Taking good care of your clothes dryer requires only a little time and effort, but the payback is big. In fact, if your dryer takes too long to dry clothes or shimmies when it dries, it may just need some TLC. Here’s what you need to know about clothes dryer care:
• Keep the laundry area clean. Vacuum or sweep around the dryer weekly and under the dryer every month or so.
• Wash the outside of the dryer once a week with warm water and dishwashing liquid or another mild soap. Dry it well to prevent rusting. This will keep the dryer looking nice and also keep it residue free, if you routinely put wet clothes on top of it.
• Also wash the inside of the dryer with warm water and a mild soap. Unplug the dryer first. Again, the washing prevents reside buildup. If the inside of your dryer is stained with crayon, ink, dye, candy or gum, or lipstick, check these directions for removing stains inside a dryer from Better Homes & Gardens.
• Keep the lint screen clean. Remove it, brush away the lint, and replace it before each load. (That’s the expert recommendation. Honestly, I do mine every few loads.)
• Use a dryer lint brush to remove lint from the opening that holds the lint screen. If you don’t have a dryer lint brush, use the small thin attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
• Make sure the dryer is level. There are feet on the dryer that you can adjust to level it. If your dryer shakes when it’s running, the parts will wear out sooner.
• Make sure the vent system—the ductwork and vent—is clean. It’s likely you can do this yourself, but if not, have a professional clean it a couple of times a year. (A full vent system is a fire hazard!)
• Only use your dryer for clean items, fresh out of the washing machine. Don’t toss in used towels or clothes that haven’t been washed (so you can put them back on your toddler for the rest of the afternoon, for example). Dirty items can stain your dryer and leave a residue. (The dryer can also set any stains in your fabrics.)
If your dryer is making unusual noises (squeaking, for example) or not performing up to par after your best efforts at maintenance, give a pro a call. It may need to be lubricated or balanced or otherwise expertly repaired.