How to clean the dryer vent? (Step-by-Step)

Unplug the dryer and unscrew the vent cover or the vent duct from the back of the dryer to remove them. Next, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to pull out lint and debris from the opening and from inside the duct. Finally, use a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean out the lint trap inside the dryer.

Key Takeaways

  • It is common for dryer vents to become clogged with lint, dust, and other debris due to prolonged use.
  • Dryer vents that are clogged can also pose a fire hazard. Therefore it’s important to regularly clean your dryer vent to prevent any potential safety hazards.
  • You will need to remove the vent cover or vent duct from the back of the dryer in order to perform the cleaning activity.
  • A vacuum cleaner helps to make the task easy and for best results, use a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

Why is it important to clean your dryer vent?

Dryer vents are usually the most unnoticed and ignored area of your dryer. As a result, the build of lint and debris just accumulates over time.

Therefore, it should be cleaned once a year at the very least.

The lint that builds up in the dryer vent is highly combustible, and if it ignites for any reason, it can quickly spread through the entire vent system, putting your home at risk.

Furthermore, a blocked dryer vent also decreases the efficiency of your dryer and can cause it to overheat.

Let us understand what happens if you ignore your dryer’s vent areas for too long.

Fire Hazard

A dryer vent can become clogged with lint over time, which can lead to a fire hazard. Yes, that’s absolutely right lint accumulation inside the dryer areas is the most common cause of fires.

Prolonged Cycle

Your dryer will run for longer than usual and will struggle to dry your clothes evenly. It simply means your clothes may not dry as you would like and it will take longer to dry them.

High-Energy bills

The above factors will definitely impact your pockets as you may notice that your energy bills are on an increasing trend.


Your dryer may overheat and end up damaging other components.


With all the above factors, your dryer will become less efficient and may lead to a premature breakdown.

So, the bottom line is that cleaning your dryer vent area will help you save money on your energy bills. Most importantly, your dryer will operate more efficiently and last longer.

How Can You Tell When to Clean Your Dryer Vent? (Symptoms of problematic dryer vents)

If you notice any of the following, it’s time to clean your dryer vent.

A Burning Smell

If your clothes have a burning smell after being put through the dryer, that’s a red flag that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned.

The dryer unit is too hot

If the outside of your dryer unit is uncomfortably hot to the touch, that’s another sign that your vent needs to be cleaned.

Hot Clothes

If your clothes aren’t fully dried after a cycle and they come out hot to the touch, that’s a sign that your dryer vent is blocked.

Increased Humidity in the Laundry Room

In rare cases, the humidity in your laundry room may increase and you may feel more humid than usual. If you notice this behavior, that’s another symptom of a problematic dryer vent.

Excess lint

The lint accumulation may be more than usual if the dryer vent is blocked.

How to clean the dryer vent?

Let us look into the steps to cleaning the dryer vent, which should only take about 30 minutes or so.

However, if your dryer vent is particularly long or difficult to reach, it may take a little longer.

You will need a few tools, such as a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to clean your dryer vent, a dryer vent brush, a screwdriver, and a pair of pliers.

Once you have the above tools handy, follow the below steps in order to clean the dryer vent safely.

Instructions to clean the dryer vent

Step 1: Unplug the dryer

Unplug the dryer from power and disconnect other attachments so that you can move the dryer aside.

Step 2: Vacuum the vent area

Start by vacuuming the area around the dryer vent to remove any lint or debris that may be present.

Step 3: Remove the vent cover

Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws that hold the dryer vent cover in place.

Remove the cover and set it aside, and use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove any lint that’s accumulated around the opening of the vent.

Step 4: Clean the vent pipe/duct

Now, use the vacuum cleaner to suck up any lint or debris that may be present inside the vent pipe.

Also, put the dryer vent brush into the pipe and turn it to get rid of any lint or debris that has built up.

With the help of the pliers, remove any screws or fasteners that may be present inside the pipe (this may vary depending on your dryer model).

Pull out the whole length of the vent pipe and vacuum it well on both sides to get rid of any lint or debris that is left.

Now, use a brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the lint trap inside the dryer.

Step 5: Reassemble the dryer

Reassemble the dryer vent cover and screw it back into place.

One last time, vacuum the area around the dryer vent to get rid of any lint or dirt that might have been missed.

Now plug in the dryer and your dryer should perform better than how it worked before.

Dryer Vent Safety Tips

Now that you know how important it is to clean your dryer vent and how to do it, here are some safety tips that you should keep in mind.

  • Inspect the vent pipe regularly for any lint or debris buildup and clean it as needed.
  • Try not to operate the dryer without the vent cover in place.
  • Do not use flexible foil or plastic venting material.
  • Make sure the outside vent cover opens when the dryer is operating.
  • Keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter.
  • It’s not recommended to run the dryer unattended.
  • Timely maintenance of your dryer vent will help ensure the optimum performance of your appliance and also keep your laundry room safe.
  • Don’t self-troubleshoot if you are not confident about it, always call a professional for help.

Final Thoughts

A clean dryer is essential, not only for the safety of your home but also for the efficiency of your dryer.

If you have a typical dryer setup, cleaning your vent should only take about 30 minutes.

No matter how long it takes, make sure to clean the vent area thoroughly as it is a one-time activity in a given month or every 2 months.

Lastly, if you are unable to get the cleaning procedure done on your own, consult a technician to get it done for you.

This will not only help you avoid damage, but it will also teach you the procedure so you can do it on your own the next time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean my dryer vent myself?

Yes, you can clean the dryer vent yourself as long as you know what you’re doing and have the right tools for the job. Start by removing lint from the duct by either using a brush or your hand and then vacuuming the inside areas. You may need to use a hose extension to get all the lint out.

How often should I clean my dryer vent?

To prevent lint buildup, clean your dryer vent at least once a year or every six months. However, if you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, don’t wait. Instead, you should clean the vent more often than that to maintain its efficiency.

Can I use a leaf blower to clean my dryer vent?

Yes, you can use a leaf blower to clean your dryer vent, but make sure you use the right attachment. A leaf blower should be able to blow the lint out of the vent.