I was staging a house the other day and as I walked into the utility room I smelled a slight burnt smell. It wasn't too strong, but it made me wonder where the smell was coming from.
Because it's my job to make homes look and smell their best, I started to investigate. My first stop was the washing machine. No problem (or smell) there.
My second stop was the dryer. Bingo! The lint trap was completely filled and overflowing with lint. The smell was old dryer lint that was continually heated and reheated. Eww.
Not only does this obviously create a smell it is also a fire hazard. This dryer lint could have caught on fire at any time.
Here are the steps you need to take to keep your dryer vent in good condition:
1. Unplug your dryer and pull out the dryer lint trap.
2. Discard the lint. I grab a bunch of lint and then use that wad to gather the rest of the lint. Lint seems to stick to lint.
3. Grab your vacuum cleaner or shop vac. Stick the hose attachment down into the dryer where the lint trap was. Stick it down as far as it will go and turn the vacuum on. Wiggle it around to suck up as much lint as you can.
4. You can also purchase an attachment to make this easier.
5. While you have the vacuum out, pull the dryer away from the wall and vacuum behind it. You might even find a few treasures back there (at least a few missing socks).
6. Push the dryer back into place, making sure to not kink the vent duct.
7. Replace the lint filter and plug the dryer back in.
You can hire someone to come to your home and do this but they will charge you at least $60.00. I clean my own for free.
I stopped using dryer sheets a few years ago for several reasons. They contain a lot of chemicals, they leave a coating on your dryer and your clothes, and over time they prevent your towels from being absorbent. I use these dryer balls instead. I usually line-dry my clothes and linens and then tumble them for 5-10 minutes in the dryer with the dryer balls. It's a little noisy, so I keep the door to the utility room closed.
The best thing you can do to keep your dryer in good shape is to clean the lint filter after each use. Let me know what treasures you find when you pull your dryer out. I'll send a set of dryer balls to the person with the wildest find.