Mary asked: How do I clean a dryer lint screen that is already coated with a residue? I bought a used dryer that looked great, but the dryer lint screen is almost blocked by a residue which I am assuming is from the dryer sheets. How can I get the residue off? I have washed it with soapy and water, using a brush, but that didn’t take it off. Please help.
Dryer sheets leave a film on the lint screen that can lead to problems with your dryer. This film blocks the air flow, which means the dryer has to use more energy and the heating unit is more likely to burn out sooner. Keeping the dryer lint screen clean will keep it working well and nearly double the life of the dryer. If you’ve tried cleaning with no success, you may just need to tweak your approach. Try the General Cleaning method below first and if the residue remains, use the Deep Cleaning method.
You Will Need:
- Dish soap
- Old toothbrush or nylon scrubbing brush
- Hot water
- Sink, tub or bucket
- Soft towel
Steps to Clean the Lint Trap:
- Begin by filling a sink, tub or bucket with hot water. Whichever you choose, it should be large enough to allow the trap to soak.
- Add a good amount of soap and agitate the water to mix.
- Remove any loose lint from the lint trap. Wipe it with your hand or use a vacuum with attachments to remove it.
- Place the lint trap into the hot water and allow it to soak.
- Use the scrubbing brush to remove the loosened residue.
- Rinse frequently to evaluate how much of the residue remains.
- Continue soaking and scrubbing until the film is removed.
- Rinse completely with clean water.
- Dry the screen carefully with a soft towel.
- Allow it to air dry completely before placing it back into the dryer.
If soap and scrubbing does not work to remove the residue, follow the steps below.
You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- A spray bottle
- White vinegar
- A scrub brush
- A deep tray
- Denture cleaning tablets
Steps to Remove the Residue:
- Sprinkle baking soda over the screen. Use enough to thoroughly coat the screen.
- If you have a spray bottle, fill it with white vinegar, then mist the screen. If you don’t have a spray bottle, slowly pour the vinegar over the screen. You don’t want to rinse off the powder, you only want to add enough vinegar that it will produce a fizzing reaction.
- Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes, then scrub the tray while rinsing.
- If the residue remains, find a deep tray or bucket that the lint screen can fit into. A deep tray would be better because it would require less liquid. A sink can be used instead if needed.
- Put the lint screen in the tray and fill the tray with enough water that the screen is covered.
- Add denture cleaning tablets to the water. If using a large bucket, you may need to use more tablets. Read the label on your specific product for water ratio amounts.
- Leave the tray in the water for as long as the product is fizzing.
- If the residue remains, there is one more method you can try. Fill the deep tray with water again and put the screen in the water. Pour white vinegar into the water. Using at least a cup of white vinegar will produce the best results. If using a deep bucket that holds several gallons of water, you may want to add an extra cup.
- Let the lint tray soak in the water for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the screen and scrub it with a scrub brush.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Dryer sheets are known for causing increased clogging on the lint screen. Clean it once every 6-8 weeks for best performance. If using liquid fabric softener, clean the screen 2-3 times a year.
- Clean the lint screen after each load of laundry.
- Remove all loose lint from the lint trap and ducts several times a year. This keeps your dryer in good working order and will help prevent fires.