Automated laundry machines may be mostly hands-off, but they require regular upkeep so that they can clean and dry your laundry as efficiently as possible. One of the ways to maintain a healthy dryer is properly cleaning the lint trap — but this is more challenging than it may appear.
Though it might seem like a silly, gross, or unnecessary chore, clearing out the waste that collects after each load of laundry is mandatory. Not only does keeping your dryer lint-free assure a longer life for your machine and more thoroughly dried laundry, but residential dryers that haven’t been properly cleaned are the known cause of thousands of annual fires across North America. For everyone’s safety, a clean dryer is a happy dryer.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Clean Your Dryer?
The telltale signs of a clogged dryer are an overly warm machine, your laundry taking too long to become fully dry, and in serious cases, a burning smell.
Before touching any part of your laundry appliance, be sure to read its manual or ask for help from somebody more familiar with the machinery. Wait long enough after doing laundry that the metal is not too warm to the touch. Make sure the machine is not in operation, turn off the supply valve if applicable, disconnect the hose, and pull the machine about a foot away from the wall so you’ll have room to work.
Most of the lint will be bonded together in wads. Just reach in, peel it out, and dispose of it in a trashcan. To get it truly clean, vacuum the vents and lint trap with your vacuum’s hose extension after removing the bulk of the laundry waste.
Inspect the ducts after cleaning to see if anything needs to be replaced, and inspect the vents twice a year. You should also consider contacting an expert to conduct annual inspections of the inner workings of the machine itself.
When the machine is pushed too tightly against the wall or the laundry room is cluttered, the chances of a fire increase exponentially, so be sure to keep the whole area tidy.
In apartment complexes and laundromats (i.e., places where dryers are shared and used by many people during the course of a day), even if you do not own the machine, it’s important to tidy before and after use. Open the lint trap, remove the filter, and gently scoop the lint out. It’s not only common courtesy, it’s common sense.