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Controlling Dryer Lint in Your Laundry Part 1

By: TRistaino, 10/23/12

If you manage any type of laundry lint is an everyday fact of life. Washers create lint. Dryers create lint. Most washer lint is discharged during the rinse cycles. If a lint interceptor has been installed in your laundry most lint washer lint will collect there. The lint interceptor will require periodic cleaning. Some washer lint will be redeposited on the items washed. Most of this lint will be discharged during the drying operation. However, a lot of lint is developed in the dryer as well. Unlike the washer lint which is wet and accumulates mainly in one location, dryer lint is collected in variety of places. It is dry and creates a number of problems. In part 1 of our discussion let’s look at lint in the dryer itself.

Lint is created by degradation over time of the item being laundered. Chemicals in the wash liquor and the  mechanical action of washers and dryers gradually destroy fabrics. These small pieces of fabric when dry escape to many places in your laundry. A lot of lint is trapped in the dryer itself by the lint screen. All dryers have lint screens and they are effective in collecting quite a bit of lint. However, in order for the goods to dry properly moisture laden air must flow through the lint screen and out the exhaust duct. If the mesh on the screen is wide enough to let air through guess what else is getting through. If you said, “Lint”, you are correct. So now lint is in your exhaust duct or has left the building. Problems abound!!! If lint is in the duct , an air flow restriction develops and dryer performance is compromised. If is escapes, your neighbors get upset. What’s the solution?

For the purposes of Part 1 lets focus on lint in the dryer. First, make sure you have the correct lint screen. All dryer manufacturers design a lint screen for their dryer. Inexpensive knock off screens are also widely available. These alternatives may have a wider or a narrower mesh for the airflow going through them. Then either too much lint is escaping or not enough air is moving through the dryer. Either result is not desirable. Second, clean your screen regularly. Over time if left to accumulate on the screen lint will restrict air flow. This condition can cause the dryer to overheat raising the risk of fire or dramatically increasing dry time since the moisture laden air is trapped in the dryer. Third, make sure your dryer has adequate make up air. Make up air provides oxygen ( fuel ) for the dryer to heat. Also it provides ventilation to move air and lint through the dryer and out the exhaust. Without enough make up air the lint will tend to deposit itself on various dryer components like valve, motors, coils causing premature failure. Finally, inpsect and clean your dyer at least annually. Take off the front panel and vacuum any accumulated lint. Clean burner tubes, motors, belts and other components of visible lint. Less lint  in and around your dyer means better performance and less ambient lint in the laundry.

Next: Dryer lint outside the dryer