I do a lot of laundry at my house. LOTS. Enough for me to say to my husband, “I’m glad we’re alive during this age when technology is so abundant. I can’t imagine doing laundry for you without electricity.”
So when our “new to us” dryer started skimping out on me I started to panic. Back in Maryland we had a dryer that worked (by work I mean hummed and rotated its basket) but didn’t heat up the air. $100 later the electrician replaced a TINY little fuse that burned out. Yes. $100. I was peeved.[the_ad id=”23560″]
Well I’ve been experiencing this lately with this “new to me” dryer and I don’t want to fork over $100 to fix it when I could use it toward a multitude of other projects.
Somehow I stumbled upon this link online. It contains 17 Tips to Make Your Life Easier. #17 in particular caught my attention. It involved cleaning the lint filter.
What I learned from that blog post:
Dryer sheets create a film over lint filter’s mesh over time. That’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film , but it’s there. This phenomenon also causes dryer units to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! The electrician said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& to cut energy bills) is to take that filter out, wash it with hot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least EVERY six months. This extends the life of the dryer at least twice!”
Good advice, huh?
So I did it. I took out the lint filter and brought it with me to the bathtub:
I can’t see a film, but why is that water just sitting there? Isn’t that what the mesh is for?[the_ad id=”23655″]
I took some Dawn liquid detergent and my toothbrush from my oil stain removal experiment, and as that experiment went through the rinse cycle, I washed this.
A quick (30 second) brush through…and look at the water run now:
I replaced the lint filter into the dryer and put in the next load into the dryer. What normally wasn’t dry until a second run-through (towels) in the dryer was piping HOT even before the cycle finished:
Yes…there were still a good 20 minutes left before it finished its cycle and the clothes were dry.
TRY THIS and see for yourself! You could be saving tons on your energy bill!
Amanda Shaw says
another great way to save on drying your clothes (especially towels) is to add a dry towel to your load of wet towels. It seems a little redundant but it cuts dry time almost in half.
YES! That’s very true Amanda! Thanks for mentioning it. I do that from time to time! But if that doesn’t speed up the drying (after checking the lint trap) then washing the lint trap is a must!
My washer repair person noticed I used dryer sheets and he told me to also clean the vents from inside the dryer to the lint screen.
Terri Hamilton says
If you just spray Awesome on dryer vent you don’t really have to scrub must I use it all the time at my apartment complex Did like you was at home butfound Awesome and it is awesome $1.00 a bottle you can’t beat it for a buck I get it at Dollar General I’m a smoker boy really cleans walls and stuff
Thank you, thank you, thank you! For both oil stain and the dryer lint filter
Great tip! We moved into a new apartment and I was having issues with my dryer. I had to run it each load twice. It turned out that my dryer was fine but the vent that was in the wall was clogged. As soon as we had that vacuumed out it was like I had a brand new dryer. Now I will be sure to wash my lint filter to keep the energy savings going.
Yes, I constantly clean out the lint catcher. I also cleaned out the lint exhaust pipe and it was amazing how much lint was in there!
Your comment reminded me that I have to clean off the film from our lint catcher. You’ll see great results!
I too have tried washing my lint screen. It definitely helps but…..my screen rusted! I dried it well after washing it, not to mention using it while running the dryer. Any ideas on that?
Sorry to hear that Crystal! I’ve never heard of a dryer screen rusting. You might need to replace it :(
Use a hair dryer to dry the lint screen after you wash it: don’t let it air dry because that gives it enough time to form rust or exacerbate rust that is already present. My guess is that there were already teeny particles of rust forming on the lint screen.
I used this tip when I rejuvenated two old very rusty metal garden chairs this summer. The directions I was following said that when you scrub or wire-brush a rusty surface, then rinse the rust dust off, use a hair dryer so rust won’t get a chance to start its chemical process.
(I know. I know. I’m a year late to the post here. Sorry. Maybe it will help someone else.)
Before replacing your dryer screen, try giving a scrub with some water and Bar Keeper’s Friend (the powder kind). I find Bar Keeper’s Friend to be my go-to for all rust problems — I even use it occasionally on minor automotive rust. It’s like Ajax, but it takes rust off almost instantly.
We haven’t used dryer sheets in quite some time ( we started using wool dryer balls). But I don’t think it would hurt to clean my lint trap. In the past I’ve even gone as far as shoving the vacuum hose down as far as I can to suck out extra loose lint.
Great post! I already periodically clean my lint trap with soap and water but I never thought about drying it with a blow dryer…going to do this the next time!
I do want to share a tip on my newly found “dryer sheets”. They are sponges that are soaked in fabric softener…my preference is Downey®. This is the link to the DYI dryer sheets I use: http://themamasgirls.com/reusable-dryer-sheets-with-fabric-softener-diy/
Besides being more economical because they are “reusable”, these “sheets” don’t have a wax coating like regular dryer sheets…the wax is what coats the lint trap and catches fire.
This happened to my sister-in-law. Thank God she walked into her laundry area before it got out of control.
Another issue is, fabric softener contains a waxy substance. So consequently, the wax is on your clothes as you are drying them. You may still eventually get the lint screen build up. Put several drops of your favorite essential oil in your liquid detergent for the same effect.
You mentioned paying a repair man $100 to replace your dryer fuse. I fixed ours (same problem) for $12.00. There is a fantastic website: http://www.repairclinic.com. You click on the appliance, i.e. washer, dryer, etc., enter your model number and a list of “symptoms” come up. Click on you r “symptom” and there are possible causes, instructions for determining the cause and instructions to repair the problem, including part names & numbers. There was even a video on how to use a volt meter to test the fuse! So far I have fixed my dryer and washer about four times…total cost for all repairs: $22.00 for parts!!! It’s amazing and gives you such a great feeling of accomplishment & SO much money saved. Check it out!
I second what Deenah says. I haven’t used dryer sheets for years. I use the wool balls. Very economical and environmentally friendly! :)
Dryer sheets are also toxic! Best to stay away from any kind of chemicals if possible.
Everything is chemistry and chemicals. Some chemicals can be harmful. The dose makes the poison. It is better to seek out chemicals that are less harmful.
I started using the ecosheets, they work very well for me in non static- y oregon! The best part is that they don’t leave a residue, scent, or toxins and they are cheap and reusable. I also use a ball that charges in uv light to change the pH of the washing water to cut detergent down by a third, plus branch basics concentrate as detergent (plus essential oils for scent). I save so much money on laundry now, and there is no longer residue buildup anywhere.
Thanks for the awesome tips. I put my favorite sweater on this morning, looked down, saw a couple of oil stains. I will do this tonight!!!!!!!
I started using wool dryer balls about 6 months ago and the results are amazing. I do craft shows so I started making and selling them at shows. I can’t keep them in stock! My customers are loving them. I sold a ton to people for Christmas gifts and now I am getting orders from the recipients of those gifts. The dryer balls are very effective and I have had rave reviews from so many people. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the dryer balls. You can have the scent you want and not what is on the dryer sheets.
Erica Neumann says
Hot damn! You saved our dryer! It was a week away from being replaced (to our chagrin). It showed improvement in the very first minute, and that lint trap did retain the water in the beginning.
Truly astonished and very grateful in Canada.
Lol! I had a repairman tell me my washer drum was busted, & I was up the creek. Charged me $50. To me that answer didn’t fit, I looked some more, and realized the h2o was coming from a pipe leading to the AC. It was moved slightly out of place and was dripping on the floor. I was furious. I loathe repairmen. Recently- having dryer problems but don’t use dryer sheets. So I dug deeper. Not sure if this was posted yet but I learned – take the front and top off your dryer and clean the lint out once a year. It gets past the filter and builds up inside. (And I clean my filter every single load) I also removed the drum and cleaned out the drum vent. It was super easy, took me less than an hour. That includes putting it back together. (Hint- tape the belt in place on top of drum while you guide the bottom back into its slots.) I pulled enough dog hair out of the drum vent to make another dog. Gross. I also cleaned out the exhaust pipe and replaced the duct with a new safer rigid one. My dryer runs like a dream now, it seriously drys loads in 20-30 minutes, at the very least it used to take 90 minutes!
Totally agree with what the other ladies have said- I gave up dryer sheets years ago, they aggravate my KP. I put white vinegar in the wash where softener would go and use my porcupine static balls in the dryer.
Reading your reply’s & tips were very helpful & enlightening to say the least. Thank you to everyone that has shared their tips.
Those dryer sheets are LOADED with chemicals — plus the gloppy film melts onto your clothes and actually makes them LESS ABSORBENT.
I found these NO LINT Dryer balls on line and they are FANTASTIC! No lint on my dark clothes, they get my clothes softer, with fewer wrinkles. AND they shorten the drying cycle — Win-WIN-WIN!!!
I’m going to do this today! My dryer was horrible at drying but has improved since I make my own dryer sheets using vinegar, water and whatever essential oil I’m in the mood for a scent. I suspect the vinegar has been breaking down some of the building up from previous tenants use of dryer sheets and this might just give it that last push it needs.
I had to stop using fabric softer sheets or liquid fabric softener in the washer because the smell was triggering my allergies. I use white vinegar instead. I put it in the liquid fabric softener dispenser in the washer, and it work just as well. If I forget to put in in the washer, I soak a dry wash clothe in vinegar and add it to the load in the dryer. The clothes come out soft and fluffy.
My lint screen is not removable☹️ How to clean??
My dryer lint screen is not removable☹️ How to clean??
I wish i would have taken a before picture. Thank you for this, never thought about it before.
I’m all for cleaning your dryer screen if needed, but I believe the water did not go through the screen initial due to surface tension. I don’t remember the science about this next part. When you put the Dawn on the screen, the soap reduces the surface tension allowing the water to go through the screen.