A Whirlpool® Washer and Dryer in a laundry room

How to clean a dryer vent from inside and outside

Having a clean dryer vent can help laundry day run smoothly. Over time your dryer may accumulate dust and lint from use which can affect its performance and your laundry load. This article will assist you in learning how to properly clean a dryer vent. Before beginning, check and clean out your dryer lint screen. It is advised that you clean out the lint screen after every load.

How to clean a dryer vent: step-by-step instructions

Cleaning a dryer vent yourself is an easy task that should take less than two hours to complete. Be sure to enlist the help of a friend when moving the appliance. A dryer vent that has a buildup of lint and dust can pose a possible fire risk in your home. If you have any questions regarding the maintenance of your electric or gas dryer, you may want to consider contacting a professional.

Preparing for dryer vent cleaning

Before getting started with cleaning your dryer vent, there are a few tools you will need and tips to consider. Consult your Use and Care Guide for any supplies specific to your model.

  • Unplug the dryer before beginning any sort of maintenance

  • Use two or more people to move the appliance

A Whirlpool® Washer and Dryer in a laundry room A Whirlpool® Washer and Dryer in a laundry room

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Exhaust vent icon

Step 1: Locate the dryer’s exhaust vent

On the back of your dryer, you will find the unit’s ventilation hose. The hose then leads to the exhaust vent, which will typically be located outside your home.

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Step 2: Unplug the power supply cord

Before proceeding in cleaning your dryer vent or moving the unit away from the wall, be sure to unplug your dryer’s power supply cord. If your dryer is a gas model, close the shut-off valve in the gas supply line, then disconnect and cap the supply line pipe.

Dryer icon with arrow to show it being pulled away from the wall

Step 3: Pull your dryer away from the wall

With the help of another person, carefully move the dryer about one foot away from the wall. This will provide enough space behind the unit for you to access the ventilation system and clear out debris.

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Step 4: Remove tape or clamps

Once the dryer has been moved, remove any tape or clamps attaching the ventilation hose to the vent on the back of the unit. In some cases a screwdriver may be required to complete this step.

Icon of sparkling hose interior to show it has been cleaned

Step 5: Clean the interior vent

Gently clean your dryer’s ventilation hose by using your dryer cleaning brush to swab debris from both ends of the pipe. If you have access to a vacuum with a hose, you may use it to further remove any dust or lint caught in hard to reach places.

Icon of sparkling hose exterior to show it has been cleaned

Step 6: Clean the exterior vent

For this step, you’ll have to go outside to locate the vent. Remove the vent cover from the exterior of your home. Using your dryer cleaning brush, wipe away dust from the ductwork and use a vacuum with a hose to clear out any remaining debris. Replace the vent cover when complete.

Icon of dryer connection points

Step 7: Reconnect the dryer

After cleaning up any remaining lint or debris, reconnect the ventilation pipe to the back of your unit. Once secure, plug in the power supply and turn the gas valve back on, if applicable.

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Step 8: Run an empty cycle

With the help of another person, slide the unit back into place and run an empty dryer cycle for 10-15 minutes. This will help ensure that all residual dust gets blown out of the system and that the dryer vent is clean.

A front load washer and dryer in a laundry room A front load washer and dryer in a laundry room

Dryer vent cleaning FAQs

Now that you are familiar with the process of thoroughly cleaning out your dryer vent, learn more about how to keep your dryer performing at its best with the following FAQs.

How often should I clean my dryer vent?

Your dryer vent system should be cleaned no less than once every two years, depending on how often it’s used and what kinds of loads you're drying. Make sure to clean out the lint trap after every load.

How do I know if my dryer vent is clogged?

If you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, the dryer has become hot to the touch, or a burning scent is present in your laundry room, your dryer vent may be clogged and the vent will need to be cleaned. Some dryers will alert you when there is an issue with the vent, such as with an error code on select Whirlpool® Dryers.

What are signs I need a new dryer vent duct?

If you notice any visible damage to the dryer vent duct, or if your dryer isn't heating properly and clothes are still coming out wet after a dryer cycle, then it may be time for a replacement. Whirlpool offers a variety of parts and accessories to accommodate your needs.

A front load washer and dryer set in a closet A front load washer and dryer set in a closet

Do all dryers need an exhaust vent?

Not all dryers require an exhaust vent to function. Certain dryers, known as ventless dryers, recirculate air through the drum to pick up moisture from clothes and condense it through a heat exchanger later on in the process. Ventless dryers tend to be most beneficial in apartments that have no access to a dryer vent or homes that have limited space.

Time to upgrade? Find the right Whirlpool® Dryer for your home

Find a Whirlpool® Dryer designed to streamline your laundry routine. Whirlpool offers a variety of dryer options including gas and electric dryers for you to choose from.

Learn more about choosing and using a clothes dryer

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