How To Clean A Tumble Dryer: All Efficient Ways

Cleaning your tumble dryer is a necessary task that no one should avoid. In fact, all the home appliances need to be cleaned, like the washing machine and the fridge freezer. Since you have to clean the washing machine, a device you use to wash clothes with detergent, you can understand that you can’t get away with cleaning your tumble dryer. Keeping this device clean is the best way to keep it working efficiently and in pristine condition to help it last the longest possible.

a blonde woman smelling her fresh laundry in the tumble dryer

A tumble dryer is on the top list of the necessary home devices, especially if you live in areas where you can’t rely on good weather. You need to keep it clean, so it keeps drying your clothes during all the rainy winter days. A dirty, full of lint dryer doesn’t work correctly and is a  potential fire hazard. Thus, to maintain your machine clean and efficient, keep reading and learn how to clean a tumble dryer the right way

How to clean a tumble dryer 

To clean your tumble dryer, you need first to let the device cool down after use and then start the cleaning process. What’s more, you need to break it down into smaller sections to clean it the best way possible. You aren’t going to need any special tools and equipment. Here are all the tools and equipment you will need:

  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A cloth
  • A spray bottle filled with white vinegar
  • Some old towels 

Now, you need to clean all parts of the dryer; the filter, the dryer’s condenser or heat exchanger, the humidity sensor and of course, the drum. Let’s see below how to clean each one. 

How to clean the filters

Cleaning the filters of the machine is a very simple and not so time-consuming chore. A tumble dryer has the lint filter and the evaporator filter, which you both need to clean every after use as they’re prone to collect fluff and prevent lint build-up. It’s essential to keep filters clean off fluff to help the device work at its best.

Hopefully, there isn’t much to do, and most importantly, you don’t need any special equipment to clean it, just your vacuum cleaner

a woman cleanign lint and dirt from the tumble dryer filter

Cleaning the lint filter

The lint filter is usually inside the door rim or at the front of the device behind the panel. It’s where the fibres and lint from your garments are captured. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Let the machine cool down completely, and then remove the filter. 
  2. Get a brush or a cloth and wipe as much lint as possible. Instead, you can use your vac on the lowest setting to clean the filter and the lint trap and remove any lint build-up
  3. Once you’re done, place the filter back in place. 

Cleaning the evaporator filter

The evaporator filter, or else the filter drawer, is at the bottom of the tumble dryer. If you own a condenser dryer, you’ll find it there. 

To clean the evaporator filter, you need to:

  1. Open the cover and remove the filter. Check first the manufacturer’s manual to do it the right way. 
  2. Open the filter and clean the foam pad, which is inside the filter, and the surfaces of the filter housing. You can do it either by hand or using your vac. 
  3. In case of a very dirty foam pad, wash it under running water
  4. Let the pad dry completely, and then place it back to its housing and then back in the tumble dryer

EXTRA TIP: If you have a condenser tumble dryer, rinse the condenser every few months.

How to clean the exterior of the tumble dryer

However, apart from the drum and the fluff filter, you also need to clean the exterior of your machine, focusing on the back of the device as it collects grime and dust.

To clean the exterior parts of your machine, you need to do:

  1. Unplug first the device, unscrew the vent hose and pull it away from the wall.
  2. Next, remove the back panel and vacuum the inside areas, the blower and the vent pipe connection
  3. Then, put back in place the back panel and push it to the wall. 
  4. Finally, create soapy water using washing up liquid and warm water and soak a cloth. Using the damp cloth, wipe all the outer parts of the dryer, including the dryer door

How to clean the heat exchanger 

If you own a condenser dryer or a heat pump dryer, then you need to clean the heat exchanger too. Otherwise, it will affect the drying time and result. The heat exchanger is located under the drum, at the bottom of the dryer. Cleaning it is very easy. Just keep it under running water to wash away any dirt, lint, and hair stuck on it.

A hand setting the tumble dryer in low heat to dry cloths

How to clean the humidity sensor 

In case you own a machine with a humidity sensor (or else a heat or moisture sensor), you should keep it clean as well. This sensor can tell whether your laundry is dry or not and can stop the dryer from working automatically. A dirty humidity sensor will lead to over or under dried clothes. 

To clean the sensor, things are pretty simple. Just get a stainless steel cleaner and wipe the drum. In case you want a more eco-friendly way to clean it, you can fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the inside of the drum. Then, with a dry, clean cloth, wipe the sensor and remove dust and dirt build-up

How to maintain your tumble dryer

Just cleaning your tumble dryer isn’t enough. You need to do more to maintain it clean and in pristine condition. Thus, to make your dryer last longer and get the most out of it, you also need to do the following:

Empty all pockets

Before tossing in the dryer your laundry, be sure that you have cleaned and emptied all the pockets. 

Don’t overload it 

Don’t overload the drum with many garments, whether you own a vented condenser, compact or heat pump dryer. Too many clothes inside the drum mean that they won’t be able to move and get the most of the hot air during the cycle. As a result, instead of getting soft dry clothes, you‘ll end up with damp, smelly ones. Even if you have a device with a 10kl, avoid drying duvets or any other bulky garments. They won’t dry properly, plus you put your machine in danger. 

Check the position of the dryer 

It doesn’t matter where your dryer is. What really matters is to be in a place with good ventilation to avoid condensation caused by the machine and prevent overheating. You better place your handy device in a warm room. This way, the dryer will use less energy than those in more cold and dry areas. 

Check the plug socket

Every now and then, you should check the socket as well, as it’s an area that collects dust and dirt. Pull the machine out regularly and clean the socket.

Empty the water tank

If the appliance isn’t plumbed in, you have to empty the tank where the evaporated water is gathered during the cycle. Every time a cycle ends, remove the tank from the machine and pour the water into the sink. Afterwards, put the tank back in its place.

a woman empties the water tank of her tumble dryer

Remove odours

Every so often, clean the inside of the drum with bleach to remove any foul odours. 

  1. Mix 1 cup of bleach to 4.5l warm water and, using a cloth soaked in the mixture, wipe the drum and the door. 
  2. Leave the door open to dry, and then wipe the drum walls just with clean water and let it dry again. 
  3. Once it is completely dry, get some old towels and spray them with vinegar. Toss them inside the dryer and run a drying cycle to remove any remaining odours. 

One last thing. Be sure that there isn’t any bleach residue left on the walls. If so, clean them before loading your garments to avoid discolouration.

How often should you clean the tumble dryer

The tumble dryer needs to be cleaned to work properly and keep working for the years to come. That’s why you should include its cleaning into your schedule. The cleaning frequency depends on the frequency you are using it. However, as a general rule, most parts should be cleaned after each use. 

  • After use: Clean the lint filter, the water tank and the lint screen every time a drying cycle ends. Remove lint from the filter and the lint screen and empty the tank after use. 
  • Once a week: The inside of the dryer’s drum should be done every week. Wipe the outer parts of the dryer with a dry cloth to collect any dust and lint, and then with a damp cloth, clean up any stains. 
  • At least once a year: At least once a year and depending on the use, clean thoroughly all the dryer parts following the methods as mentioned above. If you have pets, then thorough cleaning should be scheduled more often

children in the laundry room next to the tumble dryer.
Schedule cleaning your machine regularly. Regular maintenance shouldn’t be a chore you neglect to do. It should be a habit, so it works efficiently enough. Before starting the cleaning process, read the manufacturer’s instructions to stay on the safe side and not to void your warranty.

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