How Often Do I Need To Clean My Tumble Dryer’s Lint Filter?

In a nutshell, you should clean the lint filter on your tumble dryer after every use. We all lead busy lives and as a result, we all have a million things to do every day. However many things we put off during an average day, cleaning the lint filter shouldn’t be one of them.

To find out why it’s so important to clean the lint filter after every use, keep reading.

Why Is It Important To Clean The Lint Filter On The Dryer?

Dryer lint is made up of tiny fibres that are shed from your laundry as it rubs together in the washer and dryer. Every time your clothes are subjected to the rigours of the washer and dryer, they shed fibres because of friction.

The dryer’s lint filter captures most of those fibres which is why there is always lint in the lint filter every time you use your dryer. It’s important to empty the lint filter for many reasons including;

  • To Dry Clothes Faster
    To get your laundry dry in the dryer, it requires a decent airflow. If the lint filter is clogged, the hot air cannot travel around the drum freely which means it will take longer to dry your clothes.
  • Save Energy
    If the lint filter is clogged, the dryer needs to work harder to get your laundry dry. This uses extra electricity which can be reduced by regularly cleaning the lint filter.
  • Save Money
    The more electricity your dryer uses, the higher your utility bills will be too. If the lint filter is empty, the appliance won’t need to work as hard which means lower energy bills.
  • Help The Dryer To Last Longer
    If the dryer doesn’t need to struggle, it means less pressure on the components which means the appliance should last longer as well.
  • Reduce The Risk Of Fire
    Tumble dryers produce a lot of heat and lint is highly flammable. The frequent removal of lint from your dryer will help prevent the risk of fire. Tumble dryer fires are reported as the cause of house fires all around the world, removing lint from the filter is one small step in preventing your home becoming a statistic.

How Often Do You Need To Clean The Dryer’s Lint Filter?

Dryer Lint

All tumble dryer manufacturers agree that the lint filter should be cleaned after every use. That’s every time you use your tumble dryer, you need to empty the lint filter.

Many modern dryers automatically remind you to check the lint filter before use or to empty the lint filter after use. However, don’t rely on your appliance reminding you, get into the habit of emptying the lint filter as soon as you remove the dry clothes from the drum.

How To Clean The Lint Filter

Cleaning the lint filter on your tumble dryer is an easy task which won’t take more than a few minutes to perform. 

Locating The Lint Filter

The first task is to locate the filter which is usually in one of the following places;

  • Inside The Dryer Door
    Many lint filters are located inside the dryer door. You will find a handle that lifts the filter out of its housing. The filter can then be opened and all of the lint removed.
  • At The Top Right-Hand Corner Of The Dryer
    On some dryers the lint filter can be found at the top right-hand corner of the dryer near the control panel. These filters typically have a small handle that can be used to remove the filter.
  • On The Back Wall Of The Dryer
    If your dryer has the lint filter on the back wall of the dryer, it will be a small square opening with tiny holes. Removing the filter involves squeezing the sides and pulling the filter out using the holes.

Cleaning The Lint Filter

Once you have located and removed the lint filter, remove as much lint as you can using your fingers. This is often all that is needed to clean the lint filter, but if there are some areas where the lint appears to be stuck fast, the filter will need to be washed.

To do this, run the filter under warm water and use a soft brush to scrub any dirty sticky deposits. Then ensure the filter is completely dry before replacing it in the dryer.

It’s important to ensure the lint filter is completely dry because if it’s wet or even slightly damp, it encourages mould and mildew growth. This will make all of your laundry smell mouldy.

Washing the lint filter on your dryer isn’t something that’s required after every use. As long as you empty the lint filter after every use, it should only require washing 3 or 4 times per year.

Cleaning The Filter Housing

Whilst the lint filter is out of the housing, we recommend vacuuming the housing to remove any lint that’s slipped behind the filter. Ensure your vacuum nozzle reaches into all of the space where the filter fits.

You can buy a cleaning kit to help with this.

Sealegend 2 Pieces Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit and Dryer Lint Brush Vacuum Hose Attachment Brush Lint Remover Power Washer and Dryer Vent Vacuum Hose
  • [Remove LINT BUILD-UP] - Sealegend dryer vent cleaner kit removes lint that has accumulated for many years in your dryer vents, making your appliance runs more efficiently and securely.
  • [DEEP CLEANING] - Flexible and handy vacuum hose attachments over 3.6feet in length, the two detachable cleaning pipes allow for deep access to difficult places. Perfect for cleaning appliances that you can't move.

Cleaning The Vent

If you own a vented tumble dryer, you will need to ensure the vent and vent hose are cleaned regularly as well. This will require the use of the vacuum too as well as that handy cleaning kit (see above).

By removing as much lint as you can from the vent hose and vent you will prolong the life of your dryer and reduce your energy bills and also help reduce the risk of fires too.

Cleaning The Filter Drawer Or Condenser 

Heat pump dryers have a filter drawer as well as a lint filter and condenser dryers will need the condenser cleaned as well. These are typically located behind the kick plate cover at the bottom of the appliance.

Clean the filter using a vacuum or if the foam pad is exceptionally dirty, you can rinse it under the tap. Ensure it is fully dry before replacing, this should be done every 4 to 5 uses.

Ways To Keep Your Tumble Dryer Working Properly

Tumble Dryer

Regularly cleaning the lint filter is a great start in maintaining your tumble dryer and helping it to run properly for longer. However, there are other things you should be doing to preserve your dryer. These include;

  • Not Overloading The Drum
    You should never fill the drum of your dryer to more than ¾ full. This will prevent placing the appliance under too much pressure and help to get your laundry dry in as short a time as possible.
  • Keeping The Room At An Ambient Temperature
    Tumble dryers should never be operated at temperatures below 5°C or above 30°C. This ensures the dryer will work correctly without having to work too hard or overheat.
  • Never Tumble Anything WIth Oils On
    If any of the laundry has had oil spilt on it, you should never tumble dry that item as it could cause a fire as the drum heats up.
  • Always Allow Adequate Airflow
    Tumble dryers need space all around to ventilate correctly. This means never blocking your dryer in a tight space where it cannot maintain an adequate airflow. This means allowing a 10mm space above the dryer and at least 15mm at the sides and back of the appliance.

Can You Run The Dryer Without A Lint Filter?

No, you should never run the dryer without the lint filter being in place. This is because the lint will build up in the appliance where it could easily catch fire as the appliance heats up.

Apart from the risk of fire, your laundry would be covered in lint without the lint filter to catch it.

Should You Clean The Lint Filter On A Tumble Dryer?

As you can see, it’s important to clean the lint filter on your tumble dryer to ensure it runs effectively, efficiently and safely. You need to get into the habit of cleaning the lint filter every time you use your dryer.

This will reduce energy bills, cut down the length of drying cycles and reduce the risk of fires.

SEE ALSO: Tumble Dryer Not Collecting Lint? (here’s why & how to fix)

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you don’t clean the dryer lint filter?

If you don’t clean the dryer lint filter, your laundry will take longer to dry, your dryer will need to work harder to get your laundry dry, your energy bills will increase and you increase the risk of your dryer catching fire.

Does cleaning the lint trap make the dryer work better?

Cleaning the lint trap does make the dryer work better because it will not have to work so hard to force hot air around the drum. This means reduced drying times, less energy usage and a reduced risk of fire.

Is it OK to run a dryer without a lint trap?

No, it is not OK to run a dryer without a lint trap because it will accumulate too much lint which could reduce the lifespan of the appliance and cause a fire.

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