleaning your dryer vent is essential for optimizing the performance of your dryer and making sure it runs as efficiently as possible. It’s also important for safety, as lint buildup in the vent can lead to a fire hazard due to the lack of airflow.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year. Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of these fires.

If you haven’t cleaned out your dryer vent in awhile, now is the time to do so!

When Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?

The frequency of dryer vent cleaning will depend on a few factors. If you use your dryer regularly (multiple times per week) and have a long vent run (over 25 feet), you’ll likely need to clean it more often. On the other hand, if you only use your dryer occasionally and have a shorter vent run, you may be able to go longer between cleanings.

One way to gauge when it’s time for a cleaning is to pay attention to how your dryer is performing. If it’s taking longer than usual to dry clothes, or if you notice that the outside of the dryer is hot to the touch, it could be a sign that the vent is partially blocked. Other signs that your dryer vent needs cleaning include:

  • The dryer lint flap isn’t opening
  • Clothes coming out of the dryer extremely hot
  • The room is warmer than typical when the dryer is running
  • The dryer stopped working

If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to clean your dryer vent.

So, how often should you clean your dryer vent? As a general rule of thumb, aim to clean it every six months to a year. If you’re unsure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and clean it more frequently.

Tools Needed To Clean Dryer Vent

I’d recommend purchasing a dryer vent cleaning kit to properly clean out your dryer vent. It comes with a brush to thoroughly remove the lint from the wall duct. There are several rods that can be attached to extend the brush length. The kit also comes with a vacuum adapter that allows you to access the lint that has accumulated under the lint trap.

The link below is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit
The flexible dryer vent cleaning brush is made of nylon rods, that with your drill will quickly extend up to 13 feet, great for work in air duct or outdoor pipes. The vacuum attenchment hose is a helper to clean the dryer vent and filter.
Tools to clean a dryer vent.  Vacuum, vacuum adapter, vent brush, rods and screwdriver.

How to Properly Clean Your Dryer Vent

Time needed: 30 minutes

How to Clean Out Your Dryer Vent

  1. Unplug the dryer

    Move the dryer away from the wall to allow enough working room.
    Vacuum any dust or lint that has accumulated behind or underneath the dryer.
    Unplug the dryer

  2. Remove the dryer duct

    Use a screwdriver to detach the dryer duct from the dryer and the wall. Detached dryer vent

  3. Clean out the flexible dryer duct hose

    Shake any loose debris and lint out of the hose onto the ground and then vacuum it up. Do not use the brush on flexible foil ducting as it could tear the foil. Dryer lint removed from flexible ducting.

  4. Remove the exterior vent hood

    If the exterior vent hood is accessible, remove it or open it.

  5. Use a brush to clean the dryer duct

    Connect the rods to the brush and then insert the brush into the wall duct opening. While turning in a clockwise motion, gently push and pull the brush and rods until the entire length of the duct is clean.

    If you feel a jam, pull the brush back a few inches and then slowly push forward.

    A drill can be attached to the brush and rods if desired but be sure to always turn in a clockwise direction only. Dryer vent cleaning with a brush

  6. Check the outside vent hood

    Check the outside vent hood to ensure that the entire duct has been cleaned. Remove any lint that may have been pushed out. Then close the hood.

  7. Reconnect the dryer duct

    Use a screwdriver to reconnect the flexible dryer duct to the dryer and the wall duct. Dryer duct connected to dryer and wall duct.

  8. Clean the lint trap area

    Remove the lint trap from the dryer. Clean it out and then use a vacuum adapter to clean out the lint that has accumulated under the lint trap. Cleaning underneath dryer lint trap with a vacuum adapter.

  9. Ensure the air is properly flowing

    Plug in the dryer and turn it on to ensure that the air is properly flowing through the duct and exhausting through the outside vent.

Warning Signs That You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent Immediately.

While it’s important to clean your dryer vent every few months, there are some warning signs that you need to clean your dryer vent immediately. These include if the clothes are taking longer than normal to dry, if there is a burning smell coming from the dryer while in use, or if the external exhaust vent flap projects outward.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, be sure to clean out your dryer vent quickly and safely.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning a Dryer Vent.

One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning their dryer vent is ignoring the manufacturer’s instructions. Before cleaning your vent, be sure to consult your dryer manufacturers manual for special instructions unique to your appliance. You can typically access these on the manufacturers website if you didn’t save the original document.

Additionally, it is important to not just vacuum the vent, but also use a brush or an air compressor and a cloth to remove any lint or debris that may have accumulated in hard-to-reach places.

Finally, check inside the drum and run the dryer empty with no clothes on a cycle after every clean out as it helps prevent any built up residue from burning onto delicate fabrics.

Other Tips to Keep Your Dryer Working Efficiently and Safely:

  • Clean the lint filter before each load of laundry
  • Clean the lint filter every few months with a brush or more often if it becomes clogged
  • Make sure there is a cover on the outside dampers to keep rain, snow and dirt out of it.

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