how to clean a dryerLike any other major appliance, dryers require regular upkeep. Consistently cleaning your dryer helps dry clothes faster and come out fresh. While circumstances vary, dryers generally need to be cleaned every 6-12 months. Lint and dust not only hinder the machine’s performance, leading to damp clothes and longer drying cycles, but are also fire hazards. According to the US Fire Administration, lint and loose fibers cause more than 2,900 fires a year. Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional, but knowing how to clean a dryer yourself saves money in the long run and keeps your home in good working order.


Cleaning a dryer is simpler than you’d imagine. Many of the supplies you need are probably in your home already. The rest can be purchased at your neighborhood hardware store or through Amazon. You’ll need:

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Lint Roller
  • A Soft Rag or Microfiber Cloth
  • Nylon Brush or Toothbrush
  • Dryer Cleaning Kit

How to Clean a Lint Trap

No doubt you clean the lint trap every time you run your dryer. But while that may remove loose fibers, it doesn’t wipe away the soap residue left over from each wash. To clean the trap entirely:

  1. Run a lint roller over both sides of the screen.
  2. Soak the screen in warm, mildly soapy water.
  3. Softly scrub both sides of the screen with a brush.
  4. Rinse the screen.
  5. Dry thoroughly before placing the trap back in the dryer.

Make sure the screen is completely dry before replacing it, otherwise you risk damaging your dryer’s internal wiring. While you wait, take the opportunity to clean out the dryer crevice. Insert a long brush from the dryer kit and twist it counterclockwise as you pull out the lint. Repeat until all the lint has been removed, then vacuum it up. Alternatively, you can use the crevice attachment and vacuum the lint out directly, if it will fit.

How to Clean a Dryer Drum

For your safety, always unplug the dryer before cleaning the inside. If it’s a gas-powered unit, shut off the gas. Once that’s done, wipe down the inside of the drum with a rag to clear away any lint clinging to it. Vacuum up the loose threads, then:

  1. Dip the rag in warm, mildly soapy water.
  2. Scrub the interior of the drum.
  3. Spray stubborn stains with a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water.
  4. Dry the drum with a clean rag or towel.
  5. Leave the door open and wait until the drum is completely dry before plugging it back in again.

Never plug in the dryer until you’re sure it’s completely dry. Otherwise, you risk causing a short.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent

While the lint trap and dryer drum should be cleaned every six months, dryer vents generally only need to be cleaned once a year. Again, unplug the unit and disconnect the gas before you start. Then pull the dryer away from the wall, so you can access the vent in the back. Next:

  1. Unscrew the vent hose.
  2. Insert a long brush from the dryer kit. If you have a long vent, you may need to fix an additional attachment to reach the end.
  3. Insert the brush into the wall vent and twist counterclockwise as you pull out the lint. Repeat until the vent is clear.
  4. Insert the brush into the dryer vent and repeat.
  5. Vacuum up the lint.
  6. Head to the outside vent and repeat the process from the other end.
  7. Clear away any grass or shrubs growing close to the vent, to prevent them from blocking airflow.
  8. Reattach the vent hose.
  9. Push the dryer back into place.
  10. Plug in your dryer or reconnect the gas.

Keep in mind that if you run a lot of heavy loads, your dryer vent may need to be cleaned more than once a year.

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