Wash Your Dryer Lint Screens

I received this e-mail from a friend and felt I should share it:

"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 us 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 every day!"

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 what 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!

By Becki in Indiana

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By Paula W (Guest Post)
March 8, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Becki, I also received the same email, and looked it up on snopes.com.----found out it is true!

so.... I washed my lint filter with detergent and warm water, and was amazed to find little black gummy things stuck to the screen. Water does go through better now, but can't really tell that the dryer is working more efficiently...still I'm sure every little bit helps.

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December 13, 20050 found this helpful

Fabric softener sheets clog up your lint catcher and makes your dryer work harder, costing more to operate. To make your dryer more efficient and cut on energy cost the lint catcher should be cleaned every three months if you use fabric softener sheets.


To do this, remove lint catcher and gently wash with liquid detergent, rinse well and allow to dry. You will know it is clean if you run water over it and it runs right through. If water beads or clings it still contains residue from the fabric sheets--rewash.

By Vicky from Louisiana

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By hvnlyhills (Guest Post)
December 16, 20050 found this helpful

Wow! Thanks for posting this info. I am washing my dryer filter immediately! I had no idea this happened.

Thanks again for sharing !

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By Cadensnana (Guest Post)
December 17, 20050 found this helpful

I also washed my lint screen and it seems to work better. Another dryer tip I'd like to pass on is that I keep a large clean dry beach towel in my laundry area and put it in with a load of clothes to dry.


It makes the load dry a lot quicker...saving money and dryer time for your clothes, towels or sheets. I can't take credit for the idea...which probably came from a creative person from this site!!

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By Marfette (Guest Post)
December 19, 20050 found this helpful

I don't use dryer sheets for this reason. I use liquid fabric softener when I use fabric softener at all. I was told that the sheets also gum up the part of the dryer that senses when things are dry. I never use softener on towels or washcloths because it cuts down on their absorbance.

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By Dale (Guest Post)
March 9, 20060 found this helpful

I don't understand how a dryer sheet can shorten the life of the heating element if, as in all dryers, the heating element is pre lint screen and pre tumbler. I don't doubt that the chemicals from a dryer sheet can coat sensors and screens, but blaming it on heating element failure doesn't sound logical.


Typically heating elements fail from using the High setting all the time or using the dryer more often . . .much like a light bulb, the higher the wattage equals greater heat equals shorter element life. If you compare a heating element to a light bulb . . . A 7 watt bulb lasts for thousands of hours longer than a 100 watt bulb.
I would suggest using the heat level settings to match what you're drying. Most loads can dry on the medium heat setting in 30-40 minutes. (less time with newer appliances)
If you are having problems with long dry times, check your dryer ducts and termination vent to make sure they are not clogged with lint or restricted with excessive use of elbows, flex pipe, or length of duct run. Consult your dryer manufacturers installation manual.

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March 9, 20060 found this helpful

So now what do I do with the big box of dryer sheets? lol Our problem is our ventilation system is poor (we have some flap contraption and the exhaust goes through half the house) but that is great to know!

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August 13, 20060 found this helpful

I was so glad to learn this and have told all of my friends and family. My mother in laws' was scary when I cleaned hers.

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October 15, 20150 found this helpful

I use dryer sheets very infrequently; I use dryer balls. However, because everyone said this could be a problem, I dutifully went down and checked mine out. The water went right through, but I washed it anyway, and there was no difference.


I wonder if some brands are worse than others for coating the screen. I did in the past use dryer sheets for nearly every load, but usually used only 1/2 a sheet at a time, and never on high. I wonder if that would make a difference.

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