How to clean a dryer

Person removing lint trap in a dryer.
(Image credit: Getty)

Dryers make daily life a million times easier, ensuring your clean clothes are left warm and dry within a flash - but have you ever stopped to think about how to clean a dryer itself? 

When it comes to the best washer dryer combos and the best dryers, it's easy to assume that they're self-cleaning to a degree, but it's important to maintain cleaning appliances properly so that they can continue to work efficiently. The ease of tossing your towels into the dryer and having them come out fluffy and dry 30 minutes later is nothing to be scoffed at, so if you don't want to live without this everyday luxury, then it's time to learn how to clean your dryer. 

Finding time to clean a dryer feels like another frustrating task that is hard to cram in, but the good news is these are simple steps that you can incorporate into your weekly routine. From learning how to clean a lint dryer trap to focusing on the drum itself, we've enlisted the experts to tell you exactly how to clean a dryer properly so that it lasts for years to come.

How to clean a dryer

Cleaning a dryer inevitably isn't on the top of your list of chores. Running a household efficiently is a tricky game, and although it seems counteractive to add another task to your routine, learning how to clean a dryer will actually make your life simpler in the long run. 

We spoke to cleaning expert Mira Yordanova, who emphasized the importance of keeping your dryer clean. "Not only will it keep your clothes emerging dry and fluffy," she says, "but it will also reduce the risk of buildup in the vent, which is a potential fire hazard." 

There is more to cleaning a dryer than just removing excess lint from the trap, but with Mira's expertise, we've put together some easy-to-follow steps to cleaning a dryer thoroughly.

Start with cleaning the lint trap

Cleaning the lint trap on a dryer is one of the fastest ways you can keep it in good running order. If you're finding that your clothes aren't drying as quickly as they usually would, a full lint tray is probably the root of the issue. It only takes a matter of seconds and means that your clothes will dry faster, and your machine is less likely to pose a fire risk. 

1. Wait for it to cool

Before you begin cleaning any part of your machine, make sure it’s fully cooled down from its last cycle. It's a good idea to check the lint tray before you start your drying cycle, as this means the machine will be cool, and you won't waste your time with an inefficient run. 

2. Find the filter

"The filter will usually be located at the front of the dryer inside the door rim. Take it out, and after removing any large pieces of lint, wipe around it with a used fabric softener to catch any remaining grime", says Mira. 

Focus on cleaning the drum

Sometimes, dirt can build up within the drum as well as in the lint trap. Cleaning Expert Mira says, "If your machine isn’t smelling as fresh as it should, a simple solution of bleach and water can be enough to prevent any lingering odors from permeating your freshly laundered items. But for a more intense clean, white vinegar is fantastic at neutralizing odor and killing bacteria."

Using cupboard essentials is the best option for cleaning a dryer drum. Not only are they less harsh than store-bought chemicals, but they're also much more affordable and versatile to use throughout your home. Mira recommends the following steps to clean a dryer drum effectively.

1. Mix the solution

Into one gallon/4.5l of water, add 250ml of household bleach. Dip an old, clean cloth into the solution and wring out any excess liquid.

2.  Wipe the drum

Using a cloth that has been dipped into the solution, swipe over the inside of the drum and the door before leaving this open to allow it to dry.

3. Clean with detail 

A toothbrush is excellent for cleaning any hard-to-reach areas, such as the rubber door seal.

4. Pay attention to stains

If there are any stubborn stains or buildup inside the drum from forgotten pocket contents, rubbing them with warm olive oil before scraping them off can work wonders.

5. Rinse with water     

Once dry, wipe the drum and door with water, leaving it to dry again.

6. Run a new cycle  

On old towels or sheets, use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar to dampen them. Place these inside the dryer and run on a standard cycle.

7. Double check it's free from chemicals

Ensuring the inside of your machine is free from bleach is essential before using the dryer again.

Holly Cockburn
Former Features Editor

Holly is the former Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focused on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from