It may seem like a very small chore but cleaning out your dryer vent is very important. If not handled carefully and accurately, there is the possibility of a fire beginning. But if your dryer vent is cleaned properly, you can avoid any potential fire risks and also improve the performance of your dryer at the same time.
The first step that you will want to take is to unplug your dryer. This is for your safety as you will be working inside of the dryer. From there you will want to release the vent house and the aluminum elbow. There may a screw that will have to be taken out to do that part properly. You will want to check inside both of these items for any clothing or other small items that could be stuck inside them. Check thoroughly and use a flashlight if you feel that you cannot see inside properly.
The next thing that you will want to do is vacuum the entire area around the back of the dryer thoroughly. Make sure that you include the floor, the wall behind the dryer and all of the areas that surround any connections or openings in the dryer. This will help prevent any buildup of lint or dust from occurring.
You can choose to scrub the area with a cleaner to ensure that the area is as clean as you can get it. But if you decide to take this step, please take the time to use clean water to make sure that you do not leave any soap scum behind. Any left behind soap scum can possibly lead to a build up of lint, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid happening.
Once you have completed all of these steps, you can reconnect your hoses. Double check the area to make sure you have everything cleaned up properly and then plug your dryer back into the wall. When you push the dryer back towards the wall, ensure that you do not crush the vent or the aluminum elbow. This will often cause lint to quickly build up.
While this is the most major part of cleaning your dryer vent, there are two other steps that must be taken to be sure that you have cleaned everything to the best of your ability. The first of these two steps is outside.
On the outside of your home, you should see an exterior vent. If you were unaware, this is connected to your dryer and lint can possibly travel through this vent and build up over time. There are various ways this vent is connected to your home. Study the set up and the connections and remove them. If there is any difficulty or uncertainty, there are many videos available that will walk you through the exact process depending upon your individual set up.
Once you have any potential screws or similar devices removed, you will want to slide the exterior vent out and away from your home. Be as gentle as possible when performing this particular step. Use your vacuum cleaner and clean out the vent and any areas around where you removed your vent as possible. Be sure to check the vent door as that is where quite a bit of build up will occur. Once this is done, you can put your exterior vent back together.
The last major step to take is one that nearly everyone knows about. In between every load of laundry, it is recommended that you check the lint trap and clean it out as needed. This particular area will build up a collection of lint very quickly so it is crucial to not forget this step. Before putting the lint trap back in, check the area where the lint trap rests to check for any loose lint.
Each of these steps are important steps to take on a regular basis. The major and more time consuming steps should be completed at least every two to three years while the last step should be completed every time you use your dryer. By doing each of these things, you could be taking a very important step towards protecting your home against a very real fire hazard that many people do not know about.