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Your Dryer Needs Cleaning Beyond the Lint Trap


You probably peel the lint out of your clothes dryer’s lint trap after every load of laundry. But that’s not enough to keep the appliance from posing a fire hazard for your home.

Add a few more maintenance checks to your laundry day routine:

Notice how long it takes the dryer to dry your clothes. If they’re still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or if it’s starting to take longer to dry clothes, your lint screen or exhaust duct is probably blocked.

Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct at least once a year. The duct is the coil that sends the hot dryer air to the outdoors. The vent is the hole where the hot air leaves the house. Both can get clogged with lint and overheat, sending dirty, moist air back into your home, or even starting a fire. You might have to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer and from the vent to remove a blockage.

Sweep behind your dryer regularly. Lint can accumulate there and also underneath. Move the dryer and clean the back of it.

If your exhaust duct is plastic or foil, replace it with a rigid or corrugated, semi-rigid metal duct. Plastic and foil are too flexible and trap lint easily. They’re also easier to crush, which will prevent air from flowing through to the vent.

Deep clean your lint screen. Don’t just clean the lint screen after every load—wash it every three months with a bit of laundry detergent and rinse it thoroughly or pop it in the dishwasher to clear residue left by dryer sheets.

Clean out the lint trap. Remove the screen and use a dryer lint brush to clean inside the trap itself. Lint can build up there, too.

Avoid throwing gasoline-, oil- or chemical-soiled clothes and towels into the dryer. Instead, wash them several times and line-dry them. If you have to use the dryer for them, choose the lowest setting, and remove them the minute the cycle is finished. Even washed-and-dried clothes that have come into contact with volatile chemicals can ignite. Your safest bet: Consider the clothes ruined and safely dispose of them.

Posted: 5/16/2023 1:37:31 PM
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