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How To Clean Lint From A Dryer Vent


There are lots of reasons you don't want your clothes dryer vent to be clogged with lint. Dryer vent fires cost tens of thousands of dollars of damage each year, yet homeowners seldom think about the issue. In addition to causing fires, a plugged up dryer vent costs you money by making your dryer work harder, using more electricity. You can either call a chimney sweep to do the job for you, or try and do it yourself using tools available at your local hardware store. Here is how to clean your dryer vent and what tools you need to get started.

The first step is to purchase a dryer cleaning brush, such as the one seen in the photo below. These consist of a bristled end about three to four inches in diameter, attached to a length of flexible, coiled metal or plastic.  You can find dryer cleaning brushes at stores such as Harbor Freight and Home Depot. You'll also probably need a screwdriver and a shop vac.

dryer vent cleaning brush

The next step in cleaning your dryer vent is to pull your dryer away from the wall. It's not a bad idea to turn off the breaker to the washer and dryer for safety. Next, disconnect the dryer vent hose from where it goes into the wall. You may want to take the entire hose assembly off, by detaching it from the dryer as well so that you can clean it with the brush.

After cleaning the dryer vent hose, begin to feed the dryer vent cleaning brush into the duct in the wall. Be gentle so you don't punch a hole in the vent duct material and push and pull on the stem of the cleaning brush until you work it as far as it will go into the wall. Next, pull it out, vacuum up the lint that comes up and repeat the process until you don't get any more lint out of the duct.  Now it's time to go outside of the house and locate where your dryer vent exits the home. You may need a ladder, as seen in the photo below to reach it.

photo of dryer vent on home exterior

Depending on what type of vent cover you have, you may have to remove the whole cover, or just a piece of screen covering the exit. Once you have done so, insert the dryer vent cleaning brush into the pipe, pushing and pulling in small increments until you have the stem all the way inside, or as far as it will go. You can have the dryer on as you do this, just wear safety glasses so lint and dirt doesn't get in your eyes. Most dryer vent brushes have a stem of about eight feet long. If you need more length, you can attach a piece of rigid copper wire to the stem to make it longer, as seen in the first photo. Repeat the cleaning process several times until no more lint comes out. Once you are finished, replace the cover. That's how to clean your dryer vent of lint and dirt. It's an easy job that can be done in about half an hour. If in doubt about your abilities, call a chimney sweep in your area.




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