Cleaning your dryer's lint trap frequently is an important fire-prevention measure. It will also help your dryer perform its best. A full or obstructed lint trap also may cause the machine to run for longer periods of time, adding to electricity and gas bills It is best to clear the trap after every load and to wash the mesh whenever it appears obstructed.
Finding the Trap
It's best to refer to your dryer's owner's manual to find the exact location of the lint trap on your model. Though some General Electric front-loading dryer models have a lint trap that is accessed through a small opening on the top of the dryer, in most models the lint trap is located at the bottom of the dryer door opening, and looks like a thin, angled slot with a mesh screen inside. On some older models the slot may be vertical rather than angled. In these models the screen must be removed by grasping the handle on top and sliding it up and out.
Clearing the Trap
Excess lint should be cleared from the lint trap's screen after every load. For dryer's with an angled slot, clearing the lint from the trap is simply a matter of reaching into the slot and pulling out the lint. Static electricity from the dryer causes the lint to stick together, so in most cases you can simply grasp the lint at one end and peel it off in one piece. For dryers with a vertical lint trap or a trap accessed through the top of the dryer, pull the screen out of the dryer by its handle. Once it is out. the process is the same. Simply pull the lint off and discard. Slide the clean screen back into the slot before drying another load.
Cleaning the Trap
Each time you clear excess lint from the screen you should check to make sure the mesh is not obstructed. Over time lint can build up in the spaces between the mesh, clogging it and affecting the machine's efficiency. If you use dryer sheets, you may notice a waxy buildup that clogs the mesh and cannot be lifted free by hand. Hold the screen up to a bright light and make sure you can see clearly through the spaces. If you can't, it is best to clean it with a damp cloth or warm, soapy water. After cleaning, allow the screen to dry completely before replacing it in the dryer.
To reduce the chance of accidental fires, you should have the dryer's interior and exhaust tubes cleaned by a service technician about once every 18 months. This will also keep the machine at peak performance.
Make sure your dryer is properly ventilated. Again, this will ensure your safety as well as a longer machine life. The area around the machine should be unobstructed, and there should always be a clear exhaust tube leading outside.