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If you find mold in your dryer vent, you should:

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Turn off and unplug your dryer immediately. Mold exposure can be hazardous to health, so ensuring there is no risk of contaminating laundry or spreading mold spores is the top priority.

Clean up any visible mold and debris.

Use a vacuum specifically designed for dryer vents, wire brush, de-limiter spray and scrub brush to thoroughly clean the entire length of the vent, removing as much mold and built-up lint/grime as possible. You may need to repeat cleaning and brushing to fully remove tough, loose mold.

Dry vent completely.

Use a hair dryer on a low setting to thoroughly dry any remaining moisture in the vent after cleaning. This prevents mold from regrowing quickly. Make sure no water is pooling anywhere in the vent system.

Treat mold with a disinfecting cleaner or bleach solution.

For porous surface mold like in dryer vents, an EPA-registered disinfectant or solution of no more than 1 cup bleach per gallon of water can be used to kill mold and prevent recurrence. Scrub treated areas and let dry completely.

Consider vent replacement for severe damage.

If the existing vent is heavily corroded, deteriorated or damaged from mold or moisture, it is best to replace it for safety and to properly vent the dryer exhaust. Have a professional assess and repair or replace vents as needed.

Improve moisture prevention.

After cleaning/treating mold and any necessary vent repairs, take steps to control excess moisture which led to mold growth in the first place. This could include:

•Ensuring proper condenser coil cleaning for high-efficiency dryers which produce more moisture-laden air.
•Venting the dryer to the outside instead of interior venting. Direct venting prevents excess heat/moisture buildup in walls and vents.
•Installing a vent damper or backdraft damper to prevent moist air from entering the vent when the dryer is not running.
•Running the exhaust fan or opening a window during and after drying to improve ventilation and reduce humidity levels.

  1. Monitor vent regularly for re-growth. Even after properly cleaning and fixing the underlying causes, there is a possibility of mold returning quickly. Monitor your dryer vent during each use to ensure no visible mold spots appear again. It’s a good idea to perform vent inspections at least monthly or if drying times start increasing again.

Remember, mold exposure from improperly maintained exhaust vents can lead to health issues, property damage and costly repairs down the road. Taking the necessary steps to thoroughly remove mold, prevent recurrence and fix any issues that led to mold in the first place will help ensure safe, efficient and effective dryer operation for years to come. 

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