Yes, There's a Right Way to Clean Your Dryer Vent—Here's How

This simple task will help your clothes dry faster—and could even prevent a fire.

Not to scare you, but dryers start approximately 2,900 fires each year in the U.S., due to a buildup of lint inside the ventilation duct-work. The good news is some routine maintenance and knowing how to clean a dryer vent can help prevent these disasters. Depending upon how often you use your dryer, follow the steps below to clean the dryer vent about once every 3 to 6 months. Also remember to clear out the lint filter after every single use. Bonus: your clothes will not only dry faster, but they'll also stay lint-free, so you can put down that lint roller.

How to Clean a Dryer
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How to Clean a Dryer Vent, Step-by-Step

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Unplug the dryer.

Turn off the gas valve if your dryer is gas-powered.

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Move the dryer.

Carefully move the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent pipe from the back of the dryer. You may need to remove a duct clamp or duct tape.

03 of 04

Clear away lint.

Clean out any lint with an extendable dryer vent pipe brush. These are available at most home-goods stores.

Move the brush back and forth in a circular motion through the detached vent pipe, wall piping, and dryer opening. It should feel like snaking a bathroom drain to unclog it.

04 of 04

Remove the vent cover.

Take off the vent cover on the outside of your home and clean from that direction, too. This may not be possible for every home.

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