DIY Guide On Dryer Vent Cleaning

Clogged dryer vents waste energy, prolong drying times, and pose fire risks from excessive lint accumulation. Proper dryer vent cleaning is essential maintenance for efficiency and home safety.

While hiring vent cleaning professionals may be easier, DIY cleaning costs little, provides satisfying hands-on skills, and allows customizing the process to your system’s specific needs. Here is a complete guide on how to go about dryer vent cleaning as a handy homeowner.

1. Turn Off Electrical Breakers And Gas Valves

Start any dryer vent cleaning project by shutting off the breaker and supplying power to your dryer/washing machine wall outlet. This prevents electric shock hazards while cleaning.

Additionally, if your dryer runs on natural gas, locate the external gas cut-off valve adjacent to the unit and turn it perpendicular to the pipe to halt the gas flow.

If you switch the main breaker off, unplug the dryer from its wall outlet. Avoid assuming turning off the breaker is sufficient, as old wiring may still pose current risks.

2. Clean Vent Duct Interiors Thoroughly

With ductwork detached, use a specialized dryer vent brush kit. Kits feature long poles extending 6 feet or more, allowing them to reach entire duct lengths from one access point without needing to dismantle sections.

Attach chosen diameter round or rim brushes to access rods. Determine the duct’s internal dimensions and use appropriately sized brushes, filling the circular shaft without excessive slack yet still maneuverable around bends.

Work the rotary brush vigorously up and down each straight duct length while slowly spinning the rod to scrub all interior surface areas.

Finish by performing a close visual inspection of duct interiors using flashlights, seeking any remaining caught debris.

3. Clean The Dryer’s Exhaust Vent Port

Over the years, usage has allowed significant compacted lint accumulation around and behind this ventilation grill, which is not caught by the machine’s lint filter. Material evading the filter gets blown out and sticks here.

Twist the brush across grill openings above and below while rotating the handle.

Pull off the vent cover on your machine if it is removable to gain unobstructed access to interior port housing. Brush thoroughly using vertical and horizontal scrubbing motions to extract packed dryer lint behind grill openings.

4. Clean The Exterior Vent Outside

The termination point of ductwork on external walls or roofs allows hot, humid exhaust air to leave while preventing outdoor air from infiltrating back inside.

Use detail brushes and crevice tools to thoroughly extract compacted lint deposits around damper flap joints.

Check flap motion, ensuring they fully close without obstruction and seal correctly. Remove any debris caught in the assembly.

Avoid aggressive drilling or scraping on flaps; gentle brushing removes most external dryer vent lint buildup.

Ensure the duct collar reconnects airtight when reassembling the exterior vent outlet. Seal gaps with metal foil HVAC tape to prevent moisture incursion and pest entry.

5. Access And Clean Duct Intervals

Some longer dryer vent duct runs feature intermediate access hatches along their length rather than just being accessible at endpoints.

Hatches allow inspecting and cleaning the duct without needing full disassembly. Open any vent duct access panels along the run and repeat the internal scrubbing process using appropriately sized brushes at that spot.

Use vacuum attachments to extract all loosened debris from the opened access hatch without letting any fall behind walls or spaces—Reseal access panels carefully upon completion.

6. Deep Clean Lint Filter Housing

Heavy residue accumulation packed into the cavity and lint screen frame gaps obstruct airflow greatly but stay hidden when replacing filters.

Use narrow vent brushes to dislodge packed-in lint around the cavity. Avoid surface-level brushing; dig into crevices around the rim and side walls to extract stuck lint and residue.

Finish by vacuuming all the loosened packed lint from the empty cavity using attachments before reinstalling the lint screen firmly back into position and replacing the housing correctly.

7. Safely Reconnect Dryer Vent Ductwork

With interior dryer vent cleaning services complete, reconnect any disassembled dryer vent ductwork leading outdoors as labeled during initial dismantling.

Avoid leaving loose segments, risking leaks or disconnections, and allowing lint to blow free rather than channeling outdoors. Restore circuit breaker and gas valve operation, turning power and fuel back on.