If you have a tumble dryer that you use regularly, maybe weekly, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been faced with the task of cleaning it at least once.
If you’ve never done it before, it can seem fairly daunting. Which parts need cleaned? How do you get into the inner workings that need cleaned?
Cleaning a condenser tumble dryer, or any kind of dryer, is something that needs to be done fairly regularly to keep the dryer working effectively. Without cleaning, the dryer can draw more power to compensate for inefficiency, costing you more in energy bills. The dryer can also start to become worse at actually drying your clothes, leaving them still damp after a normal cycle.
In this guide we’ll look at why tumble dryers in general need to be cleaned regularly, how to clean your condenser tumble dryer and finally how to maintain it to keep the dryer in good condition.
Why Clean your Tumble Dryer?
So a tumble dryer, like any appliance really, should be cleaned regularly to keep it in good working order.
Cleaning all the parts of the dryer can keep it free of clogs and dirt.
This is pretty important to the working of the dryer, as clogs can really hamper its ability to dry your clothes.
Not only will it make the dryer worse at drying your clothes, the clogs can stop it working efficiently.
This means that it will try to use more heat to dry your clothes than it normally would. The result of this is an increase in the energy it uses to do this, which ends up costing you more money in energy bills.
Another very good reason to clean your dryer is health.
If you think about it, if you leave something wet unattended, there’s really only one thing that happens. Mould!
If left to get out of control, this can become a really serious problem. The inside of the drum can get mould growing in it, which can make your clothes smell pretty bad (see my piece on the same issue with washing machines).
As well as just being unpleasant, this can cause potential health issues, like damp on the walls, such as asthma and other respiratory issues.
The dryer can need extra cleaning if you find yourself cleaning lots of children’s clothes or if you have pets as their hair can get everywhere, clogging the dryer quicker.
So now we know why your dryer needs to be cleaned, let’s see how to do it properly!
How to Clean Your Dryer
The general steps for cleaning your dryer will be applicable to most models of dryer available, but there will be specifics which differ depending on the type of dryer you have.
The first thing to do though is disconnect it from the mains before doing anything else!
It is also important to wait until the dryer has cooled down if it has just been used.
Cleaning the exterior of the dryer will be pretty much the same as any other surface, just pick your favourite surface spray and a cloth and wipe it down.
Next will be cleaning the lint filter. This should be the same on any dryer.
The lint filter is usually located inside the rim of the doorway or behind a panel at the front of the dryer.
You can use a brush to scrape off as much of the lint as you can from the screen and then wipe clean with a cloth.
The drum of the dryer will be the next place to clean. This is very similar to cleaning the drum of a washing machine.
You can use a mixture of bleach and warm water to wipe down the inside. This is great if you’re finding that the drum has a nasty smell, indicating the presence of mould.
To get rid of any lingering smells, you can also wipe down the inside with some diluted white vinegar. Of course you’ll want to rinse it with a lot of water afterwards to get rid of the vinegar smell.
Now here is where it will be different for which dryer you have.
These dryers will sometimes need their evaporators and filters cleaned. Usually the dryer will let you know if this needs to be done.
The evaporator filter will be behind a panel at the bottom of the dryer and can be removed per the instructions (either gently twisting or unclipping from the housing).
The evaporator itself will be visible now. Using a soft-bristled brush, gently clean the fins of the evaporator.
These fins can be very sharp, so if you do decide to clean them by hand, wear some protective gloves.
The evaporator filter itself can be removed from its drawer now and cleaned with a damp cloth and running under cold water if needed.
Before replacing it in the machine, make sure it is fully dry!
These dryers have a condenser (you guessed it), which will need to be cleaned.
These are again located at the bottom of the dryer behind a panel.
There will be two locks behind the panel that you can unlock by following the instructions to your machine.
You can be a bit more forceful with the condenser to clean it. The best way is to use some slightly pressurised water to blast it. A shower head is perfect for this.
Once the water coming off it is running clear you’ll know you’ve done enough and you can replace the condenser.
Following these steps will ensure your dryer comes out sparkling.
How to Maintain Your Tumble Dryer Effectively
There are a few things you can do regularly (more regularly than a full clean) to keep your dryer in good condition.
The lint filter should be cleaned at least weekly as this is the first part that is easy to get clogged.
This is particularly important if you have pets, as the hair from the clothes can clog it quickly.
A clogged lint filter can actually become a fire hazard if left too long so it’s good to keep on top of this.
The other thing to remember to do frequently is emptying the tumble dryer water tank.
Condenser dryers have a tank at the bottom where they collect the water collected from your clothes.
Once full, the dryer actually will not operate at all. Keeping this empty regularly will improve the performance of your dryer.
If you do these things either before or after each drying then your dryer will last a lot longer!
And there we go. Cleaning your dryer doesn’t have to take a long time and the more you do it, the less time it will take each time.
Keeping on top of the regular maintenance improves the efficiency and lifespan of your dryer as well.