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How To Clean Dryer Vent From Outside And Inside (Easy Steps & Video)

Want to know how to clean dryer vents from inside and outside? With these EASY STEPS you can get your dryer vent CLEAN & SAFE in 20 minutes!

How To Clean Out A Dryer Vent From Inside And Outside

Hi guys! I’m back with another EASY home maintenance project that will actually make your home SAFER. Every year in the US, there are about 3,000 house fires caused by dryers.

That’s mainly due to a build up of lint in the dryer vent and dryer duct. BUT, good news, you can clean out your dryer duct and vents pretty easily with a cheap and easy to use dryer vent cleaning kit.

Image of someone using a dryer vent cleaning kit for a post about How To Clean Out A Dryer Vent From Inside And Outside.

And, you won’t need a Shop Vac or drill to use the dryer vent cleaning kit. Because I know a lot of people don’t have those things, I wrote this tutorial without using them.

You can use this dryer cleaning kit by hand or with a normal vacuum. Of course, if you have and want to use a Shop Vac or a drill, you can!

Either way, I’ll show you how to clean out dryer vents from inside and outside of your home. This will greatly reduce the risk of a dryer fire and help your dryer dry your clothes faster. Let’s get to it!

How Do I Know If My Dryer Vent Is Clogged?

Wondering if your dryer vent is clogged? Here are six clear signs that will help you know if your dryer vent is clogged. If you notice one or more of these, it’s time to clean your dryer vent pipe.

  1. Clothes come out of the dryer damp.
  2. Your dryer feels hot to the touch.
  3. Clothes take longer to completely dry.
  4. The dryer smells musty or leaves clothes smelling musty.
  5. Your lint trap has a lot more lint than normal.
  6. Lint might be coming out of your lint trap or your exterior dryer vent.

When your dryer vent is clogged, the air flow is blocked. So, the moist air from your clothing can’t escape properly.

Someone removing clothes from a dryer for tips on what happens when you have a clogged dryer vent.
A clogged dryer vent will leave clothes damp after the standard dry time is done.

If that humid air builds up in your dryer and vent pipe, you can end up with a musty smelling dryer. And, your clothes will take SO MUCH longer to dry. That will cost you extra money in electricity or gas.

But, the worst risk that comes from having a clogged dryer vent is the risk of fire. Like I said earlier, about 3,000 housefires every year are caused by dryers. So, this is one home maintenance job you can’t skip!

See My Favorite, Easy To Use Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit on Amazon.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?

To keep your dryer operating properly, you should clean your lint trap before or after every load. Your lint trap is the first line of defense against lint building up in the dryer vent pipe.

And, keeping that lint trap clean is also key to promoting good air flow in your dryer. When you have a clean lint trap, all of that hot, humid air can be pushed out. So, your clothes will dry as quickly as possible.

Image of someone using a dryer vent cleaning kit for a post about How To Clean Out A Dryer Vent From Inside And Outside.
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In addition to cleaning the lint trap before each load, you should clean the dryer duct (vent pipe) and dryer vents ONCE A YEAR. If you use your dryer A LOT, you may need to clean it more often.

See the list of the 6 signs of a clogged dryer above for signs that you might need to clean your dryer vent pipe earlier. Follow the steps below to clean out dryer vent from inside and outside your home.

8 Easy Steps To Clean Your Dryer Vents And Ducts

Supplies Needed

Optional: You can wear a mask and/or gloves if you want to protect yourself from the dirty lint and all of the dust that will be floating in the air as you work.

1. Unplug And Pull Out The Dryer

First up, you’ll need to unplug your dryer and pull it away from the wall. It needs to be far enough away to let you disconnect the vent pipe and get behind the dryer to work.

If you have a GAS DRYER you’ll also need to turn off your gas and safely disconnect it BEFORE pulling the dryer away from the wall.

Moving your dryer is probably the hardest part of this whole tutorial. You might need 2 people to do this.

Using a socket to unscrew the strap on a dryer vent pipe.
Using a socket to unscrew the strap on a dryer vent pipe.

2. Disconnect Your Dryer Vent Pipe

Once you’ve moved your dryer, it’s time to disconnect the dryer vent pipe from the wall and the dryer. There are a few ways that the pipe might be connected.

You’ll generally need a socket or a screwdriver to loosen up the straps connecting the vent pipe to the wall. You’ll have to take a look at yours to see which you’ll need.

My dryer vent pipe wasn’t even connected to the dryer. It just fit tightly over the pipe on the back of my dryer. So, all I had to do was gently pull it off.

DIY TIP: I know some people try to clean dryer pipes WITHOUT disconnecting them. So, I tested whether you could really get your duct clean without removing it. See whether or not it worked in the short video below.

Pile of lint under a dryer vent pipe after it was disconnected.
After disconnecting that strap, tons of lint that I had scrubbed loose fell out.

3. Assemble Your Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit

Next up, you should assemble the extendable dryer vent brush. I LOVE that most dryer vent cleaning kits come with tons of extensions for your dryer vent brush.

That means you can use them for any length of dryer vents!

Just be sure to use the electrical tape that comes with the kit to tape together all of the connections. That tape stops the segments from coming unscrewed INSIDE your vent pipe.

You don’t want that dryer vent brush to get stuck inside of a LONG run of vent pipe, especially if it’s built inside of a wall or attic.

Using a dryer vent cleaning kit inside a dryer duct pipe.
There should be electrical tape where each segment screws together to stop them from coming undone inside of your dryer vent pipe.

Without tape, the sections of your drill brush can come unscrewed pretty easily, if you’re twisting it as you work. In fact, my drill brush came off in my vent pipe when I was using it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to tape the brush to the pipes. So, I might just super glue the brush head to one segment next time. That’s probably the easiest way to keep it attached.

4. Clean Your Dryer Vent From Inside

OK, now it’s time to go over how to clean dryer vents from inside your home.

First, use your dryer vent brush, with as many segments as you need, to fully scrub all of the lint loose inside your vent pipe.

It might take a few minutes to loosen up all of the built up lint and dust inside your dryer vent pipe. So, give it a good scrub. Then have a good look at the inside of the pipe to be sure it’s clear of dust.

Inspecting a dryer duct for lint and damage.
Have a good look inside the vent after scrubbing to be sure it’s clear. You can also check for damage.

Second up, use the dryer vent brush inside of the back of your dryer too. Again, give it a good scrub to be sure to loosen and remove all of the built up dryer lint.

Then, stick your vacuum hose inside the back of the dryer to suction out all of that loose lint.

Cleaning the back of a dryer with brushes and a vacuum.
After scrubbing inside this dryer vent pipe, I used my vacuum to clean it all out.

Last up, you use the same brush to scrub inside the vent pipe in your wall. I’m lucky, the dryer vent in my wall is just a 12″ straight run outside. So, it was pretty easy to get mine cleared out.

But, some of you might need to extend your dryer vent brush with more segments and tape to clean out a long run that might go up to the roof. Just take your time and carefully scrub the whole length.

Use your vacuum to suction out any loose lint here too.

5. Clean Your Dryer Vent From Outside

Now that the inside sections of your dryer vent are clean, it’s time to clean the exterior dryer vent.

For this part, I used my dryer vent cleaning kit brush attached to an extension pole again. Scrub back and forth to be sure that the opening is clear and free of any lint build up.

Cleaning out a dryer vent from outside with a dryer vent cleaning kit.
That brush is great for scrubbing the outside dryer vent too. Look at all of that lint and dust!

Check out my video below to see the huge pile of dryer lint I pulled out of my dryer vent. It’s pretty CRAZY.

6. Check The Dryer Duct For Compression And Kinks

Now that the outside and inside sections of your dryer vent pipe have been cleaned, it’s time to inspect your dryer vent pipe (aka dryer duct).

If you find any dents or kinks, carefully reshape the dryer vent pipe so that it’s back to it’s original full and round shape.

Repairing a dryer vent pipe, also called a dryer duct.
I was able to easily push this dent out from the inside of the duct.

Be careful when pushing your dryer into place. Dents in a dryer vent pipe reduce airflow making your dryer less efficient. Big dents or kinks can also increase the risk of fire.

If you find cracks in your dryer vent, you should replace it. You can find replacement vents at hardware stores like Lowe’s, Ace, and Home Depot. Just cut it and shape it to match the original vent pipe.

7. Reconnect Vent Pipe And Move Your Dryer

After cleaning a dryer vent out and making sure that the vent pipe is in good shape, you can reconnect the vent pipe. Connect the dryer vent pipe the same way you found it.

Then push the dryer back into place. Make sure that you DO NOT push the dryer back too far. You don’t want to disconnect, dent, or damage the dryer vent.

Using a dryer vent cleaning kit to brush inside the lint trap and vacuum a lint trap.
After scrubbing out the inside of the lint trap with the long brush, use the skinny vacuum attachment to suction out all of that lint.

8. Deep Clean Your Dryer Lint Trap

OK, last but not least, let’s deep clean your dryer lint trap. Remove the lint trap, peel off any lint, then vacuum all of the crevices on the lint trap clean.

Then set that clean lint trap aside so that you can scrub inside of the lint trap opening. To scrub this tighter area, use the long, skinny brush that came with your dryer vent cleaning kit.

Scrub all around and up and down inside of that area to loosen and remove any built up dryer lint.

Now, attach the skinny dryer vent vacuum attachment to your vacuum hose. Then sweep out the inside of the lint trap area.

Vacuuming the lint off a dryer lint trap.
Use your vacuum to clean out all of those crevices in the lint trap too.

That’s it! You’ve got a clean dryer vent pipe. You can get back to using it as normal.

See My Favorite, Easy To Use Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit on Amazon.

How To Clean Your Dryer Duct And Vents – Video

Want to see me cleaning a dryer vent pipe using the steps above? Watch this video.

How To Clean Dryer Vent From Inside And Outside - The Easy Way - Step By Step!

That’s it for how to use a dryer vent cleaning kit. I hope this helped! Now, here’s a few more posts you might like.

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