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How to Clean a
Dryer Like a Pro

April 11, 2024

Do you give your clothes dryer the cleaning love it deserves? If not, you’re not alone. Most people don’t think about cleaning appliances unless they are on our housekeeping checklist. We get it if you’re unsure how to clean a dryer, your washing machine, and other household appliances. But once you learn, your dryer will be sparkling clean and ready to work hard to dry your laundry.

Why Should I Clean My Dryer?

Learning how to clean your clothes dryer is an essential housekeeping skill for several reasons. A dirty dryer can be a fire hazard due to the accumulated lint and dust. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fiber and lint buildup is the primary cause of fires in residential dryers.

A clean dryer can improve drying speed because there’s no lint or dust to decrease airflow. When your laundry dries more quickly, you can enjoy a more efficient laundry day and lower utility bills. Plus, you get the satisfaction of seeing your sparkling clean dryer every time you go in the laundry room!

Dryer Cleaning 101

Learning how to clean a dryer involves a little more dirty work than learning how to clean a washer. However, when you rely on pro-recommended cleaning supplies and methods, you’ve got this. You only need a vacuum cleaner, vinegar, water, microfiber cloths, and a toothbrush. Distilled white vinegar breaks down buildup, disinfects, and cleans safely and naturally.

  • Turn off the gas or unplug your dryer.
  • Take out the lint trap and wash it with dish soap and hot water, then let it air dry.
  • If you use dryer sheets and fabric softeners, you should clean the lint trap with an old toothbrush dipped in warm, soapy water.
  • Use the longest vacuum attachment to get down into the lint trap area and vacuum.
  • Wash the dryer’s exterior with vinegar and water, scrub the crevices with the toothbrush, then wipe down the dryer with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Reconnect the power cord, and replace the lint trap once it’s dry.

Now that you know how to clean a dryer, how often should you do it? Clean your dryer monthly and the dryer vent every six months. Also, remember to clear out the lint filter after every use.

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How to Clean the Inside of a Dryer

Use soapy water and a microfiber cloth for light stains, then wipe off the cleaning residue. For tougher dryer stains, turn to these field-tested methods for more firepower.

Ink Stains

To remove ink or other stubborn stains from the inside of your dryer, use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Rinse the dryer drum with a clean, damp cloth.

Crayon Stains

Run your dryer for a few minutes before cleaning to soften wax-based buildup. Scrape the mess with a spatula and scrub the remainder with olive oil. Wash the drum with soapy water and rinse with a damp cloth.

Scuff Marks

A magic eraser is ideal for removing black scuffs and other marks from rubber-soled shoes. Dampen the sponge, scrub the scuff marks, and wash the drum with a cloth and soapy water. Rinse the inside with a damp cloth to remove soap and dirt.

To disinfect the inside of your dryer, wipe rubbing alcohol on it and let it sit for five minutes. You don’t need to wipe away the alcohol; it will evaporate and still leave a germ-killing layer.

How to Clean a Laundry Dryer Vent

A dirty or clogged dryer vent can cause a fire, drive your energy costs up, and make your dryer work harder. If your dryer takes longer than usual or your laundry feels humid, it could be because your vent is clogged. Make vent cleaning a part of your dryer cleaning routine for a safer and more efficient laundry experience.

  • Unplug the dryer and move it far enough away from the wall to access the dryer vent.
  • If your dryer is a gas appliance, turn off the gas valve before moving the dryer.
  • Disconnect the dryer vent from the back of the dryer.
  • Use a vacuum hose attachment to remove lint, dirt, and hair from the inside of the vent hose.
  • Vacuum the vent port at the back of the dryer and the surrounding area.
  • Use a dryer vent brush to remove the buildup and remaining lint and dust.
  • Reattach the dryer vent and ensure the seal is snug.
  • Move the dryer to its original position and plug it in, or turn on the gas.

If your dryer vent has buildup or tears, it may be time for a new one. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using only rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal options for maximum safety.

The Maids®: Your Partner for a Better Housekeeping Experience

The Maids makes house cleaning and chores like dryer cleaning faster and easier with handy cleaning guides and the most in-demand house cleaning services. Whether you do it yourself or call in The Maids, we want you to enjoy a cleaner home more often.
Discover the ultimate housekeeping partner when you get your free personalized quote today.

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