Keeping dryer vent lines clean and free of obstruction is not only a question of home cleanliness, but also safety. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, some 15,000 home fires each year might be prevented if clothing dryer vents were cleaned properly. Having the correct brushes to clean vent lines makes this task easy, which means you'll be more likely to perform the job on a regular basis.
Choosing Brushes to Clean Dryer Vents
There are many dryer vent cleaning brushes on the market; choosing the one that's right for your vent is important. Find out the dimensions of your own vent so that you get a brush that is capable of tackling the job. These brushes all get good reviews:
- Northline Express brushes feature a very fat brush tip and long, flexible handles to get to those hard-to-reach areas. They can also be used on some stoves.
- The Flylady, one of the most popular websites for those who think they're hopeless at cleaning, offers an inexpensive, complete dryer vent cleaning kit that includes brushes, long slinky handles to reach into the crevices, and a vacuum attachment. Instructions are included so that even those who have never cleaned a dryer vent can do so safely and get pristine results.
- Range Kleen offers an attachment for a vacuum that can be used to clean up to a 10-foot dryer vent.
Importance of Dryer Brushes
While dryer vents can sometimes be cleaned with a high-powered vacuum cleaner, long piping, or pipes in which several twists exist, cannot be cleaned with a vacuum. If you have cleaned your vents with the vacuum, but notice signs that your vent may not be free of debris, a special dryer brush should be added into the cleaning routine. Find out where your dryer vent goes between the dryer and the outside wall of your home. If there are twists and turns in the pipe, getting a dryer vent brush to tackle the job is imperative.
When a dryer vent brush scrapes the insides of the vent, dried up debris dislodges itself from the pipe interior. This debris is simply lint from the dryer, but as it gets stuck in the dryer vent piping, this lint hardens due to all the hot air coming through the pipe. If the pipe and debris reach a certain heat, a fire similar to a chimney fire can start. The best way to prevent this from happening is to regularly clean the vent with a brush that can reach all areas of the vent and that is abrasive enough to loosen hardened debris from the dryer.
Regular Brush Cleaning
While thorough cleaning of dryer vents with an abrasive brush by no means needs to be part of a weekly cleaning regimen, it is a job that can easily be put off every week and eventually never get done. A good rule of thumb is to schedule in two yearly dates for brushing the dryer vents, such as Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, or the days when you change the clocks; any two days that are easy to remember are good ones. It is also a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner on the vent once a month in order to prevent a buildup of lint in the vent.
If you don't have regularly-scheduled cleaning moments for your dryer's vents, you can also observe when your vent is likely clogged by the performance and temperature of the dryer. One signal that the dryer vent may be clogged is that clothes are taking much longer to dry than normally. Yet another signal is the heat within the dryer itself. If your clothes are too hot to touch when you reach inside the dryer to pull them out, the vents may need to be cleaned. Air flow out of the dryer may be compromised by a clogged vent.
Safe and Functioning Dryer
The benefits of regular deep cleaning with a brush are numerous. Not only will your clothes dry quickly and efficiently, but your home will also be safe as far as the dryer is concerned. A clogged vent means that your dryer is working overtime to dry your clothes, costing you and the environment precious amounts of electricity, causing wear and tear on your garments, and possibly overheating, creating a fire risk. For best performance and safety, keep your dryer's vents clean with regular heavy brushing sessions paired with vacuuming to clean out loose debris.