How to clean and maintain your clothes dryer

clothes-dryer-maintenance

 

When it comes to keeping your clothes fresh and clean, few appliances see more regular usage than your dryer. After the clothes go through the washer, your dryer can take wet clothes and dry them in minutes. Rather than having to wait hours for them to air dry, you can finish your load of laundry while you watch a TV show. However, the dryer is often overlooked by many homeowners when it comes to household cleaning and maintenance.

Dryers also need regular maintenance to work well and avoid potential fire hazards. Regular upkeep can help keep your family and home safe, improve the appliance’s energy efficiency and keep the machine working well for years to come.

In this article we’ll explore the importance of taking care of your dryer and provide some basic dryer maintenance tips you can use to keep your dryer clean and in peak condition. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The importance of dryer maintenance: Fire hazards

Despite the convenience of clothes dryers, we cannot overstate the threat they pose as a fire hazard. The biggest risk when failing to maintain this appliance is dryer fires. Dryers cause nearly 3,000 house fires each year, which means a lack of proper maintenance can quickly put you and anyone else in the home at increased risk.

Clothing gives off lint, which can quickly clog up parts of the dryer. Failing to empty the lint trap when you use the appliance and clean out the exhaust vent periodically can result in a buildup of lint, which can then quickly catch fire and threaten the home. Therefore, paying attention to your lint filter and taking care to remove lint buildup is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do.

The cost of dryer repairs and replacements

Taking regular care of your dryer can also help you maximize the appliance’s life span. When dryers aren’t well-maintained, their components wear down faster and they do not work as well as they should. 

A lack of regular proper care will also affect the overall performance of the dryer. For example, you might quickly find your dryer has a clog, which leads to a much longer drying time. Dryer runs will continue to increase as the appliance struggles to expel the moisture. This means you will have to run the machine for longer periods of time to achieve the same result, reducing its efficiency and shortening the life span of the appliance parts.

Repairing and replacing dryer parts can also put a large dent in your wallet. Calling a technician to repair your dryer can cost an average of $100 to $430, and increases quickly even for common repairs like the dryer belt. A dryer belt costs an average of $200 for a technician to come and replace it.

For those who decide their appliance is not worth the repair costs and want to replace their dryer, they will still need to pay a considerable amount of money. The cheapest electric dryers, which typically cost a little less than gas options, start at around $445, while the most expensive gas dryers can cost around $2,100.

Fortunately, if you have trouble with your dryer and other major appliances, a home appliance warranty from Cinch Home Services can help you cover the costs and provide pre-screened and qualified service pro to work on the repair or replacement. With our Appliances Plan, you can rest easy knowing Cinch will keep your home up and running fast and protect your budget by reducing the cost of expensive repair and replacement bills.

 

How to clean your clothes dryer

 

Keeping your clothes dryer clean will help your clothes come out fresh after each load. Here are the basic steps to follow when cleaning this important appliance.

  1. To clean your clothes dryer, you will want to start with your lint screen and trap. Clean this out after each use by removing the lint and regularly vacuuming the lint trap, as well. 
  2. Particularly if you use dryer sheets or fabric softener, you may have hidden buildup on your lint screen. Giving the trap a little scrub with soap and water can help remove this residue.
  3. Wipe down the inside of the dryer drum with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth every few weeks. This can help you remove any dust or dirt on the inside, so it does not cling to the next load you need to dry.
  4. Detach the dryer lint duct and use a duster or vacuum to remove any built up lint or debris.

 

How to maintain your clothes dryer

Besides cleaning the dryer, you also need to maintain your appliance. These maintenance steps can help protect the parts involved so they continue to work as optimally as possible. A well-maintained machine will cost less to run, as it will operate more efficiently, helping you save money on repair or replacement costs.

  1. Clean out the vent. While you need to clean out the lint trap after each use, you also want to clean out the dryer vent one to two times per year, depending on how often you use your dryer. To clean out the vent system, you will need to turn it off and unplug the dryer. Then, detach the vent from the back of the dryer. Using a vent cleaning tool you can get at a hardware store; you can clean out any debris or buildup in the vent.
  2. While you have the vent disconnected, you also want to give it a close inspection. Look for signs of damage to be repaired. To maintain airflow, you can also check for any signs of obstructions in your vent.
  3. You also want to go outside and clean the outside vent opening. Make sure nothing is blocking the air from exiting the home and clean off any dust or lint around the opening.
  4. While you have the dryer disconnected, vacuum underneath and around the dryer to get rid of any dust and lint buildup around the appliance. 
  5. Make sure the machine is balanced. It is also important to ensure the dryer is balanced when in use. An off-balanced dryer can cause other parts of the dryer to work harder than necessary to accomplish the same job. Therefore, check your dryer regularly to make sure it is balanced. It should not shake or rattle while in use.

Staying on top of these maintenance tasks can help extend the life span of your dryer. You will also want to read about your specific model to see if the manufacturer has any other recommendations unique to your appliance.

However, in between maintenance tasks, one of the most important steps you can take to protect your appliance is to avoid overloading it. Putting in too many wet clothes from the washing machine can lead to unnecessary stress on the machinery in the appliance. A large load of laundry like this will wear parts out faster. It will not dry your clothes effectively, which can leave clothes sitting damp for extended periods of time. With more clothes in the dryer, it may also increase the lint buildup. Check your owner’s manual to make sure you understand the recommended capacity of your dryer.

 

Protect your dryer from costly repairs with Cinch

In taking care of your dryer, staying on top of the cleaning and maintenance is only one part of the equation. The other important step is investing in a Cinch home warranty. Our Appliances plan can help protect your dryer and other covered major appliances if they need repairs or replacements because of normal wear and tear. Cinch makes it easy to find the right coverage for your needs, with the ability to choose a deductible within your budget.

Purchasing a home appliance warranty buys you the peace of mind you deserve. Get a free quote today from Cinch.

Taking care of your dryer can help you prolong the life of the appliance and protect your home. Here are some dryer maintenance and cleaning tips.