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

By Katie Holdefehr
August 26, 2020
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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
Credit: Getty Images

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

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1 Unplug the dryer.

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

2 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. 

3 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.

4 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.