You open the dryer, and soggy sweaters greet you. What, the what? Your dryer lint trap is probably to blame. While it's strangely satisfying to peel off that thin layer and chuck it out, dryer lint trap cleaning doesn't end there. If you remove the lint and your clothes are still damp, you might have a clogged screen. Avoid soggy anything by learning how to routinely clean your dryer lint trap. Get an added bonus by getting a step-by-step guide to de-lint your lint trap vent. Send soggy sweaters packing for good!
Everyday Cleaning for a Dryer Lint Trap
If you've got soggy sweater blues, it's time to get down to business and maintain your dyer lint trap. The traps need to have the lint pulled off after every load. Unfortunately, they aren't all in the same spot. Front loaders have the dryer lint screen in the door or on the top, while top loaders have it inside the door. And, if you can't find a dryer lint trap on your combo, it might be because you don't have one. Check your manual if you are having trouble locating your dryer lint trap. Once you've located it, cleaning it is pretty easy.
- Grab the screen and pull it straight up.
- Remove the lint with your fingers.
- Use a dry cloth if you are struggling to scrape it off.
- Throw the lint away.
- Put the trap back in.
Some dryer lint traps might have screws you need to remove, so keep a screwdriver handy.
Monthly Cleaning for Dryer Lint Trap Screen
Regularly cleaning the lint screen keeps everything working nicely. However, fabric softener and dryer sheets can clog those screen holes without you even noticing. This can lead to your dryer taking longer to dry (aka soggy clothes) because the air isn't flowing.
To figure out if your screen is clogged, try to run water through it. If the water doesn't run through easily, you'll want to grab a few things to get it clean.
- Scrubbing brush
- Vacuum with attachment
Before getting started, take a good look at your screen. Holes or tears mean it needs replacing, since the lint will just get sucked through. If your screen is tear-free, then give it a good wash to remove residue.
- Remove all the lint from the screen.
- Use the vacuum to remove anything your fingers can't get.
- Fill a bucket with warm water.
- Add a teaspoon of detergent and agitate the water.
- Let the screen soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Use the scrubbing brush to scrub away any remaining residue.
- Rinse and see if water goes through the screen. If it doesn't, soak and scrub longer.
- Towel the screen dry.
- Allow it to air dry completely.
You want to make sure the screen is completely dry before adding it back to the dryer. If you put it in wet, the lint won't come off in that satisfying clump but will take more work.
Deep Cleaning for Dryer Lint Traps
Is your trap really clogged? If the detergent method isn't cutting it to get the air flowing through your screen, it's time to bring out the big guns.
Peroxide and Laundry Detergent
Hydrogen peroxide isn't just for cleaning cuts - it's a necessity in your cleaning cubby. Grab a bottle and head to the laundry room.
- Mix ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of detergent in a spray bottle.
- Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water.
- Spray down the screen.
- Scrub the screen vigorously on both sides.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Hold up to the light to check the residue.
- Repeat as necessary.
White Vinegar and Baking Soda
White vinegar and baking soda can clean your dryer lint trap too. The reaction does most of the work for you, so you get to sit back and watch the magic happen.
- Put a tablespoon of detergent in a spray bottle.
- Fill with white vinegar.
- Spray down the lint trap and scrub both sides.
- Coat the entire dryer lint trap in baking soda.
- Spray down the screen with straight white vinegar.
- Allow it to fizz.
- Scrub both sides with the scrub brush.
- Rinse and repeat as necessary until clean.
Leftover denture tabs can also work to your advantage when it comes to cleaning dryer screen residue. Grab them when hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar aren't handy.
- Fill a bucket with water.
- Add a few denture tabs.
- Leave the screen in the water for about 20-30 minutes.
- Scrub with the brush on both sides.
- If you still have residue, add more tabs and soak again.
How to Remove Excess Lint in Screen Vent
Unclogging your lint trap screen is essential, but that doesn't mean that your job is done. Take a peek at your lint screen vent. Do you see a lot of lint just hanging out? Don't leave it there to clog things up. You need to get it out. To do this, you need:
- Wrapping paper tube
- Painter's tape
- Microfiber cloth
- Rubber band
- Fly swatter
Use Your Vacuum to Clean Lint Vent
The lint vent isn't very big, so getting in there can be a bit tricky. Most attachments aren't long enough to get down in there and suck up the grime. That's where an old wrapping paper tube can come in really handy.
- Stick the wrapping paper tube over the hose of your vacuum.
- Use the painter's tape to secure it in place and avoid leaks.
- Pinch the end to fit perfectly in the narrow hole.
- Suck up the lint.
- Run it along the bottom and edges to make sure to capture every last bit.
Clean With Microfiber Cloth
The vacuum and wrapping paper tube worked pretty well, but you may still have some hard-to-reach stuff showing its linty head.
- Put a microfiber cloth over a fly swatter.
- Rubber band it in place.
- Rub it back and forth in the slot.
- Remove lint and repeat.
For a little added bonus, you can slide the microfiber cloth under the dryer to remove any lint that's hiding there.
Dryer Lint Trap vs. Dryer Vent Cleaning
Your dryer screen is your first line of defense against lint. That's why cleaning it out is so important. But your dryer lint trap isn't going to catch all of it. Some inevitably slips by, so if you notice that your dryer is starting to take longer to dry and your dryer lint trap is clean, it's time to clean out the dryer vent. This is a bit more involved than just cleaning your lint screen.
Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Dryer Lint Free and Running Smoothly
Lint trap cleaning isn't just to keep your dryer running smoothly and your clothes dry; it's also a safety issue. Built-up lint can cause a house fire. Keep your dryer clean and yourself safe with these tips.
- Clean your dryer lint filter after every load.
- Wipe under the dryer to remove lint accumulation.
- Clean your clogged screen about once a month, especially if you use dryer sheets.
- Deep clean your dryer every six months to a year.
- Remove lint buildup near the vent.
- Avoid placing items close to the dryer.
Keep Your Dryer Lint Trap Clean
You might not think of your dryer lint trap beyond just removing lint after a load of laundry. But, it's important to check it for clogs and clean it regularly. You also want to check your dryer lint vent every 6-8 weeks to ensure it's cleared out. Grab your scrub brush and get cleaning, and if you need to remove any stains on your dryer, you are covered here too.