8 tips for maintaining a clothes dryer

There are really only two things that will muck up your clothes dryer's function: lint and airflow problems. Follow these tips to keep your dryer in working order.

8 tips for maintaining a clothes dryer

1. Clean lint from the dryer's lint screen

  • You should always remove the lint before starting the dryer.
  • At least twice a year, augment your de-linting using a skinny, long-handled dryer vent brush, available at home centres and online. Insert the brush into the lint-screen vent, and twist it to grab and remove lint from the vent.

2. Wash the lint screen

  • Remove your dryer's lint screen and stick it under a running faucet.
  • If the water beads up and rolls off, your screen is probably clogged. Scrub the lint screen with mild soap and an old toothbrush, and let it air dry before replacing it.

3. Vacuum underneath the dryer

  • Every six months or so, remove the dryer's toe panel and vacuum as much dust and lint as you can. For fire safety reasons, cleaning out the lint here is particularly important on gas dryers.

4. Clean the dryer duct

  • Brush out the duct from the dryer end first, and then do the same from the outside vent hood, working inward toward the dryer. And while the dryer is pulled out and disconnected from the duct, vacuum the duct connection, too.

5. Watching for wildlife

  •  Make sure that your dryer's outside vent hood has a louvered door and a basket-style cover to keep out rodents, birds, and other critters that seek a warm, dry place to nest. Choose a cover that snaps off so that you can clean the ducts easily.

6. Do without fabric softening dryer sheets

  • Those sneaky little things can clog the dryer's exhaust vent. You might be able to do without dryer sheets altogether and still avoid static cling by setting the dryer's auto-dry level a little lower, or by using liquid fabric softener.

7. Cleaning the moisture sensor

  •  If your dryer can sense whether clothes are wet, damp, or dry, it has a moisture sensor. Check the manual to find out where the sensor is.
  • When the sensor is coated with that waxy, dryer-sheet residue, it's less effective. Give the sensor a squirt of gentle all-purpose cleaner and a quick wipe.

8. Use a tissue to test the seal on your dryer door

  • With your dryer going, run a piece of thin paper around the edge of the door. If it's sucked in, the dryer door gasket isn't sealing.
  • Note your dryer's make and model and order a replacement from an appliance-parts store or online.
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