Maintaining your Dryer

According to the National Fire Protection Association, washers and dryers were responsible for nearly 17,000 home fires and two hundred thirty-six [236] million dollars’ worth of property damage in the years 2006-2010. 92% of these incidents were the result of dryer fires. Proper dryer maintenance and dryer repair can help avoid these catastrophes.

Lint Trap

One of the primary causes of dryer fires is lint build up. After every cycle, the lint trap needs to be emptied. Once a month, use a small vacuum hose to clean inside the lint trap. Every three months, the trap should be washed and air dried. This removes chemical residues which lead to air flow obstruction. Every six months, the dryer should be unplugged and pulled out from the wall. Detach the lint hose and use a vacuum to clean inside it. Wipe lint and dust off the back of the dryer and the surrounding area. Then reattach the hose, move the dryer back into place, make sure it is level, and plug it back in.

Surface Cleaning

Washers and dryers are used for cleaning clothes, so it only makes sense that the machines themselves need to be clean. Once a month, wipe down the drum of the dryer and exterior surface with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. This will clean the dryer and help prevent mold and mildew.


Vinyl exhaust ducts and hoses on a dryer are easily crimped and are a fire hazard. For optimal performance, replace these with metal duct work and hoses prior to use. These items are inexpensive and available in all home improvement stores.


Most dryers are equipped to handle around an eleven [11] pound load. Smaller loads use just as much energy as larger ones, so load your dryer properly. Overloading leads to longer drying times which consume more energy and may cause the dryer to overheat.

Appliance Repair

In spite of proper care, dryers will sometimes quit working. The majority of problems are easily remedied by the handy homeowner. Some possible causes are a faulty door switch, worn drum rollers, sensor or fuse shortages, worn belts, or a broken door latch. A quick search online can help with diagnosing and repairing the issue. To stay safe, always unplug the dryer before attempting any repairs!


A dryer that is properly maintained and repaired can last many years. A twenty year old dryer may not have all the bells and whistles of newer models, but it will fulfill its purpose of drying your clothes. Appliance upkeep also reduces the potential for mechanical failure and accidents. A regular maintenance schedule can lower power bills, preserve your dryer, and give you peace of mind.