How Often Should a Dryer Vent be Cleaned? (6 Step Guide)

by Nick Evans | Last Updated: June 20, 2020

How often should a dryer vent be cleaned? Just like everything else in your home, your dryer needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • Why your dryer vent should be cleaned regularly
  • How often you should clean your dryer vent
  • Supplies you’ll need to clean your dryer vent
  • And how to clean your dryer vent in six simple steps
how often should a dryer vent be cleaned

You’re likely already wiping down the top of the appliance and emptying the lint tray—but sometimes we forget about the messes in our home that go unseen, such as a dirty dryer vent.

If you’ve never cleaned a dryer vent before, the task may seem intimidating, but luckily it’s quite simple! 

What You Need To Know About Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

Have you ever gone to put away your laundry, only to realize it hasn’t fully dried?

This can be a sign of a clogged dryer vent. When the vent is clogged with lint, there is less airflow within the system, and laundry will take longer to dry.

It’s important to clean all parts of your dryer regularly to keep it running smoothly.

A clean dryer vent also eliminates a common fire hazard from your home. Four percent of fires in the United States are caused by washers and dryers.

When the vent becomes clogged, as we talked about above, the combination of heat and low airflow can cause a potentially fatal disaster.

Did You Know?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reporting annually, with the leading cause being failure to clean the dryer.

The peak times for these events are the fall and winter months, with peak being in January.

How Often Should a Dryer Vent be Cleaned?

Dryer vents should be cleaned every six months. Dirty vents are a fire hazard, and can also cause your machine to run less smoothly.

There are two parts of your dryer that should be regularly cleaned: the lint trap and the vent.

The lint trap is easily accessible within your home, and should be cleaned every time you use your dryer.

Simply remove the tray, and slide any lint off of it with your hands. It helps to keep a small trash bin near your laundry station so you can just toss the lint away. If things start to look messy, grab your vacuum to clean any fallen lint from the dryer or floor.

You can also clean the inside of the lint trap with a dryer brush if it’s looking too lint-covered.

Once everything’s nice and clean, replace the lint tray and you’re finished!

Your vent is slightly harder to access, and you probably won’t want to be doing so in the midst of a snowy winter. That’s why scheduling is important.

It’s best to choose a warm spring day to clean out your dryer vent the first time, and then repeat the process in the fall before the weather gets too chilly.

Trying to clean your dryer vent outside in the hot summer sun and then again in the icy cold winter season just adds more difficulty, and should be avoided if possible!

Supplies You’ll Need For Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

How To Clean Your Dryer Vent (6 Steps)

Step 1: Find the Vents

Your dryer will have two vents: one on the back of your dryer, and one located on the outside of your home. Before cleaning them, you’ll have to make sure they’re accessible.

This includes knowing where they’re at, and also pulling out your dryer and moving anything outdoors that may be in your way.

Step 2: Unplug your Dryer (and Turn Off the Valve for Gas Appliances)

Before touching anything, you want to cut off the power supply to your dryer. This will keep you safe while working with the vent.

For electric dryers, simply unplug the dryer from the wall. If you have a gas dryer, unplug the appliance and shut off the gas valve before you get to work.

Step 3: Disconnect the Dryer Duct

Once your appliance is without power, you can get to work!

Disconnect the dryer duct so that you can access the vent and begin cleaning it.

Step 4: Vacuum out the Lint

You should now be able to see the inside of your dryer vent, which likely has a layer of lint inside. Use your vacuum extension to vacuum this, as well as anything that’s clinging to the back of your dryer. Don’t worry about the floor quite yet—it’ll probably get messier as you go.

Stick the vacuum hose as far into the vent as you can, focusing on the outer edges where lint piles and clings.

Step 5: Use a Long Dryer Brush to Clean the Remaining Lint

Next, use your long dryer brush to clean the parts of the vent where your vacuum couldn’t reach. Push the brush into the duct and twist it back and forth while pulling it in and out of the duct to gather all of the lint.

You may have to remove the brush to clean it off before pushing it back in to clean the remainder of the duct.

You can start this process from your laundry room, or the outside vent. Choose whichever will be easiest for you.

Step 6: Clean Up and Reassemble

Lastly, vacuum any lint that’s fallen onto the ground and clean any leftover lint off of your dryer brush.

If needed, wipe down the back of your dryer with a damp cloth and mop the floor behind and underneath where the appliance usually sits.

Dry the floor and reattach the duct before pushing your dryer back into place. Remember to plug it back in or turn the gas valve back on, as well.

If you have any questions about cleaning your dryer vent or anything else related to your home appliances, please contact us if you have any questions!