Clean Your Dryer Exhaust in 5 Easy Steps

Posted on Jul 15, 2019

So you’ve decided to clean your dryer duct yourself. If so, good for you! Air duct cleaning is a necessary part of dryer maintenance and fire prevention.

It seems like a daunting process but actually, it’s not. Cleaning the dryer exhaust duct can be done in 5 easy steps. You’ll be back to laundry in no time!

Why clean the duct?

You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to clean the air duct?” The answer is easy – because they get dirty. The lint from your clothes continuously packs into the system and causes it to stop working efficiently. And while cleaning the filter after each load helps, it doesn’t stop all of the lint. Thus, it’s important to keep that dryer exhaust clean and clear. Doing so will keep the machine working properly and will also play a part in fire prevention.

dryer exhaust

5 step process

Cleaning the dryer exhaust is as simple as 5 easy steps. You can do it yourself with just a few tools, a cleaning kit, and about an hour of your time.  

Buy a kit

First things first – you need to buy a dryer exhaust cleaning kit from your local hardware store or from Amazon. It should come with a brush head and flexible rods, and it may also be compatible with your power drill for deeper cleaning. 

Be sure to do plenty of research, and make sure you are getting one that is also long enough for your home. Some homes have very long dryer exhaust ducts, ranging from 12-24ft. Others only have 3-5ft from the dryer to the outside vent. Look your dryer over thoroughly before buying a kit to ensure you are buying one that is long enough.

Unplug the machine

When you have your dryer exhaust kit ready, then you need to unplug the dryer from the outlet and pull it out from the wall. Pull it out at least a foot, preferably two or three, to give you plenty of access to the wall and the exhaust duct.

Unplugging the machine is very important, even if you aren’t technically using it. You never know when the electricity may surge or little tiny hands may press buttons they shouldn’t. Thus, it’s better to be safe and unplug everything completely before doing any work. 

Remove the duct

Once the dryer has been unplugged and removed from the wall, it’s time to remove the dryer vent. This is usually a metal, accordion-looking tube attached to your dryer and then to the wall. 

To remove the dryer vent, pinch the prongs holding it onto the dryer and then slide it off. If you’re having trouble doing this, try using a pair of pliers. If there is a clamp over the hose, loosen the screw on the side first. 

Once the dryer vent has been removed from the dryer and the wall, gently set it on the floor. It’s probably very dirty so don’t be alarmed if there is a lot of dust coming out of it. There’s going to be a lot more where that came from!

Clean the duct

Now that the vent has been removed, it’s time for the fun part! Head outside with your dryer exhaust cleaning vent and find the exit point of your dryer exhaust on the side of your home. Oftentimes, this is on the side of your home. You can spot it because it looks like a little white box with slits in it. This protects the vent from animals getting inside it while allowing air to escape.

Once spotted, remove the cover and then go inside to prep your kit depending on the length of your vent. It’s okay not to know the exact length of it, just guesstimate. You can always add to it if the first attempt wasn’t long enough. 

When you’re ready, you can then gently insert the brush into the vent and spin it as you push inwards. This will help collect the lint and dust while pushing everything towards the outside.

If you got a kit that allows drill use, you can use it at this time. However, be sure to read the packaging and make sure you’re using it properly. Otherwise, you may cause damage to the duct. 

When you’re done cleaning the vent, go back outside and check the ground. It’s probably filthy with dust and lint. If so, that’s a good thing! It means that you did a great job cleaning the exhaust out.

Re-secure the duct

As soon as you’re done cleaning the ducts out, you’re probably going to want to spend some time cleaning up the ground and surrounding areas. Use your hands to pick up the large pieces of lint and then use a blower to get rid of everything else. 

Afterwards, go ahead and re-secure the duct to the machine. Attach it to the back of the machine, making sure there is a snug fit. Then, re-secure any clamps you may have had on there. This makes sure the duct doesn’t come off the machine when in use.

And there you have it! After 5 easy steps and a quick hour, you’ve got a freshly cleaned dryer exhaust duct and a very happy dryer.

Professional guidance

Are you still unsure how to clean your dryer exhaust, or would you prefer to have a professional do the hard work? No problem!

AIRPRO Indoor Air Solutions is family-owned and operated in Hawaii. We take your home and HVAC cleaning very seriously and we’d be happy to assist you.

Give us a call today and let’s get your dryer working like new again!