How to maintain your clothes dryer

Just as you need to know how to fix a refrigerator and other common household appliances, in order for your dryer to work as intended, you need to perform regular maintenance and cleaning. Doing so will not only help it continue working efficiently, but also keep you safe from any potential hazards. Remember, when a clothes dryer is malfunctioning it can cause serious issues like fires. Check out the steps below for information regarding how to maintain your dryer the right way.

The lint trap
To begin the cleaning and maintenance process, you should start by removing the lint trap. Using a mild soap or detergent, and a soft-bristled brush, begin scrubbing your lint trap clear of any lint or dust. When you finish, leave the tray on a towel until it is dry enough to place back into the dryer. Don’t forget, if the tray is still wet, it could end up causing an electrical fire. We recommend washing out your lint trap at least once a year, although you should take this step whenever you feel your dryer needs it.

Vacuum your dryer
Before you start vacuuming up your dryer, it is crucial that you unplug it from the electrical socket. This is to prevent you from getting a shock or starting an electrical fire. Grab your vacuum and use it on the inside of the lint trap using one of the small attachments that comes with it. In order for your clothes dryer to work properly, you have to get rid of all the clumps and stray lint hanging around. If needed, you can also use your lint brush to achieve the same effect. After you finish vacuuming up your lint tray, it is time to move onto your dryer’s surroundings. Since the appliance is now removed from the electrical socket, you can begin cleaning the wall, as well as the floor behind your dryer.

Vent piping
The next step in maintaining your clothes dryer is vacuuming the inside of your vent piping. Before you start that, you will need to remove the vent piping that links your dryer to the wall. Pick up the small attachment that comes with your vacuum and start sucking out the the inside of the pipe to get rid of any old lint or debris. At this point, you are basically done cleaning out your appliance, but since the dryer is moved out from the wall, you should take advantage of this time to clean the surroundings. Pick out a rag and wet it with water. Then, scrub down both the wall and floor behind your dryer. This will get rid of any lint, dust or debris floating around the air. When you are all finished with that, place your dryer back into its original position in your laundry room. Do not forget to reattach the vent piping to your wall and dryer – you will need this piece of equipment for your clothes dryer to work correctly.

Outside dryer vent
After your dryer is placed back into its rightful spot, you need to make sure that it is leveled out. If it is not balanced correctly, this could cause the rotation parts to wear out faster than normal. Seek out the exterior dryer vent located around your property. If your vent plate is connected to your outside vent, you may have to use a screwdriver to take down the plate before you are able to clean it. However, if the outside vent has some kind of hinges, you will have to first clean around them. You can by a telescoping brush that is designed specifically to clean dryer vents, which will make certain that the vent is properly ventilated for air to flow around freely.

Consider all-metal venting
Many homes have foil venting, which extends and compresses to reach the dryer’s position. This type of venting may be convenient, but it can also get squished between the dryer and the wall, reducing air flow and making your dryer work harder. In order to maximize your appliance’s lifespan, it is recommended that you use all-metal venting, which won’t compress and quickly dissipates heat.

Maintaining your clothes dryer is an important part of being a homeowner. Home appliances are expensive, and maintaining them helps you to get the most out of your money. If you are concerned about the high potential cost of having to repair or replace a major appliance or home system, consider investing in a home warranty from TotalProtect®. Your appliances will be covered1, so if anything happens, all you'll have to do is pick up the phone and we’ll be there to help fix it.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.