How To Clean Out Your Dryer Vent Duct Safely

how to clean dryer vent

Ever wanted to know how to clean a dryer vent? The good news is that it’s a lot easier than you might think! If you’re like most people, then you probably don’t know just how dangerous a clogged dryer vent can be.

When the vent gets clogged with lint, it prevents the dryer from operating at peak efficiency, which means you’re throwing money out the window. However, the risk of a fire is one of the biggest worries.

If the vent becomes too clogged with lint, it can lead to a huge fire and total loss of your home. You would be amazed to learn just how many fires are started annually because of a clogged vent.

Why a Clogged Dryer Vent Is So Dangerous

You probably rely on your dryer to dry your clothes almost daily. This is especially true if you live with a large family. When the dryer isn’t cleaned properly, it becomes a serious fire hazard.

Every year, 15,600 building fires are the result of unmaintained dryers. About 80 percent of these fires are the direct result of a clogged vent.

About 15 people die from these fires every year, and another 400 are injured. Yes, cleaning the lint trap is incredibly important, but most fires are caused by the buildup of lint inside of the vent.

The best type of vent to use is semi-rigid metal transition duct. The problem with vinyl and plastic ducts is that they can catch fire. If your dryer vent isn’t able to get rid of exhaust properly, it can lead to a fire.

How to Clean Dryer Vent

First, you’ll want to unplug the dryer form the wall. If your dryer runs on gas, make sure to shut the gas off. Next, pull your dryer away from the wall. It should only be pulled about one to two feet away from the wall.

Use a nut driver or screwdriver to loosen the 4” clamp on the vent, which should be in the back of the machine. You’ll want to slide the vent off of the dryer.

Reach your hand into the hole found in the back of the dryer and pull out any lint that you can easily grab. You can even use a house vacuum hose to get the lint that is somewhat difficult to reach with your hand. Make sure you remove as much lint as possible.

Next, reach into the vent tubing that you removed and remove all of the lint inside. Always be sure to check the ends of the vent because the majority of lint accumulation will occur in the ends.

Once all of the lint has been removed, slide the clamp back over the dryer vent and reattach the vent to the dryer. Make sure that the clamp is tight and holding the vent firmly onto the back portion of the machine.

The next step consists of removing the lint from the vent on the outside of the house. It’s not uncommon for this part of the vent to have caulking around the cover.

You can use a razor knife to remove the caulking. This portion of the vent might have a one-foot long sleeve. Just slide it straight out of the compartment.

You can reach in and try to grab as much of the lint as you can with your hand, but you might want to consider using a vacuum hose to get all of it. You’ll want to use a flashlight or something to make sure you got all of the lint out of the vent.

Next, plug the dryer back in and run it on the ‘air fluff’ setting for about 5 minutes. This will send any loosened debris out of the vent. Next, reattach the outside vent, and you should be finished.

Tips To Make Cleaning Easier

There are several devices that can be used to clean your entire tube. In some cases, this might consist of a flexible pole with a brush.

These devices usually work best for long ducts, which can span 12 feet or more. A dryer always vents directly to the outside of a home.

However, in some cases, it might be found on the roof of the home, instead of sticking out of the side of the home.

You should make sure to clean your lint filter after every time you run the dryer. It will prevent lint from building up inside of the vents and make your dryer run much more efficiently.

Roof dryer vents are actually quite popular in the south, so if you live in this area, there is a good chance your dryer vent is on the roof of your home.

If you live in an apartment, small or older home, you might not have access to the exterior dryer vent. Best practices say the vent should be cleaned at least once every one to two years.

When cleaning, always make sure to reach your hand in very slowly because there could be screws or other sharp surfaces, and you don’t want to get cut!