How to maintain your dryer

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Jeanne Huber

THE WASHINGTON POST – Lint is the big deal. Most people know to clean the lint filter after every load, but is it really necessary to use a lint brush or water, as some advice online suggests?

In truth, wiping the lint by hand works best. Start at one edge of the screen and roll the plush into a bundle as you clean up to the other edge. Avoid introducing water. As a Maytag manual notes, “Wet lint is difficult to remove.”

However, over time residue – especially fabric softener – can build up and clog the lint filter openings, so it makes sense to occasionally do a more thorough cleaning with water. After wiping up most of the lint, as you usually would, take the screen to a sink. Run hot water over the mesh, then gently scrub both sides with an old toothbrush or nylon bristle brush. Rinse the screen thoroughly, then dry it with a clean towel. When you reinsert it, make sure it is firmly in place.

Manufacturers make lint screens easy to clean, but that’s not true for other places where lint collects as well, including the recess under the lint screen, the duct that exhausts hot air from the clothes dryer, the hood outside a house, and the inside of the clothes dryer cabinet.

Of these, the recess under the filter is the easiest to clean. While the filter is out, look down and you will likely see lint and bits of debris that have fallen out of the lint filter. A long-handled brush can get most of it out, but a vacuum cleaner works even better. Typical vacuum crevice tools aren’t long or thin enough, so fit a narrower, more flexible attachment. A length of vinyl tubing about half an inch wide and 18 to 24 inches long from a hardware store can work if you use a rag to plug the air gap where one end of the tubing goes. insert a little into the baguette. Or get a tool designed specifically for this, like the Sealegend Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit, which includes an optional guide wire to help direct the tube. The attachment adapter fits suction wands up to 62 millimeters in diameter.

Also make a habit of regularly checking and cleaning the vent hood, where the air from the dryer exits your home. From the outside, wipe away any lint that might prevent the hood flaps from opening and closing freely. If the opening is screened to keep critters out, take extra care to clean the screen frequently to prevent lint from building up and starting a fire.

Twice a year to once every two years (depending on how much laundry you do), clean the piping that connects the dryer to the vent hood. A sign that it’s time to clean up: the dryer stops drying clothes as well as before. Depending on your setup, duct cleaning can be relatively simple, tedious, or nearly impossible with homeowner’s tools.

If the dryer is close to the exterior wall where the air exits and you have room to maneuver the machine in and out or to access the back of the dryer from one side, you can probably do it yourself with no tools other than a screwdriver. or a wrench, dryer duct brush, and shop vac. Unplug the dryer and, if it’s a gas model, turn off the gas and unplug it. Loosen the clamps (ring or screw clamps) or remove the tape holding the duct between the machine and the wall. Then run your hand through the opening at the base of the dryer with the brush, loosen the lint and vacuum it up.

Also inspect and clean the ductwork that connects the machine to the wall. Replace twisted or punctured flexible ducting or any plastic or thin foil ducting. Use semi-rigid or rigid metal ducts, which are smoother on the inside and less likely to catch lint. Then reinstall the zip ties and wrap the connections with aluminum foil tape, which holds up better over time than regular duct tape. Do not screw the connections together or the screw points will penetrate inside and trap the lint.

If you have a long duct, you won’t be able to reach far enough to clean effectively with a brush and shop vac. Smart House Inc’s dryer duct cleaning kit can clean ducts up to 20 feet long, but some customers have had broken sections deep in the ducts. And even if you have a short run, be aware that reinstalling the hose clamps can be trickier than it looks, especially if the dryer duct and vent don’t line up at a precise right angle. .

Consider hiring a professional to clean the ducts, especially if you have a long run. These days, that probably means hiring a company that specializes in cleaning heating and air conditioning ducts, since companies that repair appliances may no longer offer this service. A few companies on both coasts have estimated the cost of cleaning a dryer vent at $130 to $160.

The remaining area to clean is the inside of the dryer cabinet. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and several manufacturers recommend having a professional remove the top or front panel, depending on how the dryer is built, to gain access to the innards of the machine and vacuum out any lint that has gone past the dryer drum. the dryer.

If you want to do it yourself, YouTube videos are available for some models, and Family Handyman also has a helpful guide online. But first be sure to unplug the dryer and turn off the gas.


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