Giving your tumble dryer a deep clean might not be at the top of your list. But to ensure that your dryer works properly every time you switch it on, it’s important to look after it. When you can’t rely on the weather to dry your laundry, the tumble dryer is your best friend. If your clothes are coming out damp or if there is a musty smell, it is a good idea to give your dryer a little attention.

It goes without saying that the lint filter should be emptied after every cycle. And if you do it daily, you should only have to deep clean your dryer every couple of months. 

We have put together a guide on how to clean your tumble dryer and some handy tips to make sure your appliance is doing the best job it can.

Table of Contents:

Cleaning supplies and tools that you will need

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a penny on cleaning your dryer. You will probably already have everything you need at home.

  • Vacuum cleaner;
  • Small brush;
  • Cloth;
  • Bleach;
  • All-purpose cleaner;
  • Water;
  • White Vinegar poured into a spray bottle;
  • Old towels.

How to clean the lint filter

Now that you have all the cleaning supplies and tools at hand, you’re good to go. Your first port of call is to clean out the lint filter. It is quick, easy, and something you can fit into your day-to-day general chores. The lint filter collects excess fluff from your clothes and if you’re drying loads of hairy pet items or gritty play clothes, it can easily become clogged with fabric and dust. This is a really important step to keep your tumble dryer working as efficiently as possible, helping to keep your energy bills down, and to meet fire and safety standards.

  • Make sure your dryer has completely cooled down.
  • Remove the tumble dryer filter. This is usually located just inside the rim of the door or at the front of the dryer behind a removable panel.
  • Gently remove the dust and lint with a small brush. You can use a cloth or a used fabric softener sheet to wipe any lint that is still in there.
  • Use a narrow vacuum nozzle to get rid of any remaining dust and lint from the dryer filter and the lint trap.

How to clean a smelly tumble dryer

One common problem many of us have is that our tumble dryers can become a little smelly. We are all guilty of occasionally leaving wet clothes in the dryer too long or not emptying the lint filter as often as we should. The result? An unpleasant, mouldy, smelling drum. And you don’t want to ruin a nice, fresh, clean load of laundry. Here’s how you can get rid of the smell before your clothes begin to soak it up.

  1. Mix 1 cup of bleach in a gallon of warm water.

    Use a cloth to soak up the mixture and squeeze it dry.

  2. Wipe all around the inside of the drum and door.

    After you have given it a good clean, leave the door open to help the tumble dryer dry more quickly.

  3. Leave to dry.

    When it’s dried, grab a wet cloth and wipe down the walls of the drum.

  4. Here comes the vinegar.

    To completely make sure you have banished any musty smells, splash some white vinegar onto a couple of old towels and put them into the dryer on a quick cycle.

  5. Check for remaining bleach.

    Check that there isn’t any bleach remaining on the walls of the dryer before putting in a load, so that it doesn’t cause discolouration of clothes.

How to remove sticky messes from a tumble dryer

  • You can easily remove sticky messes by applying a few drops of warm olive oil and then carefully scrape them off.
  • A Magic Eraser works wonders on scuffs inside the drum – just rub. You can also try to remove them with a paste made from baking soda and water.
  • Always wipe the drum down with an all-purpose cleaner and a damp cloth before using the dryer.

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How to clean the exterior of your tumble dryer

It’s also a good idea to give the exterior of your dryer a clean. The back and sides are prone to collecting dirt, dust and grime. This part is simple and will only take you a few minutes.

  • Make sure the dryer has completely cooled and turned off.
  • Unplug it and pull it out from the wall.
  • This is the perfect time to give the area where the dryer stands a quick vacuum to remove any lint or dust which has built up around and under it.
  • Take off the back panel, and use the hose on your vacuum cleaner to clean inside.
  • Reinstall the back panel and push the machine into place.
  • Dip a clean, damp cloth in a little washing liquid and wipe down the outside of the dryer.
  • Don’t forget to pay attention to knobs and buttons, too, as they both collect grime.
Related: How to Clean a Dishwasher

How to keep your laundry fresh and fluffy

The humble tumble dryer chugs away daily in many households. It is expensive to replace and so making sure it is well-cared for and maintained regularly will pay dividends. Keeping your dryer clean inside and out will keep it in tip-top working order, helping to reduce your bills and also prevent the appliance from breaking down.

  • Always make sure that the clothes are clean and pockets are empty before putting inside the tumble dryer.
  • It can be tempting to stuff 2 or more loads of wet laundry into the drum. But if you do that the clothes will not have enough room to move around and dry properly. And the result will be damp clothes which have a nasty mould smell. Lighter loads dry more efficiently, less expensively, more quickly, with less wear and tear on your machine. To save time, money and energy, don’t overload your dryer.
  • As well as removing the lint from the filter after every use, it’s wise to empty the water tank (if your dryer isn’t plumbed in) at the same time. Your dryer will have a warning light to tell you when the tank is getting full.
  • Every now and then pull out your appliance to give the plug socket a once-over. Dust can build-up around it, so a quick clean with a cloth should keep it in good shape.
  • Once a week use a disinfecting wipe or a cloth with disinfectant spray to clean the inside of the dryer drum. Take a look inside and remove any strands of hair or thread which have been caught. Wipe over the exterior of the dryer with a microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner.
  • Once a month remove the lint filter and wash it with warm, soapy water and leave it to air-dry.
  • Once a year carry out the deep-clean we described above, so your dryer remains efficient and safe.

Takeaways:

  • If your clothes are coming out damp or if there is a musty smell, it is a good idea to give your dryer a little attention.
  • The lint filter collects excess fluff from your clothes and if you’re drying loads of hairy pet items or gritty play clothes, it can easily become clogged with fabric and dust.
  • Keeping your dryer clean inside and out will keep it in tip-top working order, helping to reduce your bills and also prevent the appliance from breaking down.

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Image Source: Shutterstock / Sasenki

Posted in Cleaning Guides

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