Dryer Maintenance Checklist

By Lyle Weischwill | Dec. 27, 2023 4:55 am PST

Image of Sears Home Services Technician completing dryer maintenance

Don’t take your clothes dryer for granted. You depend on your dryer every week to help you easily complete your laundry chores. When it breaks, you and everyone in your household know it.

Keep your dryer clean and well-maintained so it doesn’t break down and keeps drying your clothes efficiently. Follow the tips in this checklist to help keep your clothes dryer in top shape.

Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent System

Focus on what’s most important for your clothes dryer’s performance first.

Lint and debris clogs in the exhaust vent system can cause the dryer to take longer to dry clothes. Clothes that is tumbling inside a dryer with a clogged vent can also overheat.

Follow these steps to clean the dryer vent system:

  1. Check the dryer damper vent on the outside of your home. Clear any obstructions that are blocking the damper from opening properly. Clean and lubricate the damper vent and make sure that it swings freely on its hinge so that exhaust air flows freely out of your home.
  2. Disconnect the flexible exhaust duct from its wall connection. Vacuum lint and dust from the exhaust duct going to the outside of your home.
  3. Use a lint brush or leaf blower to clear lint and debris from the exhaust duct system going through the wall behind your clothes dryer to the outside of your home.
  4. Vacuum lint and debris from the exhaust outlet on the dryer. Reassemble the flexible exhaust duct to restore the air path going to the outside of your home.

If the dryer exhaust vent duct system snakes through walls in your home or exhausts through the roof, have a Sears Home Services expert clean the dryer exhaust vent system for you.

Professional dryer duct cleaning from Sears Home Services can help your dryer work at peak efficiency, which can save money on energy bills. A clean dryer duct also makes your home safer by helping prevent dryer fires—and, for gas dryers, by helping prevent carbon monoxide from escaping from the duct into the home.

Thoroughly Clean the Lint Screen

In addition to removing lint from the lint screen before each load, you’ll also need to wash it thoroughly each month.

Fabric softener, often from dryer softener sheets, can build up on your lint screen and inhibit air flow through the dryer. You may not even see the softener residue.

Follow the steps in this video to thoroughly wash the lint screen in your dryer:

Remove the lint screen and wash it with water and soft bristle brush to remove fabric softener and dryer sheet residue that builds up on the lint screen. Let the lint screen dry completely and reinstall it in the dryer.

Don’t forget to repeat this procedure every month so your dryer will continue working efficiently.

Clean the Dryer Drum

Inspect the inside of your dryer drum and wipe it with a moist cloth if you don’t see any stains. If you do see stains or deposits, follow the advice below for cleaning the drum.

Transferred Dye

The dye from new jeans can rub off on the dryer drum (not to mention your hands), leaving a blue or gray residue. To remove it, rub a paste made from powdered laundry detergent and very warm water on the stains. When the stains are gone, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off any paste that remains.

Tip: To keep the dye from transferring next time, dry the jeans inside out.

Chewing Gum

First, soften the gum; you can either put a few rags in the dryer and run the dryer for a few minutes, or use a blow dryer. If there are just a few spots of gum, use a hard spatula or a plastic knife to gently scrape them off. If there are many small spots, rub them with a thick paste made from powdered laundry detergent and water.

Lipstick

Run the dryer empty on high heat for a few minutes to soften the lipstick. While the dryer is still warm, scrape up as much lipstick as possible with a rubber spatula or the edge of a credit card. Use a few drops of olive oil on a microfiber cloth to wipe away any remaining residue, then clean the area with powdered laundry detergent and a damp sponge. Rinse the drum with a clean, damp cloth and wipe the drum dry.

Ink

If the ink is from a ball point pen and is fresh, place dry rags in the dryer and run for an hour on the highest heat setting to absorb the ink. For any ink that isn’t fresh, rub liquid dish soap with a soft damp cloth over the stain, then rinse with a damp cloth and dry. Use an eraser sponge for stubborn ink stains.

Note: After using any cleaning method, it’s a good idea to place wet rags in the dryer and run at the highest heat setting until dry to remove any residue.

Image of homeowner completing the dryer maintenance checklist

Clean the Moisture Sensor Bars

Many clothes dryers have sensor bars that tell the dryer to shut off when the load is dry. If you use dryer sheets, residue from the sheet’s fabric softener can make sensors think the load is dry when it’s still damp. Clean the sensor bars every 6 months or so, or if the dryer is consistently under-drying the laundry. Dip the tip of a rag in rubbing alcohol and wipe the bars to clean off residue.

Schedule Clean & Maintain Service by Sears Home Services

To prevent fires, it’s essential to have a service technician clean the inside of the dryer cabinet yearly. Lint that accumulates inside dryers contributes to a third of the nearly 3000 dryer fires reported each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Keep your family safe by having your dryer professionally cleaned and maintained by Sears Home Services every year.

During Sears Home Services Cleaning & Maintenance Service, the technician will perform these tasks:

  • Check the exhaust system.
  • Inspect the heating system.
  • Check the drum, drive system and drum seals.
  • Examine and test the moisture sensor.
  • Inspect the power cord and electrical connections.
  • Measure dryer operating temperature.
  • Check the controls.

Having your dryer professionally cleaned and maintained every year will help prevent unexpected breakdowns and the dryer will last longer. Trust Sears Home Services to help keep your dryer working safely and efficiently.

Tip: Bundle your dryer service with cleaning and maintenance for your washer to keep both appliances in top shape.

Image of Sears Home Services technician completing maintenance on a washing machine

For even more convenience and savings, have a Sears Home Services Technician clean and maintain all of your home appliances at once for one low price by choosing the Kitchen and Laundry Cleaning & Maintenance Bundle.

When it comes to helping you manage your home, the house experts at Sears Home Services Technicians aim to keep everything in your home working efficiently. Sears is the #1 appliance maintenance and repair provider in the country, delivering guaranteed quality and workmanship directly to you.

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