The part of your dryer you're forgetting to clean – but really should

Is your tumble dryer not performing as it should? You need this dryer cleaning hack to get it working like new

A tumble dryer in good working order
(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, your dryer seems clean, you're religiously cleaning the lint trap, but something is still not right. Maybe you're noticing an unpleasant, musty smell coming off your clothes once they've finished drying, or perhaps your dryer feels weirdly hot to the touch. Or your clothes just aren't drying properly, even on an extra long cycle.

Don't worry, though. None of these things necessarily mean that you tumble dryer is broken and needs replacing – although if you do want a new one, our guide to the best tumble dryers will be helpful. What's mostly likely happening is that you've neglected a very specific part of your tumble dryer that needs regular cleaning, and that may need replacing. 

The part in question is the air vent of your dryer. That is the shiny tube that connects your dryer to the air vent outside your house. You can learn the basics of how to clean a dryer vent in our guide, but home maintenance expert Lou Manfredini from Ace Hardware gives one very important tip on cleaning dryer vents correctly: you need to go in from both sides – inside and outside. So, disconnect the dryer, unscrew the vent from the back, clean out any link that has collected on that side, then go outside and also clean anything that may have collected on the other end.

Sometimes dryer vents get bent out of shape or damaged, which allows extra lint to collect in the bent bit, in which case it's best to get a new one or even install a non-bendy stainless steel vent (they're more durable anyway). 'If your dryer has lots of twists and turn or longer runs, you may want to call in a pro', Lou explains. He also warns that dryer vents that aren't cleaned or replaced when damaged can cause a fire – so you really shouldn't neglect yours.

What should I use to clean my dryer vent? 

a dryer vent

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's a special dryer vent cleaning brush you can buy – it will have a long, flexible handle and a brush on the end, which will allow you to really get in there to clean. Your vacuum cleaner will also come in handy here – Lou's tea, use it for any lint that may have got stuck on and is difficult to dislodge. 

Finally, consider using a vent cover for the outside to help prevent. insects and dust getting into the vent. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a special interest in city life, decorating small spaces, and urban gardening.