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Throughout the course of a year, thousands of homeowners lose their homes due to reasons that are completely avoidable but simply may be something unknown to them, dryer vents. The lint that gathers from your clothes in these dryer vents is highly flammable. Over time this builds up and needs to be removed.

Let’s take a look at the signs that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned out, and how to do it.

Your clothes or the outside of your dryer are really hot

When you do a load of laundry in your dryer, you should open it to clothes that are a pleasant and warm temperature and they should obviously smell like clean clothes. If the outside portion of your dryer is unusually hot and your clothes are far hotter than normal that’s a sure sign that your dryer vents need cleaning, the heat is being trapped in your dryer because it is clogged and can’t escape. This is very dangerous and could potentially start your clothes or the clogged lint on fire.

Clothes Take too Long to Dry

When you do a normal load of laundry, your clothes will be dry unless you overload the dryer with too large of a load. If you’re doing a normal load of laundry and at the end of the cycle your clothes are still considerably damp, that’s a strong indicator that you have a clogged dryer vent. A clogged dryer vent will prevent the necessary airflow of hot air from circulating and in turn causes your clothes to remain wet or very damp.

Lint or other Debris Buildup

If you look at the side of your house outside where the dryer vent exit is and can visually see debris and lint on the ground or that the end of your dryer vent is clogged, it is most certainly time to call a professional and get it inspected and cleaned out to prevent any chances of something drastic like a fire from occurring.

Burnt or Burning Smell

If you smell smoke there’s probably a fire, or a high chance of one. If you have a clogged vent the trapped lint will get extremely hot. If it smells like something is burning in your laundry area it’s time to immediately stop the machine and fix the problem. If you don’t and smoke appears, there is most certainly a fire and you have bigger problems. You need to immediately clean out the dryer vent, lint trap, and the duct that attaches to the wall.

Cleaning your Dryer Vents

Now that we looked at some of the signs to look for that your dryer vents are clogged or need cleaning, let’s take a look at some methods on how to clean out your dryer vent.

Safety First

The first and foremost step to cleaning out your dryer vents is to unplug your dryer from any power source, this will prevent any chances of you getting shocked if there is an electrical issue.

Vent Detachment and Inspection

After you have unplugged the power source from your dryer, pull your dryer away from the wall while being very careful not to damage the vent hose or pipe while you do this. Detach the vent hose and use a flashlight to make a thorough inspection. If you see clumps, lint, debris or a completely clogged vent or tube, it’s time to get cleaning.

Cleaning your vent

There are several ways you as a homeowner can clean your vents. The best and safest way is to call a professional air duct cleaning service. This will ensure the job is done right as well as thorough. A duct cleaning service has powerful equipment that does a much better job than a house vacuum.

Maintenance is key. In between professional cleanings, there are products you can purchase that attach to a vacuum cleaner that aid in removing the lint which has a tendency to cling to the walls of the vent and tube. If the vent is completely clogged and in arms reach, you might have to start grabbing by hand to break it up enough to vacuum the rest.

Another popular method is to remove the cover from your outer wall vent where it exits your house and use a leaf blower to blow any clumps of lint through the vent system, just make sure to clean up the litter and mess afterwards.


House fires caused by clogged dryer vents is easily avoidable and can be done by you and should be done on a regular basis of once every 6 months or so, but in reality you can inspect it as often as you want. In some cases you may have to hire a professional if the lint buildup is severe, but that is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your home.

Unique Air Duct Cleaning can help you maintain your air ducts and dryer vent with ease, so you don’t have to worry. Our experts will get the job done right with minimal disruption to your home and will work around your work schedule. Our family owned and operated duct cleaning business has provided superior dryer vent cleaning services and air duct cleaning services to Michigan residents for over 25 years. Call today to schedule an appointment! Free Estimates