You’ve heard that you need to clean the dryer lint trap after every load, but is it true? Let’s discuss the reasons to clean the lint filter, how often you should perform this task, and more useful tips.
Why Do You Clean a Dryer Lint Filter?
When clothing tumbles around in the dryer, the agitation and high heat cause clothing, towels, and linens to shed some of their fibers. The lint screen catches many of these fibers to prevent obstructing the dryer vent hose. It’s important to clean this screen for several reasons:
- Keep your energy bills down: If the screen is clogged with a thick layer of lint, the dryer must work harder to perform its task, pushing your energy bills up. Cleaning the dryer lint screen allows more air to flow out the exhaust vent for efficient operation.
- Help your dryer last longer: Any time you can take pressure off the machine, you decrease overall wear and tear. This reduces the need for emergency repairs and helps the appliance last longer.
- Dry your clothes faster: Proper airflow is necessary to dry your clothes in a single cycle. If you continually have to add time to each batch, check the filter. It might be clogged with lint.
- Reduce the risk of fire: Dryers generate high temperatures, and lint is highly flammable. Remove this fire starter from your laundry room to help keep your home and family safe from dryer fires.
How Often Do You Clean a Lint Filter?
The recommendations you’ve heard are correct – you should clean the lint filter between every batch of clothes. Get into the habit of removing lint from the screen, either before or after every batch. Many new dryers will automatically remind you to check the lint filter before starting up.
If you’re a camping enthusiast, you can keep the dryer lint and turn it into a fire starter. This reduces waste and prevents the need to purchase this basic outdoor survival tool.
One Important Thing to Remember
Cleaning your dryer's lint trap only removes about 25 percent of the lint that can build up throughout the dryer vent system in your home. Mr. Appliance recommends having your dryer vent system cleaned professionally twice per year. Not doing so increases your home's fire risk. See our video below for more information on the topic.
How to Find Your Dryer Lint Trap
Not all dryers are built the same. Some have easily accessible lint traps while others are hidden from view. Here are some possible places to check for the lint screen on your new dryer:
- Just inside the door: Open the dryer door and peer just inside. If the lint trap is located here, you might see a small raised handle, which you can pull up on to remove the lint trap from the slot. You might also see a screen in the shape of a shallow channel, which you simply can scoop lint out of with your finger.
- On the dryer’s back wall: Open the dryer door and look at the back wall for an oblong cutout with holes in it. Insert a finger and thumb into the holes and pull the lint trap from the wall. You’ll need to squeeze the sides to open it so you can clean out the lint.
- On the top right corner of the dryer: Check the top of the dryer near where the controls are located. You may see a handle you can pull on to remove the lint screen from its channel.
How to Clean Dryer Sheet Residue from a Lint Screen
If dryer sheets and fabric softener have gunked up your lint screen, soak it in hot water and dishwashing soap designed to remove grease and oil. Gently scrub the screen with a soft brush, rinse it, and let it air dry before reinserting it into the slot.