Knowing how to clean your clothes dryer will help you in more than one way. Lint-clogged dryers take longer to dry clothes, so you wind up paying for more electricity.
More extended tumbling in the dryer is hard on your clothes, too, leading to pills on knits, fading, and fraying.
But that’s not the most important reason to clean your clothes dryer.
How To Clean Your Clothes Dryer
Dirty Dryers Start Fires
There’s a safety issue. Every year, dirty clothes dryers cause more than 15,000 house fires in the U.S.
Think cleaning your lint trap after every use is enough to keep your dryer clean and safe? Think again! Lint builds up in the exhaust hose as well as inside the dryer itself.
So, while it’s a task that takes around an hour to do correctly, it’s an important one to do once a year to keep your family safe.
How to Clean Your Clothes Dryer
Unplug the machine and clean the exterior. Dryers build up a lot of dust and lint on the outside. To start a proper deep-cleaning of your dryer, unplug it and pull it out from the wall. Clean the exterior with a microfiber cloth and homemade all-purpose cleaning spray. Be sure to clean knobs and buttons, too: grime tends to build up there and collect dust.
Clean the immediately accessible interior parts. Pull out the lint trap and wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water. While that air dries, clean the inside of the dryer’s drum. Look for and remove any threads, pieces of tape or other items stuck in the fins of older-modeled dryers.
Remove messes from the drum walls. Rub sticky messes with warmed olive oil then gently scrape them up with the edge of a spatula. Get rid of scuffs with a Magic Eraser or by gently rubbing with a paste of baking soda and water. Once you’ve removed messes, spray the inside of the drum with all-purpose cleaner and wipe it clean.
Deep-clean the inside of the machine. This takes more effort, but it’s part of preventing lint fires and helps your unit last longer. If you’ve never opened yours before, you’ll be shocked by how much lint finds its way inside. When I first cleaned my 6-year-old dryer, I pulled out two buckets of it!
Clean the hose. Remove the vent tubing from the back of the dryer and pull out any lint you can find. If there’s buildup on the walls of the tube, you can vacuum it, but it’s often smarter to replace the whole thing. That’s especially true if your dryer vent hose is one of the crinkly, foil types — they’re particularly prone to lint buildup and are highly flammable themselves!
Clean the inside and outside vents. With the hose still off, reach inside the vent and remove any large chunks of lint you find, then use your vacuum with a dust attachment to remove the rest. Next, go outside and inspect the vent cover. Clean away any cobwebs or other debris. Trim back any hedges that could keep it from adequately venting, too. Once the vent is clean, go back inside to reconnect the dryer hose, plug it back in, and push it back into place.
Tips to Keep Your Dryer Clean
• To keep the dryer running well between deep cleanings, empty the lint trap after every load.
• Once a month, wash the lint filter with warm, soapy water and let it fully air dry to get rid of greasy residue that can clog it, then wipe the drum and exterior with all-purpose spray to keep them clean.