How and Why to Clean a Dryer Lint Trap

Cleaning a dryer lint trap is critical for both safety and maintenance reasons. Not only can excess lint in a dryer be a fire hazard, but it can also cause your clothes to dry slowly and raise your electric bill.

Dryer Lint Trap
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How and Why to Clean a Dryer Lint Trap

How to Clean Your Dryer Lint Trap

All dryers vary on where you can find the dryer lint trap and screen. Some models may be right inside the dryer door, and others are on the top of the dryer. Before you begin cleaning anything, you should unplug the dryer. Once you locate your dryer lint trap, grab the end of the screen, pull it out and clear the lint from the screen. A quick tip is to grab a small bit of lint from the screen and use it to collect the rest of the lint, allowing you to clean it faster as it will attract the rest of the lint. Remember to throw the lint in the garbage after cleaning.

For an extra cautious clean, grab your vacuum and the soft brush attachment to clean the screen more. Once you're finished with the screen, leave it out and switch the vacuum attachment to one with a longer neck. Turn on the vacuum and position the new attachment as far in the lint trap as possible. Move the attachment around in the trap so you can get any lint out. Check every so often to make sure the end of the attachment doesn't get clogged. If your vacuum doesn't have the necessary attachments, you can purchase dryer lint kits at most stores. Once the trap is clean, you can slide the screen back. If you're unsure if you cleaned your vent thoroughly, it would be beneficial to hire a professional.

How Often You Should Clean a Dryer Lint Trap

Just like anything, dryers last longer if they are properly maintained. If you notice your clothes aren't drying properly, you're likely overdue for a good dryer lint trap cleaning. It's recommended to clean the lint trap every 12 months. If you have an older dryer or if it gets a lot of use, you should clean it more often. To keep your dryer lint trap minimized with lint until the next cleaning and for safety reasons, clean the screen each time you use the dryer.

Warning Signs

Although you shouldn't wait until you have warning signs to clean your dryer vent, there are some signs you should take seriously. Those signs include: The drying time for clothes is taking longer, the clothes inside the dryer are very hot, there's burning smell, or it's been longer than a year since you last checked it or had it inspected.