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Lint and Your Dryer

Most of us know that lint accumulating in a clothes dryer causes it to work less efficiently and remember to remove the stuff from the lint screen after every use.

(Do you also remember to look inside the cavity behind the screen every so often and remove lint there as well?) From time to time, and at least once a year, however, it is also necessary to clean lint from the dryer’s vents.

Here’s a how-to:

1. Unplug the dryer from gas and electricity. If it is a gas dryer, turn off the gas.

2. Pull the dryer out to expose the vent, loosen the 4-inch vent clamp with a screwdriver and remove the vent tube from the dryer.

3. Reach in and pull any lint from the back of the dryer. Clean out the full length of the tube, using a house or shop vacuum. If the tube has a large lint buildup out of reach, use a plumbing snake, coat hanger or dowel, being careful not to catch these in the vent material.

4. Slide the clamp back onto the vent, reattach it to the dryer and tighten the clamp, then slide the dryer back into position.

5. You also need to examine and clean the outdoor vent. Remove the vent as described above; you may need a razor knife to cut away any caulking.

6. Reach in and clean out lint, using a vacuum cleaner tube to reach way inside.

7. Turn on the gas and plug the unit back in. Run the dryer on air fluff for 10 minutes. Some lint may fly out, so don’t stand in front of it. Reattach the outside vent.

Some extra tips:

* When cleaning the lint screen or vents, occasionally remove the bottom front panel and clean there too.

* If your dryer has a long or vertical vent, you will need two people, a long cord and a brush for cleaning. Person #1 drops the cord down the vent; Person #2 attaches a brush and #1 pulls it back up through the vent. Repeat as necessary.

* Once a year or so, remove the dryer’s front and back, loosen any lint, vacuum it up, then blow the area to loosen further and vacuum again.

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