Clothes dryer maintenance tips
These simple tasks can help extend the life of your dryer. Find out how to clean the inside of a dryer, how to clean your dryer vent and more.
Ignoring regular dryer maintenance can impact the machine's efficiency and may lead to costly repairs, or worse, a fire hazard. If you spot any of these signs, your clothes dryer might need some extra attention:
- Dryer runs for much longer than it needs to.
- Clothes are still wet or damp after one cycle.
- Dryer moves or shakes as it operates.
Follow these easy steps for dryer maintenance.
Clear the lint out of the screen before every load
See that the lint screen is clear before starting each load. To do this, carefully remove the lint screen from your dryer, wipe away any lint that’s been collected and carefully place the screen back into the dryer. Doing this helps keep the hot air flowing freely through the vent and reduces the risk of your dryer overheating.
Keep the area around the lint screen clear of debris
Also check that the area around the lint screen is kept clean and free of debris. To do this, simply remove the lint screen from it’s housing cavity and clear out the lint and debris using a dryer lint brush or vacuum cleaner.
Don't overload the dryer
Try not to put too many things into the dryer at once. The more items you put in the dryer, the longer they’ll take to dry, and the more wear and tear you’ll put on the dryer. It’s better to separate larger loads into smaller manageable sizes.
How to clean the inside of the dryer
Clean the inside of your dryer regularly. Even if you don’t see any stains inside the dryer, try to wipe it clean once a month to help prevent residue from building up. To do this, unplug the appliance, then wipe out the inside of the drum using a soft washcloth and soapy water or a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol.
Balance and level your dryer
Rotating components tend to wear out faster when the dryer isn’t leveled. If your dryer moves or shakes when it’s in use, it may be off balance. You can balance the dryer by adjusting the feet at the bottom of the unit – turn clockwise to lower it or counterclockwise to raise it.
Vacuum behind and underneath the dryer
Moisture, dirt and lint can quickly accumulate underneath your dryer and behind it. It’s a good idea to vacuum behind and underneath your dryer every few months, or more often if you see dust accumulating.
Check the dryer vent for clogs
Even if you’re diligent about cleaning the lint screen, it’s not uncommon for lint and debris to settle in the ventilation tube and obstruct the flow of air. A clogged vent is a dangerous fire hazard that should be addressed right away, so check to make sure the hot air from the dryer is moving through the ventilation tube and coming out the exterior vent.
Check it yourself
If your dryer’s ventilation tube is visible and easy to get to, carefully pull the dryer away from the wall and check the tube for obstructions. Small sediments can be removed by using a vacuum, but often times it’s better to just replace the tube entirely.
Hire a professional
If you’re not able to get to the vent yourself, you might consider hiring a professional. They have special tools and equipment to get into the places you can’t.
Following these simple dryer maintenance tips can help reduce potential fire hazards from happening in your home. While you’re at it, check out these washing machine maintenance tips, laundry room safety tips and other appliance maintenance to-dos for your home.