how to clean your dryer

Is Cleaning My Dryer Necessary?

Regularly cleaning your dryer is a must. It can be the difference between a long-lasting appliance and a costly repair. Removing the lint from your dryer screen is a good place to start, but there are other parts of your dryer that need cleaning, too. Running load after load in a dirty dryer can cause damage to the machine and increase the risk of a fire.

The most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests more than 5,000 dryer fires occur annually as a result of lint and debris buildup.

Keeping your dryer clean is a great way to make sure your clothes dry faster and stay cleaner. It also helps reduce your energy bill.

Which Parts of My Dryer Should Be Cleaned?

dryer diagramYou’ll want to check for lint buildup and other debris in the dryer screen as well as the drum, vent, and vent hose. Always unplug your dryer before cleaning.

The drum is the circular part of the dryer that holds your clothes.

The vent and vent hose are responsible for removing moisture and lint from your clothes. Similar to your car’s exhaust system, the vent redirects these elements through your wall and out into the environment.

Cleaning the Lint Screens

Cleaning your lint screens is the easiest part of maintaining your dryer. Lint screens are typically located on the top of the dryer or near the drum where the door opens. They should be cleaned each time after the dryer is used.

Besides reducing the possibility of a fire, a clean lint screen will help your dryer perform better and use less energy. Regular cleaning will also help clothes dry faster.

What to Do:

You can remove lint from the filter either by hand or with a vacuum. Make sure to clean out any lint that remains around the edges of the filter as well.

Next, remove the screen and pour some water through it. If the water collects on top of the screen instead of flowing through, you’ll need to wash more thoroughly. Use soap and warm water to clean the screen until water flows through freely.

Cleaning the Dryer Drum

The drum can transfer unwanted oil residue and chemicals to your clothes if not cleaned properly.

If you’re washing away tougher materials like mud and pet hair, or cleaning up accidents involving gum or ink, wiping down the drum afterwards is a good idea. Keeping the drum clean will also reduce odors in your clothes caused by detergent and fabric softener buildup that locks in bacteria.

Your drum won’t need a regular cleaning like the lint screen, but it should be cleaned if it’s noticeably dirty. If you’ve washed more than a few messy loads lately, it’s worth taking a look.

What to Do:

Start by wiping down the drum with a moist cloth. Then warm the dryer for a few minutes. Scrape off any tough-to-remove residue that is still clinging to the drum. Lastly, wipe down the inside of the drum a second time using a cloth, hot water, and a little bit of detergent.

Cleaning the Vent

Keeping your dryer vent clean is the best thing you can do to protect the longevity of your appliance. Doing so will also make sure your dryer’s heating element stays intact.

Your dryer vent should be cleaned at least once a year. If you live in a full house that does multiple loads a week, cleaning the vent three or four times a year isn’t a bad idea.

Be sure to clean both the dryer vent and hose. This will ensure your dryer does a good job catching all the lint produced when clothes are dried.

What to Do:

We recommend using a long, flexible brush to clean out your vent and hose. These are commonly found at home improvement stores. You can use a vacuum in combination with a brush to remove debris.

Be sure to clean out excess lint under and around the back of the dryer to prevent it from being pulled back into the appliance later.

We’re Here to Help

Have you noticed a burning smell coming from your dryer? Worried you may need to replace your dryer’s motor or heating element? Abbey Appliance is here to help. We’ll send a certified technician to service your appliance the same day. Give us a call to schedule a visit.