Proper maintenance and use are the keys to years of safe, high-quality clothes dryer performance. That includes proper installation and venting, and ongoing cleaning and care.
AHAM has put together a detailed set of tips to help you keep your dryer running safely and efficiently. Following these recommended dryer installation, maintenance, and use guidelines will ensure years of safe, high-quality dryer performance.
All dryers are different, so consult your dryer’s use and care manual for specific instructions.
Proper Dryer Installation
- Use rigid or semi-rigid sheet metal venting material (never plastic) to avoid reducing airflow, longer drying times and potential safety hazards.
- Use the shortest, straightest vent length possible, and use a louvered or box hood style to cap your vent outside.
- Be sure you can feel air flowing out of the vent to the outdoors when the dryer vent is on.
- Vent your dryer to the outside unless it is a condenser-type dryer, specifically designed for unvented applications.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer and replace any pieces that are damaged or crushed.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the dryer and vent system.
Dryer Cleaning and Maintenance
Optimal dryer performance requires the regular removal of lint from the dryer and vent to allow air to circulate freely through the dryer. Here’s what to do to avoid lint and dust buildup:
- Clean the lint filter after each load.
- Occasionally remove and clean the lint filter with a nylon brush and hot, soapy water.
- Periodically clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped.
- Keep the area around and on top of the dryer clean and free of clutter.
- Have a qualified service technician clean the interior of the appliance and venting system once a year.
- Thoroughly clean the vent system if you notice drying times have increased.
- For condenser dryers, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for periodic maintenance of the condenser.
Items that Should Never be Put in the Dryer
- Any item that has ever had any type of oil or other flammable liquid on it. That includes cooking oil, alcohol, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc. No washer can completely remove these liquids, and they can ignite or explode in your dryer. Items that have had contact with flammable materials should be dried outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
- Items made of foam, rubber, plastic, or other heat-sensitive fabrics (such as bathroom rugs or non-slip mats) must be line-dried or dried in an air-only dryer cycle with no heat. Follow the instructions on the item’s care label.
- Glass fiber materials, unless the manufacturer’s instructions say otherwise.
Get AHAM's brochure, “Helpful hints for using your clothes dryer safely and effectively.”