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Author Topic: Dryer sheets and lint traps
snopes
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Comment: I had a wonderful morning, the heating unit went out of my dryer! Why
does everything seem to fall apart this time of year!???

The guy that fixes things went in to the dryer and pulled out the lint
filter. It was clean. We always clean the lint from the filter after
every load of clothes. He told us that he wanted to show him something.
He took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. Now, this
thing is like a mesh - I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter
looks like - WELL......the hot water just laid on top of the mesh!!! It
didn't go
through it at all!!!

He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh and that's
what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's
there. He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long
time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out

and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush)
at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at
least twice as long! How about that???!!!! Learn something new
everyday!

I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, thought I'd
share!

Note:

I went to dryer and tested my screen by running water on it. The water
collected a little but ran though the screen. I dried it off and was
ready to put it back in the dryer since the water ran through it but, I
thought was the heck it won't hurt to wash it while I had it out. Warm
soap water and a nylon brush and I had it done in 30 seconds.

I then ran the water over the screen and what a difference the water just
gushed through it with no puddling at all and this time I was running the
water at a faster rate. That repairman knew what he was talking about.

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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The ASKO Apploiance Companysays
quote:
The Can my lint filter be clogged even though it appears clean?

Yes, the chemicals from fabric softener sheets can clog the filter. To test this, drop some water on it, if it runs through, it's OK. If not, it's clogged. This can easily be washed away with soap and water and a soft brush. We don't recommend dryer sheets, but if you feel you need them, use only half a sheet and be sure to remove them after each load.

RepairClinic.com says
quote:
Do dryer softener sheets hurt the dryer?
Yes and no. Dryer softener sheets don't harm the dryer. However, their residue may cause the screen of the lint filter to become partially clogged or the electronic moisture sensor to be coated with residue. If this happens, clean the screen with a little detergent and a soft-bristle brush, wipe off the sensor with a cotton ball and a little rubbing alcohol.

Sometimes the softener sheets get stuck in the lint filter or over the vents on the inside of the dryer, so check to be sure the sheets come out of the dryer with the load of clothes.

Even Consumer Reports says
quote:
Get better performance and minimize fire hazards by cleaning the filter before every load. Occasionally remove the filter and rinse it under running water. If it holds water, clean it with a soft brush.


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Shamrock
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It also is helpful to clean out the dryer vent hose every now and then. You would be amazed at what can bypass the filter. The hose becomes coated with very fine fabic residue (think belly button lint on a larger scale [Big Grin] ) and is quite a fire hazard.

It's interesting to see a dryer vent on the side of a building shooting out flame like a blowtorch. Unfortunately, when the hose melts, it gets real exciting for the occupants!

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RoofingGuy
The First USA Noel


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One other thing is to only use duct tape to hold together the pieces of metal duct, and not use sheet metal screws, as the screws sticking into the duct can catch the lint quicker. And the ducting should be solid metal wherever possible; the flexible accordian-type ducting collects the lint very badly.

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mgbdriver
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For safety's sake, make sure your dryer vent hose is metal and not plastic!
It also isn't that hard to remove the top and back of your dryer and vacuum out all the lint that collects inside the unit (a real fire hazard in a gas dryer). Do this when you clean your vent pipe out (annually, at least).

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my blog
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RoofingGuy
The First USA Noel


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I was actually passing on recommendations on not using the metallized flexible hose, if possible. Yes, the plastic is even worse.

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I refuse to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person...

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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Roofing Guy:
You posted while I was writing my response and I was just too lazy to edit my post.

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my blog
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RoofingGuy
The First USA Noel


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No problemo [Big Grin]
I'm just in the midst of home renovations, including a new laundry room, and have read quite a bit lately on dryer venting and was passing on information. The flexible metal hose is readily available at home improvement stores, but dryer manufacturers and home improvement specialists generally recommend against its use because the lint that catches in the creases can become a fire hazard. Until I researched, I hadn't really considered that a few sheet-metal screws here and there in solid metal ducting posed a fire risk, by catching lint.

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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I guess the sheet metal screw thing is a double-edged sword because wrapping the vent with duct tape makes it extremely difficult to dismantle and clean easily.

--------------------
"Chuck E. Cheese called. They want their band back."

my blog
Help me clean my basement!

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RoofingGuy
The First USA Noel


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Not as aesthetically pleasing either, I know... just "their" recommendations.

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I refuse to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person...

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riverwoman
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I tried this with my lint filter and it was clogged - I do use drier sheets all the time, but I had never heard about this until now. I have always cleaned my lint filter after each load however.


Since I love drier sheets and the smell they give to my laundry - lol - I guess I'll just keep using them and make sure my lint filter is cleaned when needed.


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The Writergal
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Thank you so much for that information...I went directly to my dryer filter, tried the water draining test and couldn't believe my eyes...if you hadn't told us about that...I would never have guessed it.

I am new to this MB and this is my first visit.

Thanks again!

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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In case anyone is interested, I never use either fabric sheets or fabric softener. I tried this with the lint trap on my gas dryer which is so old, it's harvest gold. It looked clean and water ran right through it.

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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Sara, looks like you're our control group! [Smile]

Okay okay, I'll check my lint trap tomorrow.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I just checked mine. No problem there, it held water like a sieve. I've had the same dryer for six years, using dryer sheets the whole time, and this is the first time I've checked. It probably depends on the mesh size of the lint trap.

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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I just checked mine, it was totally clean but wouldn't let any water through! It was a little freaky, actually. Not quite as freaky, however, as the fact that an email forward was actually true!

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Brandi
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Would this be a problem in public/large-group-usage dryers too? I wonder if I should let my apartment manager know about this...
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Lunasa
Jingle Bell Hock


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Checked mine last night and water went though fine. We've had to 2 years and I don't use dryer sheets (they irritate my skin and nose) but I wonder does liquid softener have any effect? I've used that a few times. Anyone out there who uses only liquid softener want to check?

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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I use liquid softener and I clean my filter every three months. It was clogged the first time I tested it.

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my blog
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InfraPurple
The First USA Noel


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Maybe I'm just lucky....we've been using this dryer for, what, three years? Four, maybe? I dunno. Last week I ran it under the faucet, and the water ran through just fine. Most of the time with dryer sheets

But we have switched to liquid fabric softener. I much prefer that smell on my clothes than just the plain old 'clean'.

ETA: Wouldn't the rinse cycle get most of the liquid fabric softener out? I realize that there has to be enough left over to keep it soft in the dryer...but I'm also embarrased to admit I don't have any idea how dryer sheets or fabric softener works....I just add it to the laundry.

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DawnStorm
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Kathy B:

Sometimes the softener sheets get stuck in the lint filter QUOTE]

What do mean sometimes ? Try all the time! [Mad]

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I'm going to have to try this one... I use dryer sheets almost every time I use the dryer, especially in the winter. If I don't my clothes become horribly staticky and drive me nuts.

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Zorro
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I checked my own lint filter today, and sure enough, it was clogged as could be!! I attacked it with an old toothbrush and some soap and water, and water does go through it now. I'm done with my weekly laundry, though, so I'll have to wait until next week to see how well the thing works now. Now I only have to get hubby to help me attack the dryer hose and empty that bad boy.

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KeithB
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Here is some data from the CPSC in 1999:
http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/fire99.pdf

Total Unintentional Residential fires:
337,300

Caused by cooking equipment:
97,900 (29%)

Caused by Cigarettes or other tobacco products:
25,300 (7.5%)

Total Clothes dryers:
14,600 (4.3%)

Caused by Electric dryers:
11,500

Caused by Gas dryers:
3,100

I do not know why there is a discrepency between gas and electric, but it is interesting.

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James G.
Xboxing Day


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Possibly beacuse there is a higher number of electric dryers? I know I have certainly never seen a gas dryer, but my village doesn't even have gas so that may be unsurprising.

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KeithB
The Red and the Green Stamps


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In Southern California I am sure the proportions are opposite. We have very few Electric dryers.
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