How to Clean Your Home’s Dryer Vent Properly Cleanzen Infographic


Roughly 2,900 house fires each year are related to dirty vents, based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration. On top of the fire risk, a dirty dryer vent impedes air circulation in the dryer.


As a result, it may take longer to dry the clothes. This creates energy waste and time burdens. Because the clothes dryer is used more heavily when the vent is dirty, repair issues related to wear and tear are more likely.


If your dryer vent is dirty, you may also notice that your clothes have more lint on them than they previously had. While a dirty dryer vent can cause many problems, these problems can easily be resolved when you know how to clean a dryer vent.


What is the Difference Between a Dryer Duct and a Dryer Vent?


Both the dryer vent and the dryer duct can get filthy with regular use of the appliance. The vent is located on the back side of the dryer. It is a large, circular opening that may be connected to a metallic tube.


This tube is the dryer duct. The vent allows the heated air, lint and dust to escape from the clothes dryer. It pushes the air into the duct. The duct is a long, hose-like tube that runs from the air vent to a portal in the wall. This wall portal connects to an exterior vent where the hot air, lint and dust escape from the house.


How Do You Know It’s Time to Clean Your Dryer Vent?


How to Clean Your Home’s Dryer Vent Properly Cleanzen Image of a Dirty Dryer Vent


Ideally, your clothes dryer vent will be cleaned regularly so that lint and other debris do not build up to a dangerous level. However, there a few definitive signs that indicate you need to clean your dryer vent as soon as possible.


One of these signs is a burning odor when your clothes dryer runs. You may also notice that the clothes require two or more cycles to get completely dry. The dryer as well as the laundry room may feel warm or even hot, indicating that the dryer is working overtime to do its important job. These warning signs should be addressed quickly.


How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent?


The recommended frequency of dryer vent cleaning sessions directly depends on how frequently your dryer is used. If you only run a load or two of clothes through the dryer each week, annual vent cleaning should suffice. If you use the dryer more heavily, the vent may need to be cleaned every three to six months. In between cleaning sessions, be observant of the warning signs of a dirty or clogged vent.


How to Clean a Dryer Vent


How to Clean Dryer Vent Cleanzen Image of a Lint Being Removed with a Brush From a Dryer Vent


Cleaning a dryer vent is essential for preventing potential fire hazards and improving the efficiency of your dryer. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a dryer vent:


How to Clean A Dryer Vent From Inside


Before cleaning the dryer vent, you should pull together a drill, a broom, a shop vacuum with an attached hose, a screwdriver, a bucket, soap, a dryer duct cleaning kit, a microfiber cloth and lubricant spray. Then, walk through these steps:

  • Clean out the lint trap. The trap is usually found on top of the dryer or right inside the dryer door.
  • Pull the dryer far enough away from the wall so that you have room to work with the shop vac.
  • Unplug the dryer cord from the wall. You will need to turn off the gas valve behind the dryer if you have a gas dryer.
  • Then, remove the duct from the vent and the wall. If the duct is damaged, you should purchase and install a replacement after following the rest of the cleaning steps.
  • Using the shop vacuum, clean the exterior of the vent and as far inside the vent as you can safely reach. Then, do the same to clean the wall-mounted vent and the duct.
  • After cleaning the vent from the exterior as well, you can reinstall the duct to the vent and reconnect the electricity or gas.


How to Clean Dryer Vent From Outside


You also need to clean the dryer vent from the outside of the house. Use a ladder to access the air vent. Safely, vacuum the outer air vent with the shop vac. An alternative is to use a leaf blower from inside the house. This will project the debris in the vent and duct out of the house.


How to Minimize Lint Buildup


How to Clean Your Home’s Dryer Vent Properly Cleanzen Image of a Man Takes a Lint Filter Out of Dryer and Cleans It From Dust Lint Hair Wool


Each time you use the clothes dryer, small fibers and lint will break free from your garments. The purpose of the lint trap is to collect the fibers and lint. By doing so, it prevents them from entering the dryer vent and duct. When the lint trap is filled with debris, however, it is unable to work properly. More lint and fibers will enter the ducts and vent, and they will accumulate in increasing quantities until you clean the vent and duct. The best way to minimize lint buildup is to empty the lint trap before each new load of laundry.




How Do I Know If My Dryer Vent Needs to Be Cleaned?


How to Clean Your Homes Dryer Vent Properly Cleanzen Image of A Dryer Vent Line


If you notice a burning smell when using the dryer, this may be the smell of the fibers and lint burning in the machine and duct. This indicates a potential fire hazard, so cleaning should be done as soon as possible. You may also notice that the dryer or laundry room feel unusually hot. This is caused by heat building up as you use a dryer with a clogged vent. In addition, a dirty air vent and duct cause the dryer to work less efficiently. As a result, you may need to run each load through the dryer twice before they fully dry.


Can a Dryer Really Cause a House Fire?


Dryers are a common cause of house fires. The fires are typically caused by the machine or the lint and fibers overheating. To prevent a dryer-related house fire, clean the lint trap after every use and clean the dryer vent regularly.


How Can I Clean My Dryer Vent Myself?


Most people can clean the dryer vent themselves if they have the proper equipment. Be aware, however, that it may be difficult to pull the dryer out and get behind it. It may also be dangerous for some people to access the exterior vent.


Check out these step-by-step instructional DIY videos from The Home Depot on how to easily clean your dryer vent at home.



When Should I Call a Professional Vent Cleaners to Do the Cleaning?


If you feel unsafe cleaning your dryer vent, you should hire a professional. It may also be easier to call a professional if you do not have all the necessary equipment available to do the job yourself.


It is easy to overlook critical tasks like cleaning the dryer vent when you are overwhelmed by daily and weekly chores. Our professional cleaners offer a full range of thorough services, and they can visit your home around your schedule. Our housecleaning services can free up hours of time so that you can focus your attention on other important tasks. Request a consultation and a quote from us today to learn more.


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