Cleaning the Dryer Lint Trap

Why Should I Clean My Dryer Lint Filter?

Emptying your lint trap after every dry cycle is basic maintenance for your clothes dryer and is absolutely essential in order to prevent your dryer from setting on fire–so if you don’t already do it, start now! Heck, start yesterday!

OK, so assuming you already know that you need to empty your lint trap regularly, let’s talk about how you can (and you should) take cleaning your dryer lint trap to a new level by scrubbing it once every 6 months.

Why do you need to deep clean your lint trap? Well, tiny particles of lint can get stuck in the filter screen, and even more importantly, if you use any fabric softener in your laundry, it will actually start to build up a greasy residue on the mesh of the filter that will prevent air from passing through. When this happens, your dryer becomes way less effective and you increase your risk of fire, too.

Cleaning your dryer lint filter is really easy to do, it just requires finding a product that will dissolve the greasy residue that is caught on the mesh. We’ll discuss some options below.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Dryer Lint Filter?

Smell that? It’s the smell of almost dry clothes. You know what we’re talking about. It’s that musty, wet-towel-left-in-the-bathroom-too-long smell. We hate that smell. You hate that smell. And if you don’t clean your lint trap, your dryer won’t dry your clothes, and you’ll be wafting off that humid stench to all your coworkers and loved ones. No one gets promoted when they smell like damp moss.

You could also start a fire. So there’s that.

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Step-By-Step

  • 1. Find your lint trap.
    • Find your lint trap: in most dryers, it is found on the inside rim of the dryer. There is a pull out handle attached to the filter. You just have to pull on it lightly and it should pop right out.

      Next Step
  • 2. Empty the lint trap.
    • Empty the lint trap. Wipe off any lint and dispose of it in the garbage.

      Next Step
  • 3. Bring the trap to an empty sink.
    • Remove the lint trap and bring it over to an empty sink.

      Next Step
  • 4. Wash it.
    • Use a deep-cleaning solution and scrub brush to wash the filter. Regular dish soap might not be enough to cut through the oil of the fabric softener residue, so add some vinegar to a mixture of dish soap and water before you start scrubbing. You can also use a cleaning spray like Lysol or Clorox to cut through the grime, but make sure you rinse the filter very thoroughly to prevent any of the chemicals in the spray from getting in your dryer or on your clothes.

      Next Step
  • 5. Rinse the lint trap.
    • Run a light trickle of water over the lint trap. If the lint trap retains any water, that’s a good sign that it requires more cleaning. A totally clean filter should not hold any water. Any stains on the lint trap are another sign that it needs more scrubbing. When it is totally clean, you can set it out to dry on a towel.

      Next Step
  • 6. Reinstall the lint trap.
    • Reinstall the lint trap. You should be able to easily push the lint trap back into its place in your dryer. There might be arrows on the lint trap to show which direction it slides in.

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