How to Clean a Dryer Lint Screen

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 this method to keep your dryer working at top performance.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Add a good amount of soap and agitate the water to mix.
  3. Remove any loose lint from the lint trap. Wipe it with your hand or use a vacuum with attachments to remove it.
  4. Place the lint trap into the hot water and allow it to soak.
  5. Use the scrubbing brush to remove the loosened residue.
  6. Rinse frequently to evaluate how much of the residue remains.
  7. Continue soaking and scrubbing until the film is removed.
  8. Rinse completely with clean water.
  9. Dry the screen carefully with a soft towel.
  10. Allow it to air dry completely before placing it back into the dryer.

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.


  1. Great job! Thanks!

  2. This was such a helpful post! Thanks!

  3. My old lint screen was so clogged; I inherited my dryer when I bought this house and the lint screen never had a good cleaning. I tried soap and water and a toothbrush and a rough sponge, and that didn’t do a thing. I even thought I could use a flame to burn the clogs out – that worked a little, but not so great.

    The saving grace was my metal BBQ brush! I had soaked the lint screen in soapy water overnight and in the morning, I used the metal brush and voila! I can see through the lint screen again and don’t have pay for a new one!

  4. Thanks for the tip! A bowl of hot water and some dish soap. Scrub with a toothbrush. Blow dry. Done in 10 min. Looks brand new.

  5. This procedure works “like a charm!” Thanks!

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