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There are some cleaning jobs which are more easily forgotten about than others. Unlike a blocked drain or a view-obscuring layer of dust on a TV screen, a build-up of lint inside a dryer vent rarely screams “clean me.” However, you may feel differently after discovering that lint-filled ducts can affect your dryer’s performance and more importantly, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, are the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. This is why it’s important to know how to clean your dryer vent.
To help you out, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide and highlighted some of the key tools you’ll need for the job.
How Often Should You Clean a Dryer Vent?
Having established that you should be cleaning your dryer vent, the next logical question is how often you should be doing it. Most sources agree that once a year is sufficient. But if your dryer regularly produces larger amounts of lint, there’s nothing wrong with increasing this frequency if you feel it’s beneficial.
While a dryer vent should be cleaned once a year, it’s worth noting that the lint trap, which is used to collect lint before it is able to travel to the dryer vent, should be cleaned out before every drying cycle. The extent of this process will likely depend on the amount of lint collected. Sometimes emptying it into the trash will surface, while other times you may need to vacuum it or in the most extreme cases, use a brush and soapy water to clean it fully.
How To Clean Your Dryer Vent – A Step-by-Step Guide
Cleaning a dryer vent is actually a much simpler and less time-consuming task than many people imagine. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dryer vent as well as a list of the key cleaning products needed to get the job done. It’s likely you already have most of them in your home already. The necessary tools for cleaning your dryer vent are:
- Vacuum Cleaner (canister/long-hosed devices are preferable)
- Dustpan and Brush/Broom
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Electric Drill (optional)
- Duct Tape (optional)
Once you have everything ready, here’s how to clean your dryer vent:
1. Pull the Dryer Away From the Wall and Unplug It
Pull your clothes dryer forward far enough so you have a comfortable amount of space to work in. Unplug the dryer’s power cable and shut off the gas supply valve (if applicable).
2. Disconnect the Dryer Duct
Disconnect the duct from the back of the dryer and the wall (if applicable). Depending on how the duct is held in place, you may need the screwdriver to undo one or more vent clamps.
3. Vacuum Out the Vent and Hose
Once the duct has been disconnected, collect and dispose of any large lint build-ups in the duct, the wall or back of the dryer using your hands or a dustpan and brush. Now use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum out the same areas, including inside the duct. This is where a vacuum with a hose attachment and precision nozzle is particularly useful.
4. Clean the Vent Using a Flexible Brush
After establishing if your vent is angled, begin feeding a flexible brush into the vent from the highest end if possible. This way, gravity assists the cleaning process. As you progress the brush, constantly rotate it and move it back and forwards to ensure each part of the vent is brushed over. Many vent brushes feature a multi-rod design to let you extend the brush to your required length. Others also come with an adapter to let you attach the brush to a power drill to save having to do the manual yourself. Once complete, clean the area using the dustpan and brush and vacuum cleaner to ensure everywhere is free of lint.
5. Reconnect the Dryer Duct and Power
Reattach any vent clamps, plug in the power cable (and gas if necessary) and push the dryer back into its original location. During this process, it’s also a good idea to inspect the duct and power cable to ensure they are in functioning order.
Repeat this process at least once a year to help maximize your dryer’s efficiency and lower the chance of a dryer-related fire. Below you’ll find helpful products for making the cleaning process as seamless as possible.
Sealegend Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit
BEST IN-DRYER KIT
Cleaning the inside of your dryer is another important part of the overall vent-cleaning process. This Sealegend Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit includes a flexible lint brush and a vacuum hose attachment which allows you to easily remove any built-up lint from inside your machine. The 1.3-inch diameter hose attachment is compatible with almost any vacuum cleaner. Furthermore, both parts are versatile additions to any cleaning arsenal which can also be used for other round-the-house jobs.
Holikme Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit
BEST BASIC KIT
With its impressive flexibility and 35 feet of length to work through, there aren’t many vents this Holikme Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit can’t cover. And while it’s perfectly easy to use your hands to twist, push and pull the brush, the included drill bit adapter takes the hassle out of the equation by allowing you to connect a power drill instead. This comprehensive kit is also backed by over 3,500 five-star ratings and breaks down into several pieces, allowing users to tailor the pole length to any specific needs.
BLACK+DECKER PowerConnect Cordless Drill
BEST POWER DRILL
As mentioned above, rather than performing the manual work of having to twist, push and pull the vent-cleaning brush, a power drill, like this BLACK+DECKER PowerConnect Cordless Drill, does the hard work for you. In addition to coming with a 30-piece kit full of drills and drill bit heads, this popular piece of kit includes a 24-position clutch, maxes out at 750 rpm and comes with one BLACK+DECKER B20 MAX lithium-ion battery. Not only is this battery rechargeable, but it’s also versatile, as it can be used in a number of BLACK+DECKER’s compatible power tools, such as a leaf blower, a weed whacker or a vacuum cleaner.
Miele Blizzard CX1 Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner
It’s a good idea to try and keep things clean during each step of the cleaning process. A canister vacuum, like this Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Vacuum, offers strong suction and an impressive amount of flexibility to achieve this goal. Additionally, the suction dial and combination floorhead, which is made up of a dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery tool, ensure you enjoy precision vacuuming at the suction strength of your choosing.
CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set
BEST SCREWDRIVER SET
The eight-piece CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set includes both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers. The impressively reviewed set has received positive ratings from over 95% of Amazon users, thanks to its quality construction and user-friendly design. Each screwdriver features a black oxide tip to deliver improved durability alongside a speed zone and grip texture which allows for quicker rotation and greater in-hand control.
TreeLen Broom and Dustpan
A dustpan and brush make it easier to quickly clean the mess created by the vent brushing process. Try this TreeLen Broom and Dustpan to enjoy an even more comfortable experience as both pieces included in the kit measure close to 40 inches in length, meaning there’s no need to bend down or strain your back. Plus, the broom is supplied with an extension pole which allows you to use it in a more traditional fashion if you want. This impressively reviewed duo comes backed by over 13,000 five-star ratings from happy Amazon users.