Heavy dryer lint buildup poses a fire hazard when dry summers bring static electricity. While you may be tempted to hire a professional technician to clean your dryer, virtually any homeowner can accomplish the task on their own, saving money in the process. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to clean lint from your dryer.

Cleaning the Lint Trap

You are probably used to cleaning the screen in your lint trap after every load of laundry, but many homeowners do not clean the lint trap compartment as often. Over time, the compartment will begin to fill up with small amounts of lint that fall off of the screen.

To do dryer vent cleaning in the lint compartment, first remove and clean the screen. With the screen removed, you can use a thin vacuum attachment to vacuum the lint out of the compartment. Shine a flashlight into the compartment as you clean to be sure you have removed as much lint as possible. If you do not have a vacuum attachment that will fit, you may also use a wire brush to clean the lint trap manually.

Cleaning the Exhaust Hose

Cleaning the exhaust will require a bit more effort than cleaning the lint trap,, but the task is not difficult. Start by unplugging the dryer and pulling it away from the wall until you have enough room to access the hose.

You will see that the hose is attached to the dryer and the wall port with either a spring tension clamp or a worm gear clamp. Spring tension clamps have two metal tabs that you simply squeeze together to remove the clamp, while worm gear clamps require you to loosen a screw to remove the clamp.

After you have removed the clamps, carefully slide the hose off of the dryer port and the wall port. Before you take the time to clean the hose, inspect it for any tears, as it will need to be replaced if it is torn. If the hose is in good shape, you can use a vacuum hose attachment to clean the lint off of the inside walls of the dryer hose. You should also vacuum any lint out of the exhaust ports on the back of your dryer and in the wall.

Cleaning the Dryer Cabinet

In most dryers, there are small around the edges of the drum that lint can escape through, becoming trapped between the drum and the inside of the dryer cabinet. A clogged exhaust hose will force even more lint through these gaps and create a serious risk of fire over time.

Either the top or front panel of your dryer will be removable, depending on the model you have. In most dryers, there will be two screws holding the removable panel in place that can be found by opening the door and looking around the edges of the opening. Remove these screws, and slide the panel forward or backward until it detaches from the other panels.

With one panel removed, you will be able to see the outside of the drum and the inside of the dryer cabinet. It is likely that much of the lint inside the cabinet will have fallen to the bottom under the drum. Use a long wire brush and vacuum hose to thoroughly clean under the drum and the inside walls of the cabinet, including the panel you removed.  

By taking these steps to clean your dryer, you will greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home, and you will also lower your energy bill by helping your dryer run more efficiently. However, it is important to remember that even if your dryer is clean, you may still have a problem with lint buildup in the exterior dryer exhaust vent and duct. Consider a professional dryer vent cleaning for a completely lint-free dryer system.