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How to Clean Dryer Vent Systems

If you’re on a cleaning tear in the laundry room , you might as well tackle the clothes dryer vent. Knowing how to clean a dryer vent not just a matter of cleanliness, but of safety: Dirty dryer vents are the leading cause of domestic dryer fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Dryers should  cleaned at least once a year, and it simply DIY task you can tackle when you have a couple of free hours to spend on home improvement. The result? Completely dry clothes, cleaner lint screens, and a whole lot more laundry satisfaction to speak of.

WHAT IS A DRYER VENT?

When you dry a load of laundry, your wet clothes produce moist, warm air. It’s the job of your dryer vent to direct all that air outside of your home. The system itself is simple. But failing to keep your home’s vent clean and clear of obstructions can have major consequences.

595 Dryer Vent Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENT?

According to the NFPA, you should clean your dryer vent at least once a year. But depending on your unique circumstances, it may need to be done as frequently as every few months.

Knowing how often to clean dryer vent systems depends on a number of factors: How many people live in your house; where your vent is located; how often you use your dryer; and whether or not you have pets. At a basic level, more hair and laundry means more lint to clean.

Here are some other factors that can cause lint to build up quickly:

How to clean your washing machine so it runs like new:

  • Pull the Dryer Out From the Wall, Unplug It, and Disconnect the Duct

Pull the dryer out from the wall. Unplug it, and if it’s a gas dryer, turn off the gas valve as well. Disconnect the dryer duct, which is located in the back

  • Turn On the Drill and Let the Brush Work Its Magic

Once attached, turn the drill on to spin clockwise on medium power. Push and pull back and forth slowly, eventually pulling the brush all the way out. As you go, debris, lint, and dirt will start spilling out of the dryer duct in front of you, and you’ll start to notice the lint buildup disappear right before your eyes. It’s important to keep the drill running clockwise; if you start spinning it counterclockwise, you run the risk of the attachments disassembling and getting stuck inside the dryer duct.

  • Inspect the Exterior Vent

Your exterior vent could be located low to the ground or high near the roof on the exterior wall. If it’s near a roof on a building with multiple stories, it’s not going to be easy to access, so you can’t do any cleaning there. If, however, your exterior vent is near the ground, you can repeat the process of snaking the flexible rods through and drill brushing, only this time from the outside in.

  •  Put the Dryer Back Together

Now that the cleaning is finished, it’s time to plug the dryer back in and reconnect the duct back into the dryer vent. Head to the gas line and turn the gas valve back on, if applicable.