How to clean the dryer lint trap

A recent report published by the U.S. Fire Administration says more than 15,000 structure fires can be blamed on clothes dryers each year. According to the report these fires cause about 400 injuries and 15 deaths each year.

According to the USFA report, lint buildup in the dryer itself or in its exhaust duct can be the culprit for these fires. This lint buildup can fires because it blocks the flow of air and accumulates lint, which can be a combustible fuel source. The heat buildup from the dryer's drying action coupled with lint accumulation can lead to the lint becoming hot enough to burn.

Because there is a potential for fires that can cause property damage, injury and even death, it's important for homeowners to keep the lint trap clean to prevent any dangerous accidents. In addition to preventing danger, cleaning the lint trap will also allow your clothing to dry faster, which saves both time and energy.

To properly clean you dryer lint trap, you will need to gather the following supplies:

  • One clean cloth
  • One used fabric softener sheet
  • Liquid dish soap
  • One soft bristled brush
  • A vacuum with brush attachment

First, remove the lint trap from the dryer and remove the lint with either a damp cloth or a used fabric softener sheet. Use the brush attachment of the vacuum to remove any leftover debris on the mesh region of the lint trap.

Fill the kitchen or bathroom sink with warm water and add a small amount of the liquid dish soap to thoroughly clean the trap. Soak the trap in the water and then scrub it gently using the soft bristled brush to remove waxy build-up that may remain as a result of using dryer sheets.

Make sure to also thoroughly clean the edges of the trap and then rinse the trap clean. After rinsing, leave the trap out to air dry completely before placing back into the dryer.

Although it depends on how often you use your dryer, you should generally repeat this process every other month to ensure maximum cleanliness and a limited risk of lint buildup. If the cleaning process requires more time and effort, you may need to wash the trap monthly.

If you choose to have your house regularly cleaned by a professional, make sure they incorporate this into their regular cleaning schedules. Angie's List member Gayle Dargan says the highly rated Tampa house cleaners from A Home Maid Clean Inc. "somehow manage to never skip anything."

Want to know which house cleaners members in your neighborhood trust to keep their house in order? Join Angie's List today to find out.

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