How to Clean Lint Out of a Whirlpool Dryer

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Cleaning lint out of your Whirlpool dryer is important. First, a lint-clogged system that doesn't dry efficiently adds to energy costs. Second, appliances are expensive. Who wants basic maintenance avoidance to result in having to buy a new dryer? Finally, there's the big, bad issue: Lint buildup in dryers often leads to something even more costly — house fires. Imagine losing everything simply because you didn't perform an easy cleaning task.

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How Lint Becomes a Problem

Failure to clean dryers is the leading cause of thousands of dryer fires in the United States. Each year, these disasters cause death, injury, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.

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Uncaptured and highly flammable lint easily gets into places where it shouldn't and gets blocked from going where it should. When, for example, a flexible exhaust hose is smashed by a dryer pushed too close to a wall, blocked airflow can allow lint to blow back into the heating element. Also, often-ignored external vents that are hosting an animal's nest can keep lint from passing through. And often, just the heavy buildup of lint in an exhaust system cuts airflow, making the dryer work harder and leading to overheating and fire.

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Prevention Is Easy

The solution to the lint problem is simply to do your due diligence when it comes to cleaning. Three different parts of the appliance need attention: the lint screen, the lint trap, and the vent system. Dealing with the screen and trap are a cinch. Clearing lint out of the vent is also a breeze, but if you're intimidated by getting into the back of the dryer, don't just choose to ignore it. By all means, call someone who services appliances to do the job for you.

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Clearing Lint From Your Whirlpool

Cleaning the lint screen and trap on your Whirlpool dryer is easy. First, always clean the screen before or after each load. Whirlpool lint screens are usually found just inside the dryer's door. Lift the screen to remove it, gently pull off any lint clinging to it, and then replace the screen.

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Whirlpool states that you should clean your lint trap as needed. Turn off the dryer, unplug it, and then remove the screen and set it aside. Vacuum the trap (the area beneath the screen) with the extra-long vacuum crevice attachment from a dryer lint cleaning kit that will also normally include a special brush for the vent.

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Yearly vent cleaning is often recommended, but Whirlpool recommends vent cleaning when your clothes take longer than usual to dry, when they aren't drying at all, or when you feel no air coming through the outside vent. The following signs also indicate the need for vent cleaning:

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  • The dryer cabinet feels overly warm when you touch it.
  • The lint screen fills quickly.
  • Excess lint appears around your dryer, especially in back.
  • Use of the dryer heats up the room more than usual.

To clean the vent yourself, unplug your dryer or for a gas model, shut off the gas supply. If you've never worked with gas supply lines, call a service technician for the job. Remove the cover over the end of your exhaust vent and disconnect the vent pipe from the back of your dryer. Use your brush to carefully push lint out of the vent duct and then reconnect the duct on both ends and restore power to your dryer. Run your empty dryer for 10 to 15 minutes to clear out any remaining lint.

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