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Lesser-Known Clothes Dryer Maintenance Tips

You might already know some ways to maintain your dryer. You avoid overloading it with clothes, and you always clean the lint screen. But what about the dryer maintenance tips that most homeowners aren’t aware of?

Here are the major guidelines you may be missing:

  1. Clean the dryer drum monthly.
  2. Deep clean the lint screen quarterly.
  3. Inspect the exterior vent quarterly, while the dryer is operating.
  4. Replace outdated dryer ducts with new metal ones.
  5. Vacuum the vent hose and area behind the dryer annually.
  6. Avoid storing items on top of the machine.
  7. Dry the door gaskets frequently.
  8. Check for correct machine balance.
  9. Look for common warning signs of a failing dryer.

You can learn more about these nine guidelines below. Of course, even if you maintain it perfectly, your dryer will need repairs someday. When that time comes, Mr. Appliance® has your back. Call our nearest team of pros, or schedule an appointment online.

How to Do Dryer Maintenance at Home

Avoid unnecessary repairs or dryer replacement by applying these clothes dryer maintenance tips and timing recommendations.

1. Monthly, clean the dryer drum.

Each month, gently clean the inside of the dryer drum to remove residue from detergents, dryer sheets, and so on. Just spray it with a 50-50 mixture of water and white vinegar, and wipe it down with a soft cleaning cloth. Rinse the cloth, and wipe the drum again with clean water. Then dry the drum with a towel, and leave the door open to let it air out.

2. Quarterly, deep clean the lint screen.

Lint screens regularly get coated with residue from dryer sheets or contaminants from your clothing, making them less effective. Once every three months, pull the lint trap out and clean it with dish soap, water, and a stiff brush. If the lint trap is extremely dirty, you may need to sprinkle it with baking soda and spray it with white vinegar before scrubbing. Be sure to rinse it well and dry it completely before returning it to its slot.

3. Quarterly, inspect the exterior vent in action.

Every few months, inspect your exterior dryer vent when your dryer is running. This straightforward dryer maintenance task will help you detect potential fire hazards. Confirm that the flaps over the vent are open when the dryer is in operation and closed when it’s not. Make sure there is no visible lint accumulation in the vent. Additionally, make sure the vent is at least six feet away from your AC unit and isn’t combined with ventilation for other appliances or systems. To ensure optimal safety and convenience, professional dryer vent cleaning services are recommended at least once a year.

4. Replace outdated dryer ducts (aka vent hoses).

Check out your dryer transition duct, which is the hose indoors that connects the dryer to the main vent outlet. Is it plastic, vinyl, or metal? Plastic and vinyl ducts are no longer considered safe, and they don’t meet local building codes in many areas. If your duct is made of one of these outdated materials, have it replaced with a metal duct immediately. Options for metal transition vents include flexible, semi-rigid, rigid and compact.

5. Annually, vacuum the vent hose and area behind the dryer.

The dryer transition duct, also known as a vent hose, can get clogged with lint and become a fire hazard. To avoid this issue, vacuum the vent hose once or twice a year—depending on how often you do laundry. Start by unplugging the unit and turning off the gas supply (if it’s a gas dryer). Then pull the dryer away from the wall, and unscrew the hose where it connects to the dryer. Vacuum the exhaust duct on the unit itself, which is where the hose was connected. You may need to loosen the lint with a brush. Then vacuum the vent hose before reconnecting it.

The vent hose is only a small part of your dryer’s ventilation system. We have more tips about dryer vents here.

6. Avoiding storing things on top of the dryer.

Is the top of your dryer a catch-all for folded laundry and general junk? While it’s okay to keep items there temporarily, make sure you put them away before you run the dryer. Otherwise, the clutter will become a dryer-fire hazard.

7. Dry the door gaskets frequently. 

You know the rubber seal around your dryer’s door? This gasket should be kept dry whenever possible, which will prevent mold growth and excessive wear. It will also ensure a good seal around the door, which promotes energy efficiency. This might be the easiest of all clothes dryer maintenance tips, but it’s still important!

8. Check for correct machine balance.

Does your dryer shake or thump when operating? Do all your clothes end up smooshed on one side? It could be unbalanced. Put a construction level on top of the unit to see if it’s lopsided. If so, adjust the legs of the dryer to level it. If the legs cannot be adjusted by hand, you will likely need a 3/8-inch crescent wrench.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget electrical safety.

Would your laundry room pass an electrical safety inspection? Mr. Electric® explains how to check.

9. Look for common warning signs of a failing dryer.

One of the most important clothes dryer maintenance tips is addressing any issue right away. To find out if a dryer problem might be serious, feel free to use our dryer troubleshooting tool before you contact a dryer expert.

These are all common signs of a failing dryer. Click on the links to get more information about each issue:

Need help saving your dryer? Mr. Appliance experts are well versed in repairing many dryer makes and models. Connect with a team near you, or conveniently schedule an appointment online.