Taking care of your dryer requires more than just removing the lint after every load. To extend the life of this important appliance and ensure your bedding, towels, and clothing stay clean, you’ll need to disinfect it properly with the right supplies and technique.
By following the steps provided, you’ll end up with a dryer that not only looks brand new, but also prevents the possibility of cross-contamination if dirty items have been put on low heat or air-only cycles.
Prepping to Sanitize Your Dryer
Before you start scrubbing, it helps to take a close look at the inside of your dryer to get an idea of how thoroughly you need to clean it. Then, check to see if you have the necessary materials and tools to do the dirty work.
Inspect Your Dryer
Now is the time to get a good look at the inside of your dryer. Inspect it from top to bottom, looking for major scuffs or stains from ink or fabric bleeding. These spots may require more heavy-duty scrubbing to remove completely.
5 Steps to Sanitize Your Dryer
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Your dryer has a crucial job in your home. It gives you fluffy socks and towels and keeps your clothes wrinkle-free. But disinfecting it on a regular basis will help ensure it stays clean and free of debris and buildup throughout each year.
Unplug the Dryer
For the sake of safety, unplug your dryer before you begin cleaning it. This way, you won’t be caught off guard if it starts midway through sanitizing.
Vacuum the Inside
Using a machine with a brush attachment, vacuum the inside of the dryer to remove any dirt, debris, or lint. This is also a good time to vacuum the lint from the dryer screen. Make sure the dryer is completely free of dirt and debris since it’s harder to remove once you add the cleaning solution.
Mix Cleaning Solution
Pour about a 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and a gallon of cool water into a clean, empty bucket. In a separate bucket, mix a few squirts of liquid dish soap and a gallon of cool water together.
Sanitize the Inside
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Once you’ve mixed the solutions, it’s time to disinfect the dryer. If you’re sensitive to the smell of strong chemicals, it may help to put on a mask to prevent inhalation of the bleach and dish soap.
After you put on your rubber gloves, take a clean rag and soak it in the bleach solution.
Wring the rag out, then wipe down the inside of the dryer, paying special attention to any stains or scuff marks.
Next, take another clean rag and soak it in the liquid dish soap solution.
Wring it out, then wipe down the inside of the dryer to remove the bleach.
Wipe Down With Water and Plug Dryer Back In
Soak a clean rag in a bucket of water and wipe down the inside of the dryer to remove the soap solution. When you’re satisfied with the end result, leave the dryer door open and let it air out. Plug the dryer back in so it’s ready for the next load of laundry.
DIY Dryer Sanitizing vs. Hiring a Pro
Even though this is a quick DIY, it may be worth hiring a professional house cleaner near you to sanitize and disinfect your dryer. Calling in an expert can be especially helpful if you’ve just purchased or inherited a used dryer and want to make sure it’s properly cleaned before you use it for the first time.
Professional cleaners may also be able to tell you if you need your vents cleaned. Dryer vent cleaning costs between $100 to $170, depending on where you live.
How often should you sanitize your dryer?
Depending on how much you use it, your dryer should be disinfected about every six to 12 months, especially if you see frequent buildup of lint or evidence of stains from fabric bleeding or ink.
Other signs you should sanitize your dryer more often are overheating, improper drying, excessive humidity, or if you notice a strange odor when it’s running.
You can also wipe down the lint screen with dish soap every few months to keep it extra clean. A basic wipedown of the drum every few months and a deep clean of the exhaust vent once a year are beneficial, too.
What items should you avoid putting in your dryer?
Any clothing or materials with oil, gas, or grease are considered highly flammable and should not be placed in your dryer. Instead, try to air dry them after washing. Other items to avoid include beach attire, since sand can get into every nook and cranny of the dryer, as well as into future loads of laundry.