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Dryer Vent Cleaning Tips

Buzzle Staff Jun 9, 2019
Cleaning a dryer vent not only improves safety but ensures efficiency of your equipment. Here are some tips that you can use to ensure the optimum usage of your clothes dryer.
The drying time increases and the machine might overheat when the vents are filled with lint and other fragments. Energy consumption increases since the dryer would have to run longer. This can also cause fires in the duct or the dryer itself.


A vent that has not been cleaned in the past year or two, needs proper cleansing. When your dryer is running longer than the usual, you may need to clean it. If the vents are short and straight, they can be cleaned easily by the owner. You may need special tools and equipment in other cases. Most repair companies do the job with special tools.


By cleaning the vents, you are protecting your homes from smokes, pollutants, and fires. The cost of operation energy would significantly reduce, and the equipment would last longer. Lastly, the clothes would dry faster.


1. If the vent has many bends or they are too long do not use a duct booster as it would result in lint build-up. The shorter and straighter the duct is, the better.
2. Using flammable, foil duct extenders, and flimsy plastic is wrong. Metal vents are the ones that should be used, and most manufacturers specify this. As they resist crushing, it allows lint and air to be carried out of the system. Build-up caused by reduced airflow may be the source of overheating and it wears out the appliance faster.
3. Clearance space is inadequate between the wall and the dryer. Most owners tend to put the dryer right against the wall, thus, crushing the venting material. Reduced airflow and the build-up of lint result in the cumulative effect and reduce the efficiency of the dryer.
Because of this, the safety switch for high temperature limit cycle would go on and off to control the heater. Other high temperature limit safety switches were not designed to go on and off continuously, so they fail over a period of time.

Things You Will Need

1. Screwdriver

2. Nut Driver

3. Trash basket or bag

4. Plumbing Snake or dowel (optional)

How to Clean

1. Unplug the dryer (it may be gas or electric).
2. Turn off the gas (if the dryer is gas operated).
3. Pull the dryer out to the extension of the vent. (it is just about 1 ½ to 2 feet)
4. Loosen the 4" clamp, found on the back of the dryer, using a screwdriver or a nut. It should slide off easily.
5. Pull out any lint and build-up as you reach to the hole on the back of the dryer. Pull out the lint from where you reached on the back. The lint would build up mostly at the ends. In case you find a large lint build-up in the middle, a plumbing snake can be used to pull it out. If the path is straight, a coat hanger or dowel can extend your reach.
6. Slide the clamp back, you should reattach it, then tighten the clamp, and slide the dryer back.
7. The vent should be removed outside the house. It might be caulking around the cover and screws. You can use a razor knife to cut the caulk. The cover will slide out; the sleeve is about a foot long.
8. Reach and clean the lint out, reaching as far as your arm will go.
9. Inspect and check if you missed anything. Use a plumber snake or other tool if you cannot reach it.
10. Turn the unit's plug-in and the gas back on.
11. Fluff the dryer with air for 10 minutes.
12. Inspect the outside for any barrier then you should reattach to the outside vent.

Tips on cleaning

If the vent is too long and has several bends, you can add a rubber hose adapter that fits on an end of a leaf blower, and also buy some hose clamps. Fasten everything tightly then turn the leaf blower on; surprisingly, lint would come out even after you clean it.
You can also remove the bottom front panel and clean it, too. Devices are available for the entire tube. However, you will not need it except in worst case scenarios.