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Don't Burn Down Your House: Preventing Clothes Dryer Fires

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Lint buildup in a dryer and its vent cuts the dryer's efficiency. Clothes take longer to dry, while your energy bills go up. But the biggest reason to clean out lint is that lint buildup can lead to a fire. Most experts recommend cleaning it out once a year. The best tool for cleaning the vent is a special brush with a long, flexible shaft (about $30 at most home centers). But if you want to save some money, you can use a handheld plumbing snake and a rag.


Prevent dryer fires by cleaning the vent
Disconnect the dryer from the vent and feed the plumbing snake through the vent from outside. Half of an old hand towel makes a good vent cleaner.
Using a plumbing snake to clean a dryer vent
Pull the snake through the vent and be ready for a dusty mess. Repeat the process a second time and reconnect the dryer.


— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor

Prevent home fires

Avoid a chimney fire

Prevent water damage

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    • by posted on

      A shop vac with an extra long nose, like the kind used for cutting corners, works well, too.  Also if you use dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener these can leave a highly flammable residue on your filters.  I don't know what a recommended cleaning schedule for these are, but I wash mine quarterly with warm water and dish soap.

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