Alrighty… cleaning the dryer. As you may have heard by now, I am working on our laundry room for the One Room Challenge, so I thought I’d share some cleaning tips that directly relate to the laundry room. Cleaning the dryer is something I have never done. However, every time I put a load of clothes in the dryer, I think about it. Why? Because if you don’t clean the dryer, you are risking a fire. See, lint runs rampant in your dryer and could eventually block airflow which could lead to a fire. We’ve been living in this house for 5+ years, and it is time to get this done. (It is recommended that you do this annually… #oops!)
Since I’m painting the dryer to match the washer, it was the perfect opportunity to get it all clean and ready for its makeover.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Clean A Clothes Dryer
General Cleaning Inside & Out
Cleaning the Lint Filter & Trap
Cleaning the Drum & Sensors
Cleaning the Vents
Cleaning the Floor Under the Dryer
I know this looks like a lot, but it’s really not too difficult, nor time consuming.
Directions: How to Clean the Dryer
This is not a job to be done in a pencil skirt and stilettos, so put on some grubby clothes.
The very first thing you must do is unplug the dryer and turn off the gas! Very important. Now move the dryer out so you can work your way around the whole thing easily, detaching the gas line (if you have a gas dryer) and the vents. You turned off the gas, right?
Cleaning Behind the Dryer
Start by removing the back panel of the dryer. There are about 5-6 screws holding the panel in place, so those get unscrewed and the back will come off, revealing lint and dust like you’ve never seen.
Using a shop vac or hose attachment, vacuum up all that stuff in there. Be very careful around the wiring.
Also, vacuum the back panel itself, as it will have a whole lotta lint on both sides. Set the panel aside because you’re going to do more on the back side of your dryer (if you have a lint filter on the top of your dryer).
Cleaning the Lint Filter and Trap
Remove your lint filter. My lint filter is on top of the dryer, but many dryers have this inside the door. You should be cleaning the lint filter after each dryer cycle; if you don’t do this… start now.
For a more thorough cleaning, place the lint filter into the sink with some warm water and 1 cup vinegar. Allow this to sit while you finish with the dryer. Once done with the dryer cleaning, use a toothbrush to scrub the filter. Rinse thoroughly and let it air-dry.
While your lint filter is soaking, you are going to clean the lint trap. My dryer is apparently too ancient to make this easy. I started the process only to find that there is an upper panel on the back of my dryer that I could. not. get. off. However, being me, I dropped a screwdriver down the lint trap in the process, so after some blood (yes, cut my hand) and screams I was able to loosen the trap enough to retrieve the screwdriver as well as a small dog’s worth of lint. If your dryer happens to be newer, you can follow this tutorial video (for lint filters on the top of the dryer) or this tutorial (for those with the lint filters behind the door). You are now done with everything in the back, so you can reattach the back panel.
Cleaning Underneath the Front Panel
Next, we’ll clean underneath the dryer. The bottom panel is attached with a small latch on either side, so I used a Philips screwdriver to push the latch and release the panel.
I was greeted by a half-inch layer of lint… and 35¢ (for a job well-done, I’m sure). Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Again, careful for the wiring. Once done, relatch the panel.
Cleaning the Drum and Sensors
Open the door to the dryer and clean the drum and inside of the door with an all-purpose cleaner and wet sponge.
Inside the dryer there are sensors that let the dryer know when your clothing is dry. Put a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe those sensors down. Your sensors may be located in a different place than mine, but should be easy to spot.
There is a vent that leads outside. I just vacuumed it out with a hose attachment.
Last step is to wipe down the outside of the dryer. Vacuum up any lint and wipe it down with all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Simple.
Okay, now you will see that the floor under the dryer is disgusting. I started by vacuuming up all the lint, and then I made up some of my DIY floor cleaner in an ice cream bucket and used a sponge to clean it.
My dryer is now ready for some paint, but for you, go ahead, and reattach the vent and gas. Turn on the gas. Plug it in, and you’re ready to go.
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