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How to Prevent Lint From Getting Past a Dryer Filter

Barry Index

Simply cleaning out dryer lint from the lint catch is not enough to keep the dryer working at peak efficiency. The forces inside clothes dryers cause lint to cake everywhere, especially in places the average consumer would not think to look. But cleaning these areas is not that difficult. A regimen of minimal cleaning in the proper place will restore your dryer to top efficiency if it is lagging, and will add years of service when practiced regularly.

Use these lint-cleaning strategies for peak dryer efficiency and less fuzz balls.
  1. Avoid using dryer sheets, or at the very least, use no more than one sheet per load. The fabric softeners from these sheets leave a residue that collects on the lint screen and blocks normal airflow, reducing the effectiveness of the lint catch. Softeners in the wash are absorbed in clothing and then are drained away, so they do not pose the same problems that dryer sheets do.

  2. Clean the lint catch by first removing the layer of lint with your hand, then run water over the screen and scrub it with a brush and some dish detergent to remove any fabric softener residue left over from dryer sheets. Rinse with clear water until all dish detergent is washed away and pat dry with a paper towel. Use this method for cleaning the lint screen whenever dryer sheets are used.

  3. Unplug the dryer, then disconnect the air tube from the vent at the back of the dryer. Clean out the accumulated lint with your hand. Once the thick blanket of lint is out, use the shop vacuum to remove any leftover tufts of lint. Clean the air tube and vent at least once every two years.

  4. Remove the front panel beneath the dryer cylinder using a screwdriver. The panel should pop off on most models by inserting the screwdriver at the side and giving it a slight twist. Vacuum out the accumulated lint from around the motor and from the lint catch housing, an area beneath the dryer cylinder on some models, or located near the back on other models. Clean out the front panel area at least once every two years.

  5. Remove screws from the rear panel, and again vacuum out all visible lint. On some dryer models, reaching the lint catch housing is easier from the back. Remove blankets of lint by hand, and then vacuum out any remaining tufts. Perform rear panel cleanup once every two years.