How a Household Clothes Dryer Lint Can Become a Fire Trap

There are tens of thousands of reported house fires each year as a direct result of a clothes dryer. For most, the fire damage restoration process can reverse the problem. Such fires typically account for millions of dollars in property damage, though. Despite the dangers of your household clothes dryer — specifically the lint trap — this hazard can be avoided through regular cleaning and maintenance. You should be removing the lint trap and cleaning it after each use.

Preventing Fire Damage Through Cleaning

If you want to prevent fire damage caused by a clothes dryer, start with the lint trap. The trap is often located on the top of the dryer — a small filter-like piece of equipment that slides into a trap in the machine. You simply pull out the trap and remove the built-up lint that has accumulated during the most recent drying session. You can just toss the lint in the trash.

Then, there’s the dryer vents. At least once per year, unplug your dryer from its power source and examine the space where the exhaust vent meets the dryer. It’s usually a hose or a pipe held in place with a single clip or steel clamp. You can loosen the clamp using pliers or a screwdriver.

Once the pipe is removed, reach into the dryer opening and use a vent brush to clean up as much of the accumulated lint as you can. You could also use a damp cloth to wipe away excess lint near the connector.

Reduce Fire Hazards from Your Dryer

As we said, it is entirely possible to reduce or outright prevent fire damage from your clothes dryer through regular cleaning and maintenance. Of course, installation matters, too. For a household clothes dryer, the system should not vent directly inside your home or into the attic. The exhaust from the system and the risk of built-up lint can produce humid air that, alongside posing a fire hazard, may lead to mold or mildew.

Furthermore, as we said, you should be cleaning out the lint trap after each use. A lot of homeowners forget about this step during the washing and drying process. They assume that the lint trap can hold multiple loads worth of lint at once. That’s typically not the case, though. A clothes dryer lint trap is actually relatively small. It’s designed for one load at a time. Thankfully, the manufacturer made cleanup a relative breeze.

Dryer Safety Tips

  • Clothing soiled with volatile chemicals, like gasoline, should not be dried in the dryer.
  • Do not leave the dryer running when you’re not home.
  • Do not store chemicals or flammable objects, like rags, near the dryer.

In the event of fire damage caused by a clothes dryer lint trap, call Restoration 1 of Greater Minneapolis. You can reach us at 612-268-1961. We’ll send a technician straight away to assess the damage and start the restoration process.

About The Author

David Tynes is the general manager of Restoration of Greater Minneapolis. David has years of experience in home and commercial restoration, and he is certified as a restoration professional by the IICRC.