Dryer Maintenance Tips: How to Clean & Care for Your Unit

Dryer

Having your dryer fail on you can be a huge nuisance. You’ll either need to take your big bucket of dirty clothes to the nearest Laundromat or hang all your clothes up somewhere to dry once they’ve gone through the washing machine. You probably wouldn’t find either of these options to be particularly appealing. That’s why it’s important to take good care of your dryer and make sure that it continues to serve you well for as long as it can.

However, if you’re like many people, you don’t know much at all about dryer maintenance. If you’re used to renting apartments where a landlord or a property manager took care of all the dryer-related issues, then you probably never had much reason to think about such matters until you’ve owned one yourself.

Fortunately, you can learn most of what you need to know without too much difficulty, and if things really get out of hand, you can call a company specializing in washer and dryer maintenance for assistance.

Whether you own a dryer/washer combo or a full-sized dryer, here are the four main steps to successfully maintaining your dryer to keep it working as efficiently as possible.

  1. Clean the lint screen before each batch
  2. Avoid putting soiled clothes in the dryer
  3. Wipe down the outside of the dryer regularly
  4. Clean the exhaust duct on an annual basis

Let’s go into more detail on each of the above maintenance tips.


4 Common Dryer Maintenance Tips

1. Clean Lint Screen Regularly:
Removing Lint from Dryer

It’s crucial that you never allow lint to build up on the lint screen. Most people are aware that starting a batch with too much lint on the screen could cause a fire. While that’s an extreme – and rare – occurrence, it’s obviously something you’ll want to avoid.

However, even if there’s just a little bit of lint on the screen, it’s still important to get it off. Even a little bit of extra lint means that your dryer is going to need to work harder to get your clothes dry. It may seem petty, but over time the overgrowth of lint will start to impede the overall function and efficiency of your dryer.

Solution: It’s wise to scrape all of the lint from the lint screen before you start a load. Taking the extra 15 seconds to remove any lint loitering will ensure that your dryer has the best chance at operating as it should for years to come.

2. Avoid Putting Soiled Clothes in Dryer:

In order to keep the interior of the dryer as clean as possible, avoid putting any soiled clothes in your dryer. Alternatively, make sure that you’re only drying clothes that have been made wet by going through the washing machine. If you want to dry clothes or towels that are wet for some other reason – for example, a day at the beach – put them through the washing machine first.

By doing this, you avoid getting any dirt or other unnecessary materials inside the dryer. Extraneous materials could clog the dryer or even cause parts of it to corrode.

Solution: Only put freshly washed clothes in the dryer. Avoid putting anything that hasn’t been washed throughly.

3. Wipe down the outside of the dryer regularly
Dryer & Washer Combo

Along with taking good care of the inside of the dryer, it’s also important to keep an eye on the outer surfaces. It’s a good idea to wipe down the outside on a weekly basis so that soap residue won’t corrode its finish. Soap residue could easily pile up if you frequently set your just-washed clothes down on top of the dryer before you put them inside it.

Solution: Give your dryer a thorough wipe-down at least once a month.

4. Vent Cleaning

One of the most important components of a dryer maintenance routine is vent cleaning. You should make a habit of cleaning the exhaust vent or duct at least two times every year. You can use a cleaning brush made especially for this purpose. Obstructions in the vent that are not taken care of can significantly reduce the flow of air to the dryer, leading to an increase in drying times and an unnecessary use of energy. If your dryer needs to work extra hard for longer periods of time due to a vent obstruction, it will be much more likely to malfunction. However, with proper vent cleaning, your dryer will last a long time.

If you don’t pay attention to the state of your dryer vents, you could significantly increase the risk of starting a fire in your home. As with the lint screen, the dryer duct could also become a fire hazard if lint is allowed to build up in it. When the air circulation is blocked and the dryer tries to make up for it by working harder, the machine could overheat. This is why vent cleaning is an important safety issue for homeowners.

Most of the steps in taking care of your dryer are quite straightforward. However, if you have a particularly long dryer duct, or if you just aren’t sure you could do a good enough job by yourself, you may want to have it cleaned out professionally. A professional vent cleaning, along with adherence to the other tips listed above, is a great way to keep your dryer working efficiently and keep your household safe from fire hazards. With proper maintenance, dryers are quite durable and are built to last for many years to come.

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Jeff Flowers

About Author

Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.

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