How to Clean A Dryer

Keeping your dryer clean is keeping your dryer safe. Excess dirt and dust can cause fire hazards, as can clogged lint traps. Keep your dryer performing well and efficiently with this easy cleaning method. 

You Will Need: 

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Mild dish soap 

Steps to Clean the Dryer: 

  1. Unplug the dryer before cleaning.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water.
  3. Add a small amount of mild dish soap and swish around to mix.
  4. Moisten a soft cloth with the soapy water.
  5. Use the cloth to wipe down the exterior of the dryer and remove any dirt or dust build up.
  6. Dry with a clean soft cloth, if desired.
  7. Replace the water if it is dirty or continue.
  8. Rinse the cloth well and clean the inside of the dryer with the soapy water and a soft cloth.
  9. Rinse with a clean cloth and clean water.
  10. Next, you will need to clean the lint trap. This is an area with a lot of build up that can be a fire hazard. For complete cleaning instructions, see our guide How to Clean a Dryer Lint Screen.
  11. Follow this cleaning with a vacuum to remove any loose lint from the lint trap holder. Keeping this area clean is essential for safe drying.
  12. Once clean, plug the dryer back in, and it’s ready to use. 

Additional Tips and Advice 

  • To clean tough stains and melted items from your dryer, see our guide other guide about How to Clean a Dryer.
  • Never use any flammable products to clean your dryer. The heat from the dryer can cause the chemicals to ignite.


  1. Lynn says:

    They make an attachment to go on your vacuum cleaner hose that you can use to get all of the excess lint out of the lint trap on your dryer. I got mine at Wal-Mart; it came with the vacuum attachment, a brush for cleaning the inside of the dryer and another brush for cleaning the exhaust vent at the back of the dryer.

  2. Lynn says:

    Wipe out the inside of the dryer and all around the door seal once a week with a disinfectant cleaning wipe to get out any oils, grease or extra lint.

  3. Lynn says:

    If you’re lucky, the crayons just tumble around and make scribbles on the inside of the dryer. You can get the scribbles off by lightly scrubbing over them with a scouring sponge or plastic scouring pad, or with steel wool if you are very careful. I’m usually not that lucky, so if the crayon melts inside the dryer here’s what you do:

    1) Scrape off as much of the wax as you can with your fingernail.

    2) Pick out crayon that has melted into holes or cracks with a pointed nail file or the tip of a kitchen knife.

    3) Use the scribble removal method above to get any crayon remnants off of the dryer interior.

    4) Run something you don’t care much about, like your dust rags, through a full drying cycle on High to make sure there isn’t crayon left somewhere that will come off on your clothes or towels.

  4. Lynn says:

    Cleaning the lint trap isn’t enough! Try to clean behind and under your dryer once a month, and once a year or so get a handy person to take the back off the dryer and blow all of the lint and dust out out of it.

    If you can, have them take the vent hose off and blow that out too. You’ll see all of the crud that has built up in the vent hose come flying out of the outside vent, so be sure to check the outside vent afterwards to make sure it isn’t clogged.

  5. Lynn says:

    If the crayon gets into the lint trap and melts on the screen, take the screen out and use a hair dryer to melt the wax, then remove the wax with a paper towel. Use an old toothbrush to get wax remnants out of the screen itself.

  6. Lynn says:

    Use Formula 409 or the equivalent. You can’t let any of the cleaner go down the holes! Spray it on a cloth and then use the cloth, don’t spray the cleaner directly into the dryer. Once you’ve gotten off as much of the stain as you can, wipe out the inside of the dryer with a clean damp rag to get the 409 residue off.

  7. Tessie says:

    Use rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe it down inside. This is really good for removing ink.

  8. Allison says:

    Be sure that if you’re using a flammable cleaner, let the fumes dry completely before turning the dryer on!

  9. Renee says:

    Put apple cider vinegar all over a towel and dry it in the dryer. That is all I have ever known to get cat pee smell out.

  10. Debbie says:

    I read on eHow to use a towel soaked in a solution of white vinegar and water on high heat setting for 45 minutes will start to remove the odor. There are several more steps they use after this. Like using a pet odor remover spray. All I know is I’m trying this out tonight because my devil cat peed in my dryer. SO I will let you know what happens!

  11. Mary Ann says:

    My clothes dryer has an unpleasant odor, which of course stays on the clothing that I am drying. The dryer is at least 10 years old and it is a GE Spacemaker. I use Gain dryer sheets, but still the odor lingers. What can I do to eliminate this odor?

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