How to Clean a Dryer Vent

Over time, your dryer vent accumulates lint, preventing it from proper ventilation. Learn how to clean a dryer vent to keep yours from becoming a fire hazard.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent

Signs it’s time to clean your dryer vent include clothes that won’t dry, having to run the dryer multiple times, and a dryer that’s hot when running. You should have your dryer vent cleaned once per year. Opt for professional dryer vent cleaning or do it yourself following these steps.

Supplies You Need to Clean a Dryer Vent

Cleaning a dryer vent isn’t difficult but requires special tools. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • ShopVac or vacuum with hose attachment
  • Dryer vent brush kit
  • Metal foil duct tape

How to Clean a Dryer Vent: Step by Step

Step 1: Unplug the Dryer and Disconnect the Vent

The first step is to unplug the dryer. If your dryer runs off gas, turn the supply valve off. (Consult a professional cleaning company if you’re uncomfortable cleaning your gas-powered dryer.)

Pull the dryer out from the wall and look for the dryer duct and disconnect it. You may need to remove tape or clamps to do so.

Step 2: Vacuum the Back of the Dryer and the Vent

With the dryer duct disconnected, use your vacuum to suction lint out of the hole. Then use your host attachment to suction lint out of the vent opening.

Step 3: Brush Out the Vent

Go outside and remove the vent cover. Then insert your dryer vent cleaning brush at the higher end of the vent, turning it clockwise and moving it up and down to loosen lint. The lint will fall out of the lower end. (You can also use a dryer vent brush that attaches to a drill for easier cleaning.)

Use a broom and dustpan or your ShopVac to vacuum the loose lint. 

Step 4: Put Everything Back Together

Place the duct back on the dryer, sealing it with metal foil duct tape if needed. Plug the dryer back in and push it back against the wall. Reattach the vent cover on the outside of your home.

Run your dryer for 15-20 minutes to ensure it’s working as it should. 

How to Keep Your Dryer Running Well

The number one way to keep your dryer running well is to clean out the lint trap after each use. Doing so will help your clothes dry faster and encourage proper ventilation. Failure to clean out the lint trap after each use can lead to a fire hazard.

You can also clean your lint trap screen with soap and water solution every few months to remove fabric softener build-up. When you do this, use your vacuum to suction lint from under the screen.

While the recommended dryer vent cleaning schedule for homeowners and condo owners is once per year, you may need to have this service performed twice per year if you have a large family.