Last week our neighbors had a house fire. Our small street swarmed with fire engines and firemen, and fortunately the fire was put out rapidly. Luckily everyone was safe and the home suffered no structural damage. Still, fire is destructive, and it will be weeks before they can get back to living in their house. The cause of this terrifying event – a dryer fire.
Over 80% of homes in the US have a dryer in them, and (according to the National Fire Protection Association) there are over 16,000 dryer fires a year, with appox. 50 deaths. The number one cause of these fires is from failure to clean the machines regularly.
So inspired by recent events, I wanted to share how to clean your dryer properly and keep your home and family safe. This is a revealing post because I have to admit two things I rarely would. First off, I admit it, I own a dryer lint cleaning kit; I got it because I asked for one for Christmas a number of years ago (NERD!). And secondly, I am going to show you pictures of how dirty something I own is…EGAD! I make these revelations because fire safety is real, and I hope it inspires you to take care.
I own a Dryer Max Dryer Lint Removal Kit; because of this, my instructions will reflect those tools. You can purchase this, or find a similar product.
The first thing you will want to do is UNPLUG YOUR DRYER. Next, pull the dryer away from the wall and remove the exhaust vent from the back of the dryer.
Using a round vent brush, clean the exhaust hose. My brush is 10′ long and I could push all the way through to clean. But for my rigid vent, I get better results when I place the brush in each end and clean from the middle out. Repeat this motion a couple of times to assure thoroughness.
Finally, use your vacuum and/or a damp cloth to clean any remaining dust from the back side of the dryer. Carefully put the exhaust vent back on the dryer and plug back in. It is recommended that dryers should be cleaned like this at least once a year. Hey, and while you are at it, when was the last time you checked your smoke alarms?
*These are just my tips on cleaning a dryer and I in no way guarantee this will keep you from getting a dryer fire.*