How to Do Dryer Duct Cleaning

What You'll Need
Plumbing snake or other tool for removing debris from the vent hose
Sponge or rag
Vacuum cleaner or shop vac
Gloves and dust mask

Cleaning your dryer duct is a simple and important part of maintaining your home or commercial dryer. Making sure the ducts are clear of lint and debris will help air circulate better to your dryer, and can help prevent accidental fires. It is recommended that your dryer vents be properly cleaned twice a year to prevent buildup of lint, for your safety and the long life of your machine.

Step 1- Unplug the Dryer

To ensure your safety, the dryer should be unplugged before you begin. Carefully pull the dryer forward away from the wall so that you can see the power cord, vent, and outlet. Carefully unplug the electric cord from the wall before you take any further steps.

Step 2- Remove the Vent

To remove the vent from the back of the dryer, you will need your screwdriver. Loosen the vent clamp that holds the flexible vent hose in place and carefully remove it from the back of the dryer. Remove the aluminum elbow.

Step 3- Check for Lint and Debris

Look inside the aluminum elbow pipe for lint or debris. Use your hand or sponge to wipe it clean. Use your flashlight to inspect the flexible vent hose for similar debris. You can probably remove most of the lint and debris with your hand, but a Plumbing Snake can help you push anything out that may be hard to reach. If you do not have a plumbing snake, you can use a wooden dowel or a straightened aluminum coat hanger, but be careful not to rip a hole in the vent pipe. A vacuum cleaner or shop vac can be used after you have removed the large bits of debris, to help clear the vent of any remaining dust.

Step 4- Clean the Hole in the Back of the Dryer

Reach inside the hole where the vent attaches to the back of the dryer and check for debris in the same manner as you did with the hose.  You can use the vacuum or shop vac again here to ensure the area is clean. Next, wash the edges of the hole with a sponge, water, and a gentle detergent. This helps get rid of soap scum, which lint will stick to and cause clogs. Dry the area thoroughly.

Step 5- Clean the Area behind the Dryer

Sweep up and dispose of the lint, debris, and dust that came loose while you cleaned. It is a good idea to clean the floor and wall with a sponge or mop before you finish, as any loose or dry materials back there may cause a fire.

Step 6- Re-attach the Vent Hose

Slide the hose back onto the aluminum elbow, and using your screwdriver, tighten the clamp. Slide the vent hose and aluminum elbow back into place on the dryer.

Step 7- Clean the Vent Hose on the outside of the House

Locate the opposite end of the vent, which should be going through the wall behind the dryer. Remove the vent cover and use the plumbing snake or other tool to make sure the vent pipe is clear of debris. Vacuum this pipe as well to ensure that it is lint and dust free. Replace the vent cover when you are done.

Step 8- Plug the Dryer Back in

Make sure the vent hose is properly attached and secured, then plug the dryer's power cord back into the outlet. Carefully slide the dryer back into place. Run the dryer for a few minutes to make sure that air is properly flowing through the vents.

Following these simple steps and cleaning your dryer vents at least twice a year will help your dryer run more efficiently and prevent accidental fires.