If you’ve ever seen those photos of the nastiness that comes out of a dryer vent, and you love DIY projects, you’ll love knowing that it’s not that difficult of a job.
You don’t have to hire a vent cleaning company because it’s a simple (and satisfying) DIY project.
You’ll need some tools, but other than that, the job is a snap.
Why clean it?
All that stuff in the vent is a safety hazard. Between “… 2014-2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average …” of 13,820 home fires involving clothes dryers, according to Marty Ahrens with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“One-third (32 percent) of dryer fires were caused by a failure to clean. This appears to be mainly lint build-up,” Ahrens concludes.
Aside from the safety issue, all that rubbish in the vent causes the dryer to work harder and, thus, less effectively, wasting energy.
Gather your tools and get to work
You will need a dryer vent cleaning brush and a vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment.
- Disconnect the dryer from the power supply or, for a gas dryer, turn off the gas supply.
- Drag the dryer away from the wall to give yourself enough room to get behind it.
- Disconnect the duct connected to the back of the dryer.
- Insert a vent cleaning brush (available at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com) into the opening at the back of the dryer and “… gently twist it around, pulling out any lint,” suggests Jenny McFarlane and Sarah Warwick at RealHomes.com.
- By this point, you should have a nasty pile of lint on the floor which you can then vacuum up.
Next, move on to the vent duct (the part that connects to the wall).
- Disconnect the duct from the wall.
- Use your hands to remove the lint.
- Use the vacuum with the crevice attachment to carefully clean inside the vent.
There may be some lint stuck in the dryer vent tubing. Insert the brush into the tubing and push it forward and pull backward. Repeat this several times, at both ends of the tubing,
Don’t neglect the exterior vent
Do you know where your dryer’s exterior vent is? “For most dryer models, you can’t run the exhaust duct more than 25 feet from the dryer to the exhaust port,” according to the experts at MrAppliance.com.
They go on to suggest that if you can’t find it nearby, “… check the basement wall or the attic/roof.”
- Remove the vent cover
- Use the brush to loosen the lint inside the duct, and the vacuum to remove it.
- Replace the cover and you’re finished!
Before you call it a day and a job well-done, check behind the dryer to ensure you’ve cleaned up all the lint off the floor. Otherwise, a fire hazard still exists.
Test your handiwork
- Reconnect the dryer to the power outlet or turn the gas back on.
- Push the dryer back into place.
- Run the dryer for about 15 minutes on the air cycle (often called the “fluff” cycle) to ensure everything is working as it should.