What Is a Lint Trap On a Dryer?
What Is a Lint Trap On a Dryer?
A lint trap is a filter that traps lint as air is vented out during the drying cycle of a clothes dryer. The location of the trap depends on the make and model of the dryer, and it is designed to be removable for cleaning.
Without a lint trap, excessive amounts of lint would build up in the dryer vent hose, decreasing the efficiency of the dryer, shortening its life span, and creating an increased risk of fire.
The lint trap should be cleaned off after each load to allow for the dryer to operate at maximum efficiency and to dry clothes in the shortest time frame. A clean filter also helps prevent dryer fires, which can be dangerous.
Some dryer vent installations also have an external lint trap, which is also known as a secondary lint trap or a 4″ In-Line Dryer Lint Trap. External lint traps are usually installed on clothes dryers that are located on an inside wall or when the length of the dryer vent exceeds 20-30 feet.
A good way to maintain your dryer’s efficiency and safety is by having your dryer vent cleaning service by a professional on a regular basis.
The lint trap in your dryer is meant to catch ambient lint that comes off most dried clothing. However, other items can also find their way inside.
This is less likely in dryers with lint traps in front but if your model has a top accessible lint trap then items can find their way inside.
To retrieve items from inside a lint trap, start by unplugging your dryer for safety. Next, you will want to remove the exhaust vent hose.
This is a good time to check for buildup inside there as well. Behind your dryer, there will be a cover that spans the height of the dryer behind where the lint trap is located. This will need to have screws removed.
How To Clean A Lint Trap?
To clean a lint trap, first remove all surface lint from the dryer lint trap screen. Then, wet the dryer lint trap screen and apply a small amount of dish soap.
Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the lint screen until all the waxy residue is gone.
Rinse the screen thoroughly and let it dry.
Finally, use a vacuum hose attachment to remove excess lint from the dryer lint trap housing.
Depending on your wash and dry habits, you may also need to get dryer sheet residue off the lint screen.
If you’re feeling handy, some lint traps can be more fully accessed if you remove a cover on the machine.
Cleaning your lint trap has three distinct benefits: it prolongs the life of your dryer’s heating element, helps your clothes dry more quickly, and keeps energy bills down.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dryer Lint Trap
It is recommended to clean the lint filter of your dryer after every batch of clothes. This will help reduce the risk of a fire caused by lint build-up.
If you have a large family or use your dryer often, it is recommended to have your dryer exhaust vents inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once per year.
To clean the lint filter, simply remove the screen by pulling it up and gently remove the lint from the screen by hand. Do not scrub or use water as wet lint is harder to remove.
Additionally, twice a year you should also deep clean your dryer vent by vacuuming out any hard-to-reach areas and rinsing with hot water before drying thoroughly.
How To Prevent Dryer Fires?
To prevent dryer fires, it is important to clean the lint filter after every load, install the dryer correctly, clear out combustibles from around the dryer, use a solid metal dryer duct, read tags for instructions on how to handle chemical stains, have your dryer routinely inspected by a professional, keep the area around your dryer clean, and inspect the vents and ducts regularly.
Additionally, do not use your dryer without the lint filter, leave your house with the dryer running, or use a high heat setting with a drying cycle that does not conclude with a cool-down period.
If a fire does start, keep the door closed to limit its oxygen supply and evacuate immediately before calling emergency services.
What Causes Dryer Fires
The most common cause of dryer fires is failure to clean them. Lint buildup in the dryer and exhaust duct is the leading cause of dryer fires.
When dryers are not cleaned on a regular basis, lint accumulates in the dryer and exhaust duct, making the dryer work harder for each load.
This buildup can work its way into heating elements, causing them to overheat and ignite the lint. Clogged dryer vents, ducts, and filters are also primary causes of dryer fires. According to a report by NFPA, 32% of dryer fires were caused by a “failure to clean”.
Mechanical and electrical failure can also cause dryer fires. Faulty wiring and damaged machinery can potentially cause dryer fires.
In general, items made out of plastic, rubber, and foam are generally not suited for clothes dryers. For example, a simple bathroom item like a bathmat with a rubber back could potentially be a fire hazard.
To prevent dryer fires from happening, it is important to do regular cleaning maintenance such as cleaning the lint filter after every use.
Everyone in the house should master this super-simple preventative measure.
Additionally, have the ducts cleaned annually because lint still gets past the filter even when clean. Professional duct-cleaners can spot additional dangers that could save your life.
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installation cleaning maintenance as trusted and reliable sources for free outreach materials you can use to help increase awareness about home clothes dryer fires in your community.