How to Clean a Dryer Lint Trap & Vent

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Believe it or not, something as simple as a dirty dryer lint trap can cause major problems with the performance of your dryer. The best way to prevent these problems is knowing how to clean dryer lint trap properly.

A clogged lint trap can decrease dryer performance by restricting airflow. In turn, you may experience these common dryer repair problems:

  • Dryer takes more than one cycle
  • Clothes are damp after drying cycle
  • Dryer smells like burning
  • Dryer overheating

What Restricts Airflow in a Dryer?

Airflow in the dryer can be restricted in a few different ways.

  • Clogged dryer vents (the hose that goes out of your dryer)
  • Wax build-up and dirty dryer lint trap
  • Built-up dryer lint and debris in the dryer itself

The first sign that you have restricted airflow will be poor dryer performance including longer dry times and no heat. You’ll obviously notice if your dryer isn’t heating (and therefore not drying your clothing), but if the restricted airflow is simply causing poor performance, you may not be as aware of the problem.

If your dryer takes more than 1 cycle to dry, it’s a good idea to check for restricted airflow and to know how to clean dryer lint traps. If left without care for too long, your dryer’s functional parts will begin to wear down faster, causing an unnecessary breakdown. Or, worst-case scenario, dryer vent lint build-up may result in a dryer fire.

How to Clean Dryer Lint Trap to Improve Performance

If your dryer seems to have restricted airflow, the first thing to do is learn how to clean lint from dryer lint traps thoroughly.

Step #1: Remove Lint from Screen

This should be done after every load of laundry. Simply peel the lint of the screen and toss it in the garbage can. Make sure you get all the lint that might cling to the frame of the screen too. It can help to dampen your fingers just a tad.

Step #2: Inspect Dryer Lint Trap for Wax Build Up

There are two ways to tell if your dryer lint trap has wax build-up on it. Hold the screen up to a light. Any opaque areas are filled with wax. Likewise, you can hold the screen under running water. If the water pools, you need to clean your dryer lint trap with soap and water to remove the residue.

clean dryer lint trap
Photo from Christopher Hilliker, via YouTube.

Step #3: Scrub the Dryer Lint Trap

Your favorite dishwashing liquid can serve as a great lint trap cleaner. Squirt a few pumps of dishwashing detergent and water on the screen. Use a soft to medium bristle cleaning brush to scrub the screen. Rinse the trap thoroughly. If water still pools on the screen, you may need to use a heavier cleaning agent, like Clorox Clean-Up spray.

In this video, Tiger Tom demonstrates how to clean dryer lint traps in about 5 minutes.

how to clean a dryer lint trap

How to Clean a Dryer Vent Hose

Now that you know how to clean a dryer lint trap to increase efficiency, we’ll show you how to clean lint from dryer vents. Over time, dryer lint can accumulate in the hose, and you’ll end up with a clogged dryer vent.

This can also lead to your dryer overheating and potentially causing a fire hazard. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to clean dryer vent and the hose by following these steps:

Step #1: Disconnect the Dryer

With some assistance, carefully move your dryer away from the wall and unplug it. Disconnect the dryer hose from the wall.

Step #2: Remove Lint From the Hose

Use a vacuum with a long attachment to remove lint from inside the dryer hose. If there is any lint stuck to the walls of the hose, use an appliance brush to gently collect any remaining lint.

Pro Tip: Vacuum any excess lint behind your dryer while you have it pulled away from the wall.

Step #3: Reconnect the Dryer

Connect and clamp the dryer vent back to the wall exhaust opening and plug the unit back in. With help, slide your dryer back into place.

Now that you know how to clean dryer vents and traps, your dryer should work more efficiently and will reduce the risk of fire hazards in your home. However, if you find your dryer still isn’t working as it should, call Tiger Mechanical for dryer repair in Gilbert today!

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