In addition to regularly emptying your lint trap, it's crucial to deep clean your dryer vent from time to time. Cleaning your dryer vents does more than improve your dryer's performance and speed up drying time; it helps to reduce the risk of a dangerous dryer fire significantly. Each year there are around 2,900 dryer fires in the US, the majority of which are caused by lint buildup inside dryer ducts and vents.
So to help you keep your clothes dryer running safely and efficiently, we've created this homeowners' guide to dryer vent cleaning. Below, we'll offer tips on cleaning a dryer vent and highlighting a few handy products that make it easy to clean your dryer vent without professional help.
How often should a dryer vent be cleaned?
Cleaning your dryer vent on a regular basis can help prevent dangerously clogged dryer vents in the first place. You'll want to regularly clean the lint screen between loads and do a bit of DIY dryer vent cleaning with your vacuum every few months. Ideally, you should have your dryer vent professionally cleaned at least once a year, and at a minimum, every other year.
While there are a number of handy tools that can help you do some intense deep clean on your own, it's still important to have an HVAC expert inspect your clothes dryer from time to time to ensure it's functioning properly. Dryer vents are often longer and more complex than the average homeowner may realize, and it can be difficult to remove the lint from hard-to-reach places.
How to Clean a Dryer Vent By Yourself
Cleaning a dryer vent pipe isn't all too difficult. It just requires the right cleaning product, a spare hour of your time, and a bit of patience to get the job done.
Here are basic step-by-step instructions for how to clean a dryer vent, dryer duct, and vent pipe by yourself:
- First, you'll want to locate the vent (which should be located at the back of the dryer) and the dryer exhaust on the exterior of your home.
- Unplug the dryer from the wall. And if you have a gas dryer, shut off the supply valve. Remove the exterior vent cover from the outside wall.
- Pull the dryer at least a foot away from your laundry room wall to give yourself enough space to clean.
- Using a screwdriver if needed, disconnect the dryer duct clamps from the back of the dryer.
- Using an extra-long lint removing brush or a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, remove the lint from the duct and the hole in the back of the dryer. Use the tool as you would a drain snake, push it back and forth while rotating it slightly to help loosen buildup.
- Go outside and repeat the process from the exterior end of the wall duct.
- Before finishing up, be sure to examine your ductwork, especially if your dryer has a soft foil-style vent, to double-check that it's undamaged and doesn't need to be replaced.
- Reconnect the duct to your dryer and plug it back into the outlet. If you have a gas unit, be sure to turn the gas valve back on before using the appliance.
- You'll want to test that the dryer runs properly and all the vent connections are secure before you resume drying laundry. To test the dryer, run an empty dryer on the fluff or air-dry setting for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Signs of a Clogged Dryer Vent
Remember, while it's important to deep clean, doing regular maintenance can significantly reduce lint buildup, and prevent clogged ducts and fire hazards, and reduce your energy bill. Keep an eye out for these common warning signs of a clogged duct. Be sure to stop the use of the dryer immediately and call a professional if you notice any of the following:
- Laundry taking longer to dry
- Clothes feel extra hot to the touch
- You notice a burning smell
- You find excessive lint on clothing or inside dryer
- The exterior vent appears dirty or clogged
The Best Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit To Purchase
This two-piece dryer vent cleaning kit from Holikme gives you the best of both worlds with a flexible vacuum attachment and a handy lint brush. The vacuum hose attachment fits onto most vacuum cleaners and works great for cleaning behind large appliances and pieces of furniture. Keep the extra-long brush right in the laundry room so you can quickly clean around your lint trap filter between loads.
Vanitek's Flexible Dryer Vent Cleaner Brush is one of the best dryer cleaning tools for regular maintenance. Its sturdy nylon bristles easily slide through tight spaces to remove dust and dirt, while a rubber tip prevents scratches. But the slim 26-inch long flexible brush does more than just clean your dryer vent; it removes lint behind your refrigerator, freezer, and other large appliances too.
This convenient Dryer Vent Brush from Holikme can efficiently remove the lint from your dryer vent, ducts, and exhaust. Thanks to a flexible 18-piece nylon rod, the durable synthetic brush head can extend up to 30 feet into your ductwork to help improve dryer performance and reduce your risk of house fires. It can be used with or without a power drill to help you achieve professional-level results at a fraction of the cost and hassle.