Tools for Cleaning Dryer Vents

Cleaning dryer vents regularly is imperative to keep potential fire hazards at bay.
Cleaning dryer vents regularly is imperative to keep potential fire hazards at bay. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Clogged dryer vents can cause fires, of which thousands have been recorded. Unlike some other household appliances, dryers require regular maintenance to avoid having clogged vents. The purpose of a dryer is to dry clothes, removing damp air and lint through the dryer and outside the house. Ideally, the length of vent should be less than 25 feet without any turns or twists. The more turns there are in a stretch of dryer vent, the shorter the distance should be.

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Lint Trap Brush

A lint trap brush allows you to reach down into the lint trap, the area where the lint collects inside the dryer, which is often the place that homeowners clean on a regular basis, mistakenly believing that keeping the lint collector clean will protect them from potential fires. However, additional lint gets trapped inside the collector and does not stick to the lint trap itself, leaving debris inside the dryer. A bendable lint trap brush can be pushed down into the lint collector area and swabbed around, removing additional lint from the dryer.

Dryer Brush

A dryer brush attaches to your vacuum cleaner and is used to clean the back side of the dryer, another place where lint often collects. Although the back of the dryer is not technically part of the vent, cleaning it is necessary as excess lint on the back of the dryer will contribute to excess lint in the dryer vent because lint is collected from the damp air as it escapes the dryer. Carefully clean the gaps and holes in the back of the dryer, gently pushing the dryer brush attachment into them.

Dryer Auger

A dryer auger allows you to clean inside the dryer vent ductwork that vents to the outside of the home, which is perhaps the most overlooked part of cleaning the dryer vents. As the damp air travels through the ductwork, it dampens lint that has already collected inside, making it sticky and difficult to remove. The dryer auger usually attaches to a drill or may be handheld. In either case, insert the dryer auger into the ductwork and turn it both clockwise and counterclockwise, removing it often to clean the lint from it. You may have to repeat the process several times to ensure that the ductwork is lint free and to clean the entire length of the ductwork.

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