Yesterday we talked about cleaning your washing machine. Today it’s the dryer’s turn. A poorly maintained dryer is not only inefficient, it’s a fire hazard. How’s that for inspiration to make sure your dryer is well maintained?!
When you are waiting for your washing machine to finish it’s cleaning cycle, take some hot vinegar water and wipe up the inside of the dryer. Be cautious to not get any water on the back of the dryer or you risk shorting the heating element. A damp rag is plenty sufficient. Be sure you empty the lint trap EVERY time you use the dryer. Now, if you forget a time or two, it’s not the end of the world. But, it’s a good habit to get into. If you get lint built up it can block air flow, requiring more drying time for your clothes. Which means a higher power bill for you.
If you have items that have flammable chemicals on them (gasoline, paint or stain, and cooking oils are a few examples) avoid drying them in the dryer. That sounds kind of obvious, but I’ve put paint stained clothes in the dryer before and didn’t even think twice about it.
Ok, here’s the how on an annual cleaning for your dryer:
1) Remove the lint trap and set it aside. Use a hose attachment on a vacuum cleaner to clean down inside the lint trap compartment. Suck up as much as you can get.
2) Here’s the pain in the rear-end part: Move the dryer so that you can vacuum underneath and around it. Vacuum the walls and any corner. Remove as much lint and dirt as you can. If you opt to mop, make sure you let the floor dry before you put the dryer back.
3) Unplug the dryer and take a look at the exhaust vent. Make sure it’s still in good shape. Vacuum any lint from around the vent, as well as just inside the duct. Rigid duct material is a better choice than foil or plastic accordion duct. Those kinds trap lint more than a rigid material.
4) After you’ve done your cleaning inside and plugged your dryer back in, turn it on and walk outside to check the exhaust vent hole on your house. Make sure it opens up the flaps while the dryer is running. If there is something in the way, wait to remove it until you have unplugged the dryer.
Ok, not too bad if you only have to do it once a year, right? And waaay better than having a fire! I usually just do my washer and dryer at the same time, although the dryer doesn’t get as thorough of a clean at the semi-annual mark like my washer does.
Good luck and happy cleaning!