Clothes dryers have simplified the everyday laundry process. Instead of hanging clothes out and waiting for them to air-dry, you can check laundry off your to-do list in a few hours. Though clothes dryers offer many benefits to the modern household, maintaining them is imperative.

If dryers are not maintained properly, it can lead to dangerous circumstances. Dryer lint buildup can cause fires, and these fires can be fatal. While most people know to clean the lint filter out with each use, there are other regular maintenance items to keep up with if you want to ensure your home is safe and that your appliance is in good shape.

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Maintaining Your Dryer

We’ve researched the best dryer maintenance tips and tricks to help you save time and energy, money on utility bills, prevent fire hazards, and prolong the life span of your dryer. Read on to learn more.

Keep the Lint Trap Clean

You should clean the lint trap before each load of laundry. Clearing the lint screen is one of the simplest safety precautions to follow and will improve the functionality of your appliance. When the lint trap is clear, air flows more freely. When it’s blocked, the dryer needs to run longer, making for more wear and tear.

Deep Clean the Lint Screen

Even though you clean the lint trap every laundry day, the screen needs a deep cleaning every three months. Apply a bit of laundry detergent and rinse it thoroughly until all built-up gunk is removed. It’s even possible to run your lint screen through the dishwasher — this will ensure that any caked-on residue from dryer sheets is washed off, and your dryer will run more efficiently.

Wipe Down the Drum

Dryer sheet and fabric softener residue can build up inside the drum, causing your dryer to work harder. Giving the drum a light cleaning once a month will reduce the buildup of residue. Gently wipe the inside of the dryer using a microfiber cloth and some rubbing alcohol, and allow it to dry. Doing so will remove any buildup and keep things running smoothly.

Avoid Overloading Your Dryer

If you put a large amount of wet clothing in your dryer, it has to run longer to get everything dry. And, if it doesn’t dry everything fully, things may end up smelling like mildew. If you’re regularly overloading your dryer, it will deteriorate faster because it’s constantly working and using more energy. By not overloading your dryer, you’ll save money and avoid the wear and tear of heavy use.

Resist Overdrying Your Clothes

Overdrying isn’t just hard on your clothes but also on your dryer. Constant, excessive heat can damage sensitive components and wear out your machine. Luckily, many dryers have a moisture sensor setting that turns the dryer off automatically at the end of the drying cycle. For homeowners that hate constant trips to the laundry room, using the moisture sensor setting will make life easier, protect your dryer, and help prevent hazards.

Upgrade to a Rigid Metal Duct

Many dryers are equipped with plastic or foil accordion-style ducts. These can sag and create pockets for lint to build up and cause clogs in low points or ridges. If the lint builds up to the point that it restricts airflow, your clothes won’t dry properly, and it will create conditions conducive to a dryer fire. A rigid metal duct has a smooth interior, allowing maximum airflow and reducing lint buildup. 

Clean the Duct Once a Year

Homeowners should do a deep cleaning of the dryer duct and exhaust vent annually. You can do this by disconnecting the duct from the dryer and vacuuming the vent with the long attachment of your vacuum. There is also a special lint brush designed for duct cleaning, which you can use with a vacuum. Use the brush to break up any lint buildup, and vacuum it up as you move it through the duct. 

Separating the duct into shorter sections will give you better access and make cleaning easier. However, you’ll need to reassemble and ensure all the duct joints are connected properly. If this isn’t something you feel confident you can manage on your own, a professional dryer vent cleaning service can assist.

Protect Your Dryer With a Home Warranty

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One way to protect your dryer long-term is with a home warranty. More specifically, home warranty coverage will help with the costs of replacing or repairing your dryer should anything go wrong. In addition, a good home warranty provider will also help you find a qualified professional to perform your appliance repair. It can be frustrating and disorienting when things go wrong with your appliances. Home warranties remove stress and help you quickly get back to your routine.

Final Thoughts

If you want to extend the life of your dryer, the best way to do that is to keep it clean. Regularly cleaning your dryer and vents ensures proper ventilation and long-term functionality.

Editorial Contributors
Alora Bopray

Alora Bopray

Staff Writer

Alora Bopray is a digital content producer for the home warranty, HVAC, and plumbing categories at Today's Homeowner. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of St. Scholastica and her master's degree from the University of Denver. Before becoming a writer for Today's Homeowner, Alora wrote as a freelance writer for dozens of home improvement clients and informed homeowners about the solar industry as a writer for EcoWatch. When she's not writing, Alora can be found planning her next DIY home improvement project or plotting her next novel.

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Roxanne Downer


Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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