Let’s Talk Lint

posted by Andrea | 07/10/2013

The photo above is of MY lint trap in MY dryer… yes, it had been a while since I completely cleaned it out.

For a long time, I thought that as long as I removed any visible lint from the pull-out lint trap I would be fine — and I faithfully did this after every load of laundry. HOWEVER, when we moved to our current house, the previous owners left a brand new front loading washer/dryer, and I quickly realized that I would need to take a few extra steps if I wanted to keep our dryer mostly lint-free.

I’m not sure if this is an issue with our particular dryer or if all front loading units have the same issue, but as you can see by the images below, it was gross!

Thankfully, it only takes a couple basic tools and about 10 minutes of time to thoroughly clean out our lint trap — and if you’ve never tried cleaning yours out, you might just want to check it out some time soon.

STEP 1: Pull out the lint catcher.

You can clean this if necessary — mine wasn’t dirty because I clean it off after every load — however, you’ll need to remove this in order to gain access to all the nasty lint (and other junk) down in your dryer vent.

STEP 2: Unscrew the “cover” of the lint trap.

Obviously, not all dryers are the same, but my dryer has 2 small screws that keep the cover to the lint trap on. So all I had to do was unscrew those to get full access to all the gross junk inside. (I couldn’t get a good picture of this because the screws are on the back side)

STEP 3: Vacuum out the lint.

I used the crevasse attachment for my vacuum which easily fit into the small dryer lint slot. I got most of the stuff with the vacuum, but then I squeezed my hand down there with a microfiber cloth to remove the rest. Then I vacuumed again just to suck up anything the cloth might have loosened.

STEP 4: Replace the cover.

This is the easy part — just make sure you don’t accidentally drop the screws down into the lint opening!

 

Here are the after pictures — I’d say it was worth 10 minutes of my time!

I try to do this every month (or every other when I forget). I’ve heard of a few different stories where dryer lint has actually caused a house fire, so I personally feel it’s important for me to keep our dryer as lint-free as possible.

Do you have dryer lint issues like we do? If so, how do you clean it out? 

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20 comments

  1. Deni

    07/10/2013

    This post is great timing for me as our dryer belt broke last weekend and I had to go without my dryer for 3 days :O Our local home improvement store did not carry the size belt we needed, so we had to wait for a local parts store to open. Long story short, my husband replaced the belt and cleaned out ALL of the lint from inside the dryer shell. I ALWAYS clean the lint out after each load, but there are other hiding places inside. Another important place to clean out is the big hose behind the dryer that leads out of the house. We were amazed at how much lint gets trapped in that area!!! You have to remove the hose to clean everything out. This should be done once a year. I also just read that 50% of house fires are from dryer lint!!! So I consider the belt breaking a “Blessing in Disguise”.

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  2. Susan

    07/10/2013

    We’re a military family and move all the time, so I’m a bit crazed when it comes to things like this. Your own lint is one thing, but somebody else’s lint is yucky. I use shish kabob skewers to dig the lint out of the little crevices that the vacuum and a rag won’t reach. Call me crazy, but I do it when we first move in, after that I use the vacuum and rag method, too.

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  3. stephanie

    07/10/2013

    I had been wanting a Lint Lizard for a long time and finally received it as a gift. DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY on it. The hose is not very flexible, and too wide to put down my dryer vent. Good old hand and microfiber cloth will do the trick.

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  4. Jen

    07/10/2013

    Last winter, we were having trouble with our drying getting clothes completely dry and so my husband took apart the hose all the way to the outside vent. The lint build up in there was INCREDIBLE! I suggest you check this maybe once a year or so too-as I do know this has been known to cause fires also. Not to mention, it affects the efficiency of your dryer! It made a HUGE difference!

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  5. Jennifer P

    07/10/2013

    I have a 10 ft long dryer vent brush that I use to clean the vent hose. I turn on the dryer to air only and run the brush into the hose from out side. As I brush, the air blows out the lint that is loosened. I also use the brush on the hose from the dryer out. Disconnect the vent hose, brush well then reconnect and turn on the dryer to air only again. I also us my vacuum on the lint trap. I do this every other month or so, since I air dry most of my clothes, year around.
    As the daughter of a firefighter I’ve always known about the dangers of dryer lint fires.

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  6. Bianca

    07/10/2013

    As soon as I get the clothes out the dryer I clean the lent trap. It’s a habit but I admit I don’t reguarly clean out the dryer vent. Going to do today and also my washing machine. My washing machine has this little trap where lose change and gunk ends up. Shouldn’t take long. Mihgt as well knock them both out.Thanks!

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  7. Becky

    07/10/2013

    I was just noticing last night how much lint was in the slot for my lint trap. I clean the lint trap after every use, but hadn’t paid too much attention to the slot. I am definitely going to start vacuuming out the slot every month!

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  8. Cn

    07/10/2013

    Our laundry is in a weird place, so the vent hose goes under the house for about 10 ft before making an upward turn to vent out. We have to have a professional blow that out every few years because of the lint. We tried on our own a few times with the shop vac and were only making it worse. My clothes dry so much faster now. It was well worth the $100.

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  9. Deneane

    07/10/2013

    I just cleaned out our dryer and duct this weekend. We were worried our heating element was going out, but after cleaning it out, my dryer was working again even though I didn’t pull out that much. I love the idea of using a microfiber cloth, too.

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  10. Linda B

    07/10/2013

    This is a good reminder. I clean my lint trap faithfully, and I vacuum the vent outdoors weekly also, but I’m thinking that the LONG (in my case) venting thing should be cleaned out.

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  11. Lori

    07/10/2013

    Thank you so much for this post. I always clean out our lint trap, but I knew that it needed a better cleaning. Thinking it would be more complicated, I kept putting it off. You were right, 2 screws! What was down there was UNBELIEVABLE! And I also didn’t realize how far down it actually went! It is now spick and span clean and I’m relieved that I took the time to loosen 2 screws!

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  12. Michele

    07/10/2013

    I think we have the same model of dryer! Like another poster, I had no luck with the Lint Lizard, so what I did was to get a 2 ft long length of rubber tubing, and I duct taped it to my vac hose. It gets down into the little opening in the dryer much easier.

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  13. Anna Marie

    07/10/2013

    Flylady.com has a special gadget designed for the dryer – apparently better than the lint lizard. Not very expensive – people are laways amazed by how much is down there. My friend was moving and pulled her whole double stack unit out. The hose to the back of the dryer had come UNDONE and was spewing lint all over the wall for quite some time. Scary. Always good to check

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  14. Tamara

    07/21/2013

    Thank you so much! I had just noticed my clothes weren’t getting dry and I will try this today!

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  15. Jules

    07/24/2013

    We have a two story house and our vent goes up to the roof and out. One day our new dryer (4 months old) just stopped drying the clothes. Dryer was still under warranty thank goodness. The repair man came told us what was wrong in less then 1 minute, and had it going in less then 20 minutes. We were very lucky that we didn’t have a fire after we saw the amount of lint that he pulled out. He told us to make sure to have it cleaned out at least once a year.

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  16. Diana

    07/24/2013

    Thanks for the tip on cleaning the dryer. Just finish doing mine…..really needed it. Now what about mold on the seal of a front load washer….yes I leave the door open but I still have to keep an eye on the seal. Really enjoying the yard remodel.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Diana, I’m not sure what to tell you about the mold issue — I haven’t personally experience this problem with our washer. However, I just posted it as a reader question on my Facebook page. You can follow along with the answers here.

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  17. Lisa

    07/25/2013

    Uh oh! I think I need to add this to my to-do list this afternoon!

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  18. liz

    10/10/2014

    who would clean the vent lines?

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    Andrea Reply:

    we always just clean our our vent on our own with a long skinny dryer vent cleaning brush. Our dryer vent is only about 4 feet long though so not difficult to clean out on our own :)

    I’m guessing that maybe a carpet cleaner or heating/cooling company could clean them out for you and I would think the price would be reasonable

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