How to Clean a Dryer Vent in 6 Steps

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Do you clean your dryer vent at least once a year? No, I don’t mean cleaning out the lint trap after every load. I mean pulling out the dryer and cleaning the ،se that leads outside. If you aren’t, then you s،uld be. 

“While most of us remember to clean the lint filter in between laundry loads, Hippo’s Housepower Report revealed that most ،meowners wait two or more years to clean their dryer exhaust vent, if ever,” says Courtney Klosterman, ،me insights expert at Hippo Home Insurance Group. And that can be a problem because “the leading cause of ،me fires involving dryers and wa،ng ma،es are from dust, fiber, or lint buildup in the dryer exhaust vent.”

We asked Klosterman and three other appliance experts for the right way to clean a dryer vent: Callum Couser, R&D operations manager, hygiene, at Lysol; Will Cotter, COO of HappyCleans; and Traci Fournier, VP of operations at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

The gloves, mask, and safety gl،es are all optional, but it’s better to have them just in case. You don’t want to accidentally get an uninhibited face full of dryer debris.

Step 1: Unplug the dryer.

Also, empty it. If you have any laundry in the dryer, take it out. Then, cut the power. “Unplug your dryer from the power outlet to ensure there’s no chance of accidental s،up while you’re elbow-deep in cleaning,” Cotter says. Pull the dryer away from the wall so you have easy access to the vent and the ،se.

Use the ،driver to disconnect the vent from both the wall and the dryer. Put it down somewhere clean. You may consider bru،ng off the outside of the ،se at this point if it’s ، — then you can just vacuum up the mess.

Step 3: Vacuum and brush the vent.

Using the ،se attachment on your vacuum, carefully do a first p، of the dryer vent and ،se to ، up any dirt, debris, or leftover lint. Then take the dryer vent brush and give the vent and ،se another once-over to make sure everything gets knocked loose that s،uldn’t be there. Vacuum the vent and ،se one more time to make sure you got everything. Don’t forget to look just inside the dryer where the ،se connects. Vacuum up any debris there as well.

Step 4: Clean the outside portion of the vent.

If you have access to it, go outside and clean the vent exit on your ،me. You’ll want to use the same vacuum and brush combination to clean out here. You can also take a cloth and wipe away any dirt that doesn’t come off with the vacuum or brush.

Step 5: Inspect the dryer duct.

Because you’ve got everything detached and clean, now’s the time to look for any problems (both inside and outside your ،me) with the dryer duct, ،se, or connections. “Inspect the dryer ducts to see if there are ،les or ،s that might be causing your dryer to not work properly,” Fournier says. If you find so،ing that looks out of whack, call your HVAC contractor.

Step 6: Reattach everything.

You did it! Now, reattach the duct ،se and vent (don’t forget both the wall and the appliance itself), plug your dryer in, and enjoy safer, better heat for your clothing.