How to Keep Pests From Entering Your Dryer Vent

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated July 22, 2021
Woman putting clothes in the dryer
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Rodents, birds, and insects can enter your home through a broken or missing dryer vent cover, so it's important to take immediate action to pest-proof your dryer vents

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Dryer vents don't seem like obvious entrances to your home. These openings are typically only a few inches wide and located at the back of your dryer in order to get rid of the moisture drawn from your clothes. But because the vent is connected to the outside, this makes it a potential entry point for certain critters.

This guide will describe the different pests that can enter your vent and what steps you can take to pest-proof your dryer vents.

What Types of Pests Enter Dryer Vents?

Anything that is small enough to get into the dryer vent opening is a potential invader, but generally, you’ll see three main types of pests.

Insects

Insect pests like bees and wasps can get in and may even build a nest in the vent. Depending on the type, insects can spread disease, sting, and bite, so you don’t want to let an infestation like this go unchecked.

Rodents

Mice commonly make their way into dryer vents given the opportunity, and rats and squirrels will, too, if the opening is large enough. They may even chew through the vent cover, so look for tooth marks.

Birds

Birds aren't as common, but they do sometimes end up in your dryer vents. You'll probably hear the chirping if they're the culprit.

Why Should I Deal With the Pests Immediately?

Professional detaching dryer exhaust vent
Benjamin Clapp - stock.adobe.com

Besides being a startling sight, there are good reasons why you should take action immediately if you see signs of pests entering your dryer vents.

Smell

If you let a pest presence go unchecked in your dryer vents, they are bound to leave feces or other debris that is sure to stink up your home. They may even find their way into the dryer, leaving you with an unwelcome surprise the next time you do laundry.

Health Hazards

Pests often bring diseases from the outside world into your home. A single mouse could make your whole family sick by spreading diseases through your clothes or even getting into your house and leaving germs everywhere, so you should take care of the problem quickly.

Blockages and Fire Hazards

Dryers need their vents to safely circulate hot air. If pests leave flammable debris in your vents, this could end up in your dryer, which could lead to a fire in your dryer.

How to Pest-Proof Your Dryer Vents

First, inspect your dryer duct to ensure the pests are really entering from there and not some other hole or crack in your home.

If you see signs that pests are in your vents and are even leaving debris, consider the cost of hiring a professional to clean your dryer vents. Or, you can also try cleaning the dryer vents yourself.

Now, you can think about prevention. If pests are getting in your vents, that typically is a sign that the vent cover is damaged or missing. A functioning vent cover should release air without providing an opening for critters to enter. So if pests are getting in, check your vent cover first, which is located on the outside of the house on the other side of where your dryer is situated. If there’s a hole and you see chew marks, that’s a sign they’ve gained entry.

If everything looks okay, but pests are somehow still getting in, you may need to take extra measures to pest-proof your vents. You can find pest guards at home improvement stores, although you may need to hire a professional to install them.

How to Tackle an Active Pest Problem

If it’s too late and you see signs of multiple critters with feces and nests everywhere, it’s unwise to attempt to handle it on your own if you aren’t experienced in pest control. You may put yourself at risk of disease or a bite by using your hands to clear the area of droppings and nesting material, or you may fail to get rid of the infestation entirely and find yourself dealing with the same problem a few weeks later.

Instead, look for a pest exterminator professional near you. They can inspect your dryer vent for signs of pests and recommend a course of action.

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