Dryer Vent Cleaning

Man cleaning the vent in dryerYou may not realize this, but every time you do a load of laundry, lint collects not only in that handy little screen (be sure to empty after that every load!) but also in your dryer itself and in the venting. Excessive buildup of lint occurs slowly, but can be a hazard to your home if ignored. Read on for the proper methods of dryer vent cleaning and how to keep your home safe from repercussions of excess buildup.

Your clothes dryer is the primary source of fire in your home. Doesn’t seem logical, does it? After all, it’s not hot to the touch and you don’t light it up or cook anything on it. This rationale is probably the reason it’s the cause of so many house fires—proper cleaning and maintenance is disregarded by many homeowners because we don’t see the lint building up all along the dryer vent hose. As water is extracted from the clothes while drying, lint is created. Its light and wispy qualities will send it deep down inside of your dryer, not just into the screen.

5 Warning Signs That Your Dryer Vent May Be Collecting Dangerous Amounts of Lint Build-up:

  • Clothes aren’t fully dry after a 50-minute cycle.
  • Clothes continually take longer to dry than before.
  • The outside of your dryer is hot to the touch.
  • Your laundry room seems more humid than usual.
  • You detect a burnt smell in your laundry room.

Fires are caused from two primary areas of your dryer: the lint trap and dryer venting and hoses.

Lint Trap
Firstly, remove the lint screen and clean it free of lint. Use a fine bristled brush for removing very small particles. Now onto the screen cavity. With a long bristled brush, extend your reach all the way down into the bottom of the cavity. Twist the brush and pull it all the way out, extracting clumps of the fluffy stuff. Clean the brush thoroughly of lint. Repeat this step several times until you’re no longer able to pull lint from the screen cavity.

Duct Work
Now it’s time to disassemble sections of the duct to extract the lint. Do not proceed until you unplug your dryer. Equally as important, if you have a gas dryer, make sure you turn off the gas valve. Pull apart the duct joint closest to your dryer and push the unit away from the wall to give yourself some room to work. Loosen the vent clamp on the back of the dryer using a screwdriver and slide the vent off the dryer. Disconnect all other sections of the ductwork.

With your vacuum’s attachment tool, get to work on cleaning those dryer vent hoses in addition to removing all of the lint from the hole in the back of the dryer. After sucking out all the lint you can, you’ll need a long-handled, round, thick bristled brush to dislodge the lint from the duct and pull it out of the hose. (You’ll probably find that a larger brush works better in the ducts and a smaller brush for your lint trap.) Insert the brush into the duct and use a rotating motion to grab the lint and pull it out of each duct section. There are a few commercial duct cleaning kits, equipped with extendable brushes. Check your local hardware store for the option that’s best for you. Once you’ve extracted all the lint you possibly can, reassemble the duct pieces and restore power to your dryer.

Don’t Risk It
When dryer vent cleaning, making sure your dryer is clean so that it is free of excess lint buildup is fairly easy, as identified here. Don’t take the risk of assuming your dryer runs fine and doesn’t need to be cleaned. The lint builds up so gradually over time that we become accustomed to dryer cycles running ever longer and less efficiently. Give yourself a weekend project and the peace of mind in doing so.

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946, and is located in St. Louis, Missouri. With more than 65 years of experience, Woodard is proud to serve as a preferred provider of water, fire, and smoke restoration services for residential, commercial, and institutional facilities. For more information, visit Woodard’s website, or call 314-227-3938


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