How to Clean a Dryer Vent

man peeking into dryer vent

Cleaning a dryer vent is a very important task to do on a regular basis. Not only does it keep your dryer working in tip top condition, but it helps it to perform at it's very best. This will save you money and allow your HVAC system to do less work, and over time that is significant because of less wear and tear to your system.

Cleaning your dryer duct is a very easy process and can be done by almost anyone with just a little initiative. Be sure to do it when needed, or you may not like the consequences (which can be so easily avoided). Here are the steps demonstrating how to clean a dryer vent:

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Space

There are a few steps you need to take in order to prepare your dryer for cleaning. These steps are really easy. However, if they are not done before you begin working on your machine you could injure yourself or bring harm to your dryer.

  • Unplug Dryer - This step is very important. If you don't unplug your dryer from the electrical outlet result in an accident.
  • Pull Dryer Out Away From the Wall - If you are working in tight quarters it can make the task a little more difficult. Get your dryer out away from the wall so you can easily work on the vent behind it.

Step 2: Prepping the Dryer

Once you have prepared your work space you can then prepare your dryer for cleaning. This process is very simple and only requires a few steps.

  • Loosen 4" Clamp on the Back of the Dryer - On the back of your dryer you will find a 4" clamp which holds the vent in place. This vent can be loosened with a simple screwdriver or nut driver.
  • Slide Vent Off Dryer - Once you get the vent loosened you should be able to easily slip it off and begin working. Set Your dryer vent to the side where you can easily access it. You will need it later on in your cleaning process.

Step 3: Cleaning the Vent & Wall

inside look at a dryer vent
  • Clean Hole in Wall - Your dryer vent hooks into a hole in the wall. This particular hole can become obstructed with lint. To clean this hole you can simply stick your hand in there to get the majority of the bulky stuff. To get the hard to reach areas you can use a Shop Vac to suction out any remaining buildup.
  • Clean Out Vent Tubing - The vent tubing which attaches your dryer to your wall can become full of all kinds of debris and lint. You can easily clean out this tube by reaching your hand in, using a Shop Vac, or even using a wire hanger. Just be careful with the edges of the tubing. If you get any kind of hole or bend in it you can ruin it, and will have to replace it.
  • Attach Dryer to the Wall - Once you have cleaned out the hole behind your dryer and the dryer vent you can then re-attach your dryer to the wall. This is done by slipping your vent back over the holes and tightening the clamp.

Step 4: Clean the External Vent

Many individuals don't realize that it's just as important to clean the outside vent to the dryer as well. This can also get a lot of buildup inside of it, causing your machine to work poorly. Cleaning your outside dryer vents is easy and can be done in no time at all.

  • Find Dryer Vent Outside & Remove From Wall - Before you can remove the dryer vent outside you will need to locate it. Make sure you find the right spot before you start pulling things off your house. Once you have found the right location for your outside vent you can then remove it from the wall. Sometimes this vent will be attached with screws and have caulking around it. You can easily remove the caulking with a razor knife, and get the screws off with a screw driver.
  • Clean Out Wall - Once you have removed your vent from the outside wall you can easily clean out the hole that is behind it. This can be done with an arm, a Shop Vac, or even a plumbers snake for those hard to reach places.
  • Run Dryer to Get Extra fragments Out - Once you have taken out all the debris from the wall it's important to run your dryer. Before attaching your vent back to the outside of your house, run your dryer to get any loose fragments which may be stuck in there. This will help get all the remaining particles out.
  • Place Vent Back On - After you have ran your dryer to get all the extra particles out, you can then reattach your vent. This can easily be done by tightening the screws, and adding any extra caulk which you may need.

How Often Should I Clean My Dryer Vent?

Cleaning out your dryer vent on a regular basis is so very important. Not only is it a very easy process, but needs to be done at least once a year. If you clean your dryer out on a regular basis you will find that it dries your clothes so much better, and will last so much longer. Don't wait until your dryer fails you to decide you should have been cleaning it out all this time. Give cleaning out your dryer vents a try today.

Knowing how to clean a dryer vent is essential in operating at full capacity. If you feel like it takes your clothes dryer a long time to perform its function, the vent maybe an issue.