We often have customers ask us, “Why do I need to clean my dryer vent even though I clean the lint screen every time I use the dryer?”

In this post, we want to answer that question and help you gain a better understanding of how your dryer works and why cleaning the vent and the lint screen is so important.

Why do I need to clean my dryer vent even though I clean the lint screen every time?

We often refer to the lint screen as your dryer’s first line of defense. However, it is not truly designed to catch ALL the lint your dryer produces. The only way it could stop all the lint is if it completely blocked off the flow of air which would, of course, cause your dryer to not work properly anymore. The lint screen is designed to catch SOME of the lint your dryer produces while still allowing a good flow of air through the screen, lint trap, fan, and exhaust. 

The average person probably doesn’t spend a lot of time wondering about how their dryer works but if you have a dryer in your home it is probably an important part of your everyday life. After all, nobody likes to wear wet clothes. Getting a better understanding of how your dryer works can help you understand better how it should be maintained and serviced so that it can work better and last longer. 

How Your Dryer Works

Your dryer needs two key components in order to dry clothes effectively: Heat and airflow. Every dryer is different but they all have some basic components in common. The dryer will have a heating element that provides heat, a lint screen that helps trap some of the lint, a lint trap, a fan an exhaust port, and a connection hose of some kind that connects to the dryer vent. 

When your clothing goes through the wash, dirt and lint are lifted from the garments but remain on the fabric in its wet state. In the process of drying the lint is released as water is removed from the wet clothing and the dryer tumbler increases friction on the clothing. Some of this lint from the drying process is trapped by the dryers lint screen and some go into the dryers exhaust system and dryer vent. Your dryer creates heat from the heating element and the fan blows air through the exhaust system, connection hose, and dryer vent. The combination of airflow and heat helps remove lint and moisture from the clothes and dry them out. 

What is lint? 

Lint is made up of tiny bits of fabric fibers shed from the edges of clothing, towels, etc. Clothing made of cotton and wool fabrics generates more lint than fabrics that are made out of rayon or other synthetic materials. Friction from wear of the clothing or the movement of the dryer shed off lint.  

Why Is It Important To Clean The Lint Screen? 

The lint screen is the first place that your dryer will catch some of the lint from the process of drying the clothes. If you fail to clean it after each cycle it can accumulate an abundance of lint this can actually block your dryers flow of air and become a safety hazard. A dirty lint screen can actually ignite and become a serious fire hazard. 

Why Do I Need To Clean My Dryer Vent

Cleaning your dryer vent is vitally important for both safety and the performance of your dryer vent. Dryer and dryer vent related fires are the second leading cause of home fires in the US. When your dryer vent is clogged or has low airflow it puts more strain on the dryer. This often causes mechanical issues with the dryer. Poor airflow is the number one leading cause of all dryer mechanical issues. A dirty dryer vent also puts more back pressure on the dryer vent system which means that more lint actually accumulates in the dryer connection hose and inside the dryer cabinet itself. This is why our full-service cleaning appointments are important because they include not only cleaning out the dryer vent but the dryer as well. 

Understanding The Key Components Of Your Dryer

Which part of the dryer is the lint screen? 

The lint screen is the first part of the dryer’s exhaust system. It helps catch some of the lint generated by the clothes drying cycle. 

Which part of the dryer is the lint trap? 

The lint trap is the portion of the dryer that the lint screen either inserts into or sits over the top

What is the dryer connection hose? 

The dryer connection hose is also some times referred to as a dryer transition hose or just as a connection hose. There are several different types of transition hoses that are sometimes used. For the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of connection, hoses watch our video on The Best Connection Hose For Your Dryer. As a general rule, you want to make sure that you use a hose that is UL listed as safe to use as a dryer transition hose. 

Which part is the dryer vent? 

The dryer vent is the part of your dryer vent system that the connection hose connects to and that carries the flow of air to the exterior of the home. 

Related Questions

How often should I clean my dryer vent? 

In most cases having your dryer vent cleaned annually is a home maintenance best practice. However your need for dryer vent cleaning will vary depending on the length of the dryer vent, the number of turns it has and the amount of laundry you are doing each week. For more info on this topic read our post How Often Should I Clean My Dryer Vent