Cleaning your dryer

Did you know that your dryer is one of the leading causes of house fires?  And that you can avoid that scary mess just by cleaning it.

How many times have you thrown a load of laundry in the dryer and then headed out to run errands, or to bed?

Yeah, that thought terrifies me.  So, I finally accomplished a task I’d been meaning to take on for months.  And except for squeezing back behind the dryer, it was actually really easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A phillips screwdriver
  • A hex socket screwdriver set (I bought a cheap-o set at HD for $5.  It allows me to use regular screw bits or the hex sockets.  The backside of the dryer is held on with hex screws)  Something like THIS.
  • A shop vac with a brush attachment
  • A dry rag
  • A broom, mop & water, or a wet rag.

Here’s what to do:

1. Turn off the power to the unit from your breaker box (Safety first!) OR, if you have a gas dryer, turn that off.

2. Take out the lint trap and set aside

3. Take out the two phillips screws by the lint trap hole.

4. Pull the dryer out from the wall so you can get behind it.

5. Unscrew the vent attachments from the wall and from the dryer.

5. Unscrew the back panel.  There is a small panel where your electric wires feed in.  Remove that small metal piece.  Then remove the screws near the electric wires and the three screws on either side of the back panel.

6. Pull back panel off and set aside.

7. Start unscrewing the black metal lint compartments (this piece connects the lint trap to the air output pipe).  There will be 5 or 6 screws holding this piece on.

8.  Carefully lift the piece up and pull it out.

9. Vacuum every piece of lint or dust you see.  Everywhere.  From the back panel, the vent piece, the wires, the fan, the black lint piece you just took out, etc.  If you can’t get it out with the shop vac, use the dry rag to reach it.  I found that my shop vac arm wouldn’t reach down into the black lint piece, so I reached down into it with a rag to clean it out.

As a side note, I found bobby pins, nails, buttons, plastic, pennies, and tons of other random objects that shouldn’t be in my dryer when I vacuumed it out.

10. If you have a long venting system (from the dryer to wherever it dispels outside), make sure to clean that.  Mine just goes through an exterior wall and directly outside, but if your venting is longer, be sure to buy a long-snake brush to clean it.

11. Once all the pieces are lint-free, put them back on.  Black lint piece first, then the back panel, the small electrical panel, and then the phillips screws near the lint trap.

12. Take this opportunity to sweep and mop behind the washer and dryer (you know you’re not going to do it otherwise).

13. Push the units back into place and go outside to find the place your dryer air dispels from the house.  Use the shop vac and long-snake brush to clean.  Make sure that all of the little flaps swing freely.

14. Use warm water, dish soap, and an old toothbrush to clean out the lint trap.  Make sure that water runs freely through it– sometimes dryer sheets can create an invisible film over the lint trap and cause overheating.  It’s a good practice to get the lint off each time you run your dryer, and wash the trap with water and soap periodically.

15. Turn the power back on and run the Air Fluff cycle– if we dislodged something, this will push it out.

Now you can run your dyer without worrying it might burn your house down!  Just knowing that it’s clean is a reassurance for me– plus, I took this opportunity to wipe down the exterior surfaces so it looks all shiny and new.

How about you?  Any Spring Cleaning projects you’re ready to tackle?

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2 responses

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