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a very dirty dryer vent

How to Clean a Dryer Vent

A dirty dryer vent will not only waste energy and cause your clothes to take longer to dry, but it can also be a fire hazard! Cleaning the removable lint filter before each load is a great way to keep your clothes dryer running great, but it isn’t enough—you also need to clean the entire vent at least once per year, and more often if you do a lot of laundry. Learn how to clean a dryer vent from the experts at Mr. Appliance®.

Best Way to Clean Dryer Vent

Before performing maintenance on any appliance, make sure you unplug the unit or turn the power off at the breaker. If you have a gas dryer, locate the gas line and turn the gas off at the source, and make sure the line is long enough before you move your dryer. If you're not sure about the gas line or you're uncomfortable, call a Mr. Appliance professional at (888) 998-2011 before making any moves.

Here’s how to clean a dryer vent in three key areas:

  1. Clean the Lint Trap Filter. The screen should be cleaned before every load of clothes you dry. The rest of the area needs occasional attention too. First, with the filter removed, vacuum the trap vent to remove as much dirt and lint as you can. Then, using a flexible lint brush, clean out the rest of the trap area.
  2. Clean the Dryer Duct. You'll find this extending from the back of the dryer to a nearby wall where it vents outside. Most ducts are attached to the dryer and the wall exhaust with a clamp that’s easily removable with a screwdriver. Start by removing the duct from the back of the dryer, and vacuum lint and debris from both the dryer and the duct. Then, using a duct brush, give both areas a thorough cleaning. Lastly, remove the duct where it connects to the wall and repeat before reattaching the ducts.
  3. Move Outdoors. You'll find this vent on the outside of your home, and it should be covered with a duct flap that opens to let warm air out but otherwise remains closed. Clean the flap itself, and if it is removable, take it off and use a duct brush to clean this end of the duct line.

Or Try This Shortcut

Wondering how to clean a dryer vent in an easier way? If you have an electric leaf blower, you can clean your dryer vent quickly. (Note: Do not operate a gas-powered leaf blower indoors!) First, disconnect the duct from both the dryer and the inside wall, and clean all areas as described above. Then remove the vent cover from the outdoor exhaust location. From the inside, attach your leaf blower to where the duct enters the wall. Most leaf blowers are much smaller than this vent opening. You can use a special adapter to create a seal around the leaf blower, or just roll it up in some duct tape, as you'll only need to keep it connected for a few minutes.

Make sure the coast is clear outside, and fire up the leaf blower. Let it run for about 30 to 60 seconds; then shut it off and head outside to see the results.

A Clean Duct Is a Happy Duct

No matter how you clean the dryer vent, the last step should always be to run the dryer and test airflow after reconnecting all the pieces. In some cases, trying to clean the ducts can cause buildup that you cannot see, so always end the project by checking the outdoor exhaust when the dryer is running.

How Often to Clean a Dryer Vent 

We strongly recommend having a professional appliance repair technician come to your home one to two times per year to conduct a thorough dryer vent cleaning and air flow test using specialized equipment. It will save you time and give you peace of mind. Mr. Appliance’s experienced local experts offer dryer vent cleaning service and much more. Just give us a call at (888) 998-2011 or schedule service online.

How are the other ducts throughout your home? Ductwork can harbor built-up dust, pest waste and mold if not cleaned on a regular schedule. The professionals at Aire Serv can handle this chore for you. Just like Mr. Appliance, Aire Serv is part of the Neighborly network of trusted home service brands.