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Why is It Important to Empty the Lint Trap on my Dryer?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2017
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A lint trap or lint catcher is an important component of a dryer. There are two reasons to empty the lint trap on a regular basis, ideally every time you use the dryer. The first is that it will make the dryer more efficient, and the second is that it will prevent the risk of a major fire. Dryer fires cause thousands of home fires every year, which can result in property damage and even death. Because lint is highly combustible, a dryer fire can also quickly rage out of control, so do yourself a favor and remember to remove all the lint every time after drying.

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The lint trap acts as a filter between the dryer and the exhaust vent. As air is vented through the dryer and heated, it passes through the lint trap on the way out of the dryer so that lint does not accumulate in the exhaust vent or tubing. As clothing dries, large amounts of lint can be produced, and most of the lint will be caught by the lint filter. Not all of the lint will be collected, however, so it is a good idea to regularly clean a dryer to remove accumulated lint. If your clothing is coming out damp or taking a long time to dry, it suggests that some part of the dryer vent system may be blocked, which could pose a fire hazard. Empty the lint trap and check the ventilation tubing to make sure that it is not obstructed before you use the dryer again.

Most lint traps pull out of the top of the dryer. Lint has been collected on the screen of the lint trap, and it can be easily pulled off and thrown away. You should also periodically wash the lint trap, to remove accumulated dirt and small pieces of lint. After you cleanit, you should always slide it back into the slot on the dryer designed for it; never run a dryer without the lint trap in place.

If the lint trap is not cleaned frequently, a thick wall of lint will form on it. This will prevent air from circulating in the dryer, which will increase the length of time it takes to dry clothing. It also increases the fire risk, because of the large amount of flammable lint caught in the trap and knocking around the dryer. Typically, a dryer fire starts inside the dryer, and by the time members of the household realize what is going on, it will have gotten quite large.

You should remind all members of a household to empty the lint trap each time they use to the dryer. Some people prefer to empty the lint trap before running a load, while others do it afterwards, so it is a good idea to check the lint trap before drying a load to make sure that it is clean. Make sure to discard of the lint in an area away from flame, because of the flammability issue, and avoid drying anything which may emit flammable fumes.

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shell4life
Post 7

Preventing house fires can be as simple as cleaning the lint trap on your indoor or outdoor dryer. For years, I had a dryer that stayed outside in my carport utility room, and I only cleaned the lint trap occasionally. However, had it caught fire, it would have spread through the tubing and into the house.

I have a friend whose uncle died in a house fire caused by dryer lint. It's so tragic that something so small and seemingly insignificant can have such a huge impact on our lives.

My friend keeps a neon sign on her dryer door reminding everyone who uses it to clean the lint trap every time. I think the sign is a great idea.

orangey03
Post 6

@feasting – The easiest way is to roll the lint over itself. Just put your fingers on it and scrape, and it will all roll off in one big ball. If it doesn't, you can place the lint in your hand on top of the remaining lint and roll again.

You need to also clean the slot that the lint trap slides down into periodically. For this, you will need a dryer lint brush. It's an elongated brush that can reach way down in there, and it is flexible enough to fit into that small space and whisk the lint out of there.

feasting
Post 5

What is the best way to handle dryer lint trap cleaning? Should I use a wet cloth to remove the lint, or is there a special tool I need?

Oceana
Post 4

I did not know that emptying the dryer lint filter was so important! I often forget, or else I don't want to get lint all over my hands before handling my clean clothes. I am going to make it a point to empty the filter before every load now.

anon169041
Post 3

I don't have the answer but am here wondering the same thing. Anon 12602, did you find any info?

anon12602
Post 2

Lately the lint on my dryer's filter has been damp, even the clothes are sufficiently dry. Does anyone know what might be causing that? The air flow is fine; it is blowing out the dryer vent as usual.

Thank you!

bigmetal
Post 1

i've heard that you should also wash the lint trap on the dryer occasionally, because a film can build up, restricting the airflow.

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