Cleaning Dryer Vents

Last week my washing machine died. The agitator went belly up, but that wasn’t the worst of it. When the fix-it guy came over, he accidently ripped the dryer vent hose. Needless to say, I had a ton of cleaning to do when he left.

Unlike some homeowners, who have their laundry rooms in the basement, we have ours on the main floor. This means that the dryer vent lines snake around the interior walls and often gets clogged with lint. When the mechanic went to fix the dryer vent he also helped clear the line and gave me some cleaning tips. He stressed the importance of cleanings the vent on a regular basis and scared me with stories about how lint build-up can cause serious fires.

To clean a dryer vent you can use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment. The pitfall of using this method is that depending on the position of your dryer vent pipe, you may not be able to extract all of the lint. If you have a pipe that twists and turns a lot, then I would suggest purchasing a specialty brush that is designed to clean dryer vents.

There is a wide array of dryer vent cleaning brushes on the market. In order to choose the one that best suits your needs, it’s important to determine the length of the dryer vent pipe that leads to the outside. If it is exceptionally long then you will want to purchase a brush with an extra-long handle.

Williams-Sonoma sells a dryer cleaning brush with a 30-inch head and alternate 36-inch head for wider areas. It also features a pole, which flexes like a plumbing snake, and helps get the brush into the duct work. Another option is Northline Express’ brush, which features an extra-thick tip and a long, flexible handle. Brookstone also offers a dryer cleaning brush with a 12-foot handle. This works well if you have a lot of ductwork to clean.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.