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How To Clean Dryer Vents (& What Can Happen if You Don’t)

Dryer Vent

Is your dryer taking too long to dry your clothes? Are you wondering how to clean the vent to make it function better?

Dryer vents are an essential part of the dryers that need constant cleaning and maintenance.If you do not keep them unclogged, they can have disastrous consequences like fire hazards.

According to the US Fire Administration, the reason for approximately 2,900 house fires yearly is blocked dryer vents. But the question is how to keep them clean.


The main culprit that blocks your dryer vents is lint buildup. You can easily clean it using a vacuum cleaner, cleaning kit, or a leaf blower.

The aim is to unclog the vent from all the debris and lint. It is essential to clean it every year; otherwise, it can have serious consequences, such as:

  • Fire hazard
  • Carbon monoxide buildup
  • More energy consumption
  • Dryer’s inefficient performance

Do you want to learn the step-by-step process of cleaning it? Read along as we share the in-depth guide to cleaning your dryer vent. Furthermore, we will also uncover the consequences of having a blocked duct for a long time.

How To Clean a Dryer Vent

Dyer Vent Hose Removed For Cleaning

Dryer vents are a hidden part of the appliance, but it doesn’t mean these vents do not need attention or maintenance. There are several tools to keep your ducts clean, but the process is relatively the same.

Tools Required

Man Holding A Screwdriver And A Cleaning Kit
  • Vacuum with a long hose attachment
  • Screwdriver
  • Dryer vent cleaning kit
  • Drill

Cleaning the Inside of the Vent

Cleaning The Inside Of The Vent Using A Vacuum Cleaner

Lint is the fiber that breaks up from your clothes and gets trapped in the lint trap filters and dryer vents. It is made of loose threads and small bits from your clothes that get detached during the drying process.

  1. Unplug the power cord and gas valve (if it is a gasoline-powered dryer).
  2. Pull the dryer away from the wall for easy access.
  3. Using a screwdriver, unclamp your vent and detach it from the dryer.
  4. Use the dryer vent brush to clean the vent from the inside, as it is the dirtiest part of the appliance with immense lint buildup.
  5. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the vent using a brush, use a vacuum cleaner with a long hose attachment. It will help remove the dirt from the deepest hidden dirty spots.
  6. After thoroughly cleaning the vent, attach it back to its place and tighten the clamp.
  7. Turn on the dryer and gas supply, and check if it works correctly.
  8. Avoid placing the dryer too close to the wall as it can break the vent or exhaust, causing further damage.
Tip for Cleaning

You can also wash the dryer screen in the dishwasher as, with time, it also gets clogged with fabric softener and oils from dryer sheets.

Cleaning From the Outside

Vent Window
  1. You will have access to the outside dryer if you live in a house. Unscrew the vent window using a screwdriver.
  2. Use a brush to remove any lint buildup at the outside of the vent. You can also use an outdoor vacuum cleaner to do the job.
  3. Place the window back after thoroughly cleaning it.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Dryer Vent

Dirty Dryer Vent

It is a good practice to clean the lint trap filter and dryer vent once a year to keep your dryer efficient. Several things can happen if you do not clean your dryer regularly.

Here are a few expected consequences of using a dryer with clogged vents.

Fire Hazard

Firefighter Using Fire Extinguisher

Contrary to popular belief, not all lint gets trapped in the lint filter; most of it goes beyond the filter and gets stuck in the dryer vents.

When the vent is clogged, it won’t be able to expel hot air from the dryer. As the air gets stuck, it can overheat the appliance resulting in a fire hazard.

If your dryer is placed near combustible liquids like rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, etc., or near highly flammable objects like bedding and aerosols, it can cause a damaging house fire.

Longer Drying Time

Dryer Having Longer Drying Time

We all like to have an efficient dryer that does the job in no time. If your dryer takes longer than usual, it can be due to the blocked vents.

As mentioned earlier, clogged ducts cannot expel hot moist air outside the home, making it stuck inside the dryer. Your clothes will take longer to dry as the drum will be filled with humid air.

More Energy Consumption

Man Reading Energy Bills

Dryers with clogged vents consume more energy as they exert more force to effectively spin and dry the clothes.

Keeping the ducts clean and maintained is better to save yourself from high bills and longer drying times.

Ductwork Rusting

Rusty Ductwork

The hot air stuck inside your dryer will find other ways to move out, such as the ductwork. The prolonged exposure to hot air will result in rusting of the ductwork and drywall damage.

Premature Dryer Repair and Replacement


No matter how advanced and efficient your dryer is, it will eventually wear out in no time if you do not keep it maintained and clean. Dryers need to work hard to dry clothes and do their job perfectly.

If the vents are blocked, the dryer doubles the effort, making it prone to premature repair or replacement.

Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Gas-Powered Dryer

You should be more diligent about dryer vent cleaning if you have a gas-powered dryer. These machines produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, highly lethal gas in significant concentrations during the drying process.

If the CO cannot escape the dryer vent due to blockage, it will start accumulating inside the room, making it a lethal environment for living.


The dryer vent is a hose that helps expel the hot air from your dryer. It is essential to keep it clean to avoid hazardous consequences such as house fires, high energy consumption, longer drying time, and poor performance. Cleaning the lint trap and dryer vent is relatively easy and can be done at home.

All you need is a vacuum cleaner and a brush with a long hose to deeply clean the lint and debris from the vent. You can clean your dryer vent thoroughly once a year to keep it working well for a long time.

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