We have all faced that conundrum when transferring a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer. Do you clean the lint trap or leave it be? If you decide not to clean the lint out, will it really make so much of a difference? While it may seem like a small matter, cleaning out your dryer lint trap each time you use the machine is imperative to keep it functioning in working order and drying your clothes efficiently.
Today, we are going to teach you about lint traps including how to clean them. We are going to let you in on three bad things that can happen if you choose not to clean out your dryer lint trap.
What Is The Dryer Lint Trap?
Finding The Lint Trap
The dryer lint trap is the removable mechanism in your dryer that gathers lint and dust every cycle. Whenever you run a load of laundry in the dryer, the motion and heat pulls some of the fibers from any towels, linens, clothing, or other materials in the cycle.
The lint trap takes hold of the fibers so they do not block the vent. This is why you find so much lint on the trap every cycle as it is collecting waste caused by the commotion of running the dryer.
Finding your dryer lint trap is not difficult and only requires a few key steps. As dryers are built differently based on the manufacturer, some machines have traps which are very easy to locate, while others are more obstructed to the naked eye. If you are not sure where your lint trap is, start by taking a peek inside the dryer door. The trap might be situated here and easily pulled out with a small handle. The screen may also be easy to recognize and access, making it simple for you to grab the lint and go without disengaging it from the dryer.
Another place to check for the dryer lint trap is the back wall of the machine. This will usually take the form of a cutout area with holes where you can place your finger and thumb to pull out the trap. Squeeze the lint trap on both sides so you can remove the lint with ease.
One last place where manufacturers commonly put the lint trap is at the upper right corner of your dryer. Look at the area where the controlling mechanisms to turn your dryer on and set cycles are situated. If you see a handle, you can tug on it to disengage the lint screen and clean out the lint directly.
Rules For Cleaning Your Lint Trap
You must clean out your dryer's lint trap every time you run a cycle. It takes only a short amount of time and is worth the effort. You can incorporate this into your clothes drying routine by taking out the screen prior to or after every load of laundry. Quite a few modern dryers have reminders to let you know when it is time to check and clean out the lint.
As important as it is to clean out your dryer's lint trap with every cycle, you should know that this process only rids the vents of around 25% of their total lint intake. It is a good idea to hire a professional to clean your entire dryer vent system a couple times each year to make sure things function properly and to avoid a fire hazard.
When it comes to cleaning out your dryer lint trap with each load, there are some important elements to consider if you are on the fence about it. Remember that excess lint will clog your screen and make the dryer work overtime to complete a cycle, which can skyrocket your energy bills. Plus, if your dryer is working hard, you will decrease the longevity of the machine.
Airflow is improved when you clean out the lint regularly, meaning that your clothes will be dried much more quickly and efficiently. Finally, if you allow lint to build up, you can increase the risk of a fire hazard in your home. High heat is a staple of a well-functioning dryer, and lint is a very flammable substance. If these two factors are allowed to interact, you could put your home at risk. Take the few minutes required to clean out your dryer lint trap to avoid this unnecessary risk.
How To Clean It
Gather Your Supplies
Once you have located your dryer lint trap, disengage it from the machine and separate the screen from the trap. All you need to do is tug the screen to pull it away from the trap.
Next, carefully clean away all the lint from your screen. Begin by taking a tiny amount of lint and use that portion to gather up the rest of the lint so the fibers stick together. Throw the lint away in the trash bag once the screen is cleared of all excess materials.
Take the vacuum cleaner and use it to clean out any lint that has gathered inside the dryer lint trap. Try to use an attachment with a long neck that will reach deep into the lint trap. Take your time, and clean as much of the lint as you can.
Check the attachment every so often to ensure it has not become obstructed with lint, clean it out if needed, and put it back in the trap to suck out the rest of the fibers. Finally, after your dryer lint trap has been cleaned in full, reinsert the screen.
3 Bad Things That Can Happen If You Don't Clean
You Can Wear Out The Motor
The first bad thing that can happen if you do not clean it out properly and regularly is that you can wear out the motor. The more lint that gathers unattended to in your dryer lint trap, the harder your machine’s motor has to work to run a load to completion. Lint is an effective inhibitor of proper air flow, which means that the motor cannot cool down from the heat of a cycle properly.
This can be best compared to an overheated vehicle engine where your motor must work harder and run for a longer period before finishing. Not only does this wear out your motor much sooner than it needs to, but it poses a distinct fire hazard if your motor is unable to cool down as normal.
Your Clothes Might Take Longer To Dry
Along the same lines, if you do not clean out your dryer lint trap and your motor is not functioning at an optimal level, your clothes will take much longer to finish drying. If you are in a situation where you have to run multiple loads a day, this can really cut into your schedule and cost you unnecessary time and effort.
Your Utility Bill Could Be Higher
Finally, if you do not clean out your dryer lint trap, causing the dryer to work overtime and drag out each cycle, you will notice a significant difference in your utility bill. Here and there, there may not be much of a disparity. However, if you continue to allow the lint to pile up, slowing down the motor and negating the efficiency of your dryer, those longer cycles will require much more energy. This could cause your electric or gas bill to skyrocket.
In fact, if you start cleaning out your dryer lint trap with every cycle, you might notice a palpable decrease in your utility bills. This alone should be a sufficient incentive to take the few minutes needed to clean out that lint and help your dryer operate at a normal speed.
Cleaning out your dryer lint trap is not a complicated process nor does it take too much time out of your day. Actually, not cleaning out the trap will take more time and effort out of your day, as your dryer will be working overtime and running at a lower rate of efficiency.
If you have gotten into the habit of letting lint pile up in your dryer trap and screen, take a few moments today to vacuum it out and remove all these excess fibers from the trap. Once you have cleaned out the lint, you can simply incorporate the removal and cleaning of your dryer lint trap into your daily laundry routine.