Your dryer is among the most important appliances in your home—especially in the cooler winter months when you don’t get much sunshine. To ensure your dryer lasts for many years, we share a few simple techniques for maintaining your appliance.
In this article, discuss five ways you can maintain your dryer. These include regularly emptying the lint trap, not overloading your dryer, using fabric softener when doing laundry, cleaning the exterior, and cleaning the vent. If you follow these tips you can expect to get a lot of years of use from your dryer. Thankfully, they’re all easy tasks to carry out and don’t take much time.
1. Empty the lint trap
The easiest thing you can do to maintain your dryer is to empty the lint trap. Most manufacturers recommend that you empty the lint trap after every use. Although it can be annoying to do, it’ll help maintain your dryer and stop it from becoming a fire hazard.
The best process for emptying/cleaning your lint trap is to:
- Remove the lint trap. Start by taking the lint trap out of your dryer. You can find the trap on top of the dryer, in the door, or inside the drum.
- Empty the lint. Once removed, empty the lint. Just use your hands or a clean dry cloth to remove it. Don’t wet the trap unless you see baked-on debris on it. If you clean it in water, make sure you dry the trap completely before putting it back into your appliance.
- Clean the trap slot. While you have the trap out of the dryer, clean the area where the trap slots into.
- Put the trap back in. Once the trap is empty and clean, place it back into your dryer.
2. Don’t overload your dryer
The second way to maintain your dryer is to not overload it. When drying a load of laundry, it’s important to not put too many items in the dryer at one time. When overloaded, your dryer won’t be able to operate correctly as the airflow will be restricted. Overloading will also cause damage to the drum and other components like the bearings. To prevent these issues from occurring, only fill your dryer a maximum of ¾ full. When drying heavy items like towels only fill it about ½ full. By following these guidelines, you’ll avoid many problems.
3. Use fabric softener
Another simple tip to maintain your dryer is to use fabric softener when washing your laundry. When you put your wet laundry into the dryer after it’s been washed using fabric softener, less lint is produced during the drying cycle. Alternatively, you can use dryer sheets or balls in the dryer, which help reduce lint too. Either way, less lint will build up in your dryer, which means less potential for damage-causing blockages to occur.
4. Clean the dryer drum and exterior
Over time, your dryer drum ends up with build-ups of grime and debris, which can turn into bacteria. The same is true for the exterior of your appliance—especially on the back panel. For this reason, it’s important to give the dryer drum and the exterior of your appliance a regular clean—at least once every 3 months.
Here’s how to clean the inside of your dryer and the exterior:
- Fill a spray bottle with a solution of water and white vinegar (50/50). Alternatively, you can use a commercial surface cleaner.
- Spray and wipe the inside of the dryer drum. Make sure you use a clean cloth to wipe it.
- Spray and wipe around the door, paying special attention to the door seal.
- Spray and wipe all the exterior surfaces of your dryer.
- Use a clean cloth to give the dryer drum a second wipe.
- Before using your dryer again, leave the door open to let it air out for a couple of hours.
5. Clean the dryer vent
The final way to maintain your dryer is to give the dryer vent a regular clean. Most manufacturers recommend you should clean the vent out at least once every three months (four times a year). It’s important to clean the vent as a build-up of lint in the vent system can pose a fire risk and make your dryer run less efficiently. Thankfully, it’s a very easy task to do. Simply follow our instructions outlined below.
- Turn the power off. Start by turning the power off to your dryer and if it’s gas-powered, turn the gas off.
- Disconnect the duct. Pull your dryer out from the wall slightly and then disconnect the duct. The duct is probably connected at both ends using clamps to secure it in place, which you will have to disconnect.
- Clean the duct. Once the duct is disconnected, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the duct out. If you don’t want to use a vacuum cleaner you can use a long brush to clean the duct. Either way, make sure you get all of the loose lint and other debris out of the duct.
- Clean the duct connection points. Once the duct is clean, you can clean the duct connection points on your dryer and the wall. If lots of lint is built up around the connection points, use a vacuum cleaner.
- Reconnect the duct. Once the duct is clean, you can reconnect it to the dryer and the wall.
- Turn the power on. Now that the duct is reconnected, the final step is to turn the power and gas (if applicable) back on.