Cleaning a dryer vent with a leaf blower may seem crazy, but I have done it numerous times successfully.
The idea is to use the leaf blower from the inside, and then use a dryer vent cleaning tool from the outside — so all of the lint gets pushed towards the exterior.
In this guide, I will go over…
- Removing the flex vent from the dryer
- Inserting the leaf blower
- And tips on using a dryer vent cleaning tool
Table of contents
- Tools Needed
- Step 1. Remove Screen From Exterior Hood
- Step 2. Remove Flex Vent From Wall
- Step 3. Clean The Flex Vent If Dirty
- Step 4. Check Duct Inside Dryer
- Step 5. Insert Electric Leaf Blower Into Wall Duct
- Step 6. Insert Dryer Cleaning Tool Into Exterior Hood
- Step 7. Re-install Screen
- Step 8. Reconnect Flex Vent To Wall
For the most common dryer vent cleaning tools, you will need a cordless drill (or corded drill with extension cord) which connects to the dryer vent cleaning tool.
Dryer vent cleaning tool
Professional dryer vent cleaning tools are usually air powered tools or metal cables with brush attachments. The homeowner version is made of a series of plastic rods that connect to a brush.
The leaf blower is used put a lot of air pressure on the dryer vent from the inside to the exterior.
Using the dryer vent cleaning tool from outside loosens the highly flammable lint from the sides of the dryer duct, and then the leaf blower pushes it out of the duct.
Step 1. Remove Screen From Exterior Hood
The first step of cleaning a dryer vent using a leaf blower is to remove any screen from the exterior vent hood.
The exterior dryer vent hood frequently has a screen (aka pest barricade) that helps prevent any bird nests from blocking the vent.
You want to remove this screen before you start using the leaf blower — and also make sure that your dryer vent cleaning tool is ready.
Step 2. Remove Flex Vent From Wall
The second step is to remove the flex vent from the wall. The flex vent is the short vent that goes from behind the dryer to the wall.
There may be a metal clamp and foil tape that needs to be removed which secures the flex vent to the dryer and to the wall.
Step 3. Clean The Flex Vent If Dirty
Before you start cleaning the main dryer duct which is inside the wall, you should check the flex vent to see if it is dirty. Just cleaning the flex vent (and making sure that it isn’t getting crushed behind the dryer) can make a big difference in drying capacity and air flow.
Use your dryer vent cleaning tool to clean the flex vent, the leaf blower isn’t necessary for this short flexible duct.
Read Also: Why Does My Dryer Smell Like Burning?
Step 4. Check Duct Inside Dryer
And after you clean the flex vent, you may want to take a quick look at inside the dryer itself. There is a 1-2 foot duct section that goes inside the dryer, this area can also sometimes get clogged with lint.
With the dryer off, you can take a look with a flashlight or insert the dryer vent cleaning tool.
Step 5. Insert Electric Leaf Blower Into Wall Duct
Now you can get going with the main dryer duct cleaning using a leaf blower.
Plug in the electric leaf blower, and insert the end into the duct elbow or collar that is coming out of the wall. Put the leaf blower on its highest setting.
Read Also: Why Is My Dryer Not Drying Clothes?
Step 6. Insert Dryer Cleaning Tool Into Exterior Hood
With the leaf blower putting a lot of air pressure inside the wall duct, some lint may of already been blown out.
However, most of the lint is going to be stuck along the duct wall — and even with the leaf blower — the only way to get all of the lint is to use a dryer vent cleaning tool from the outside at the same time. So the idea is that the leaf blower is pushing the lint to the exterior while you are brushing it from the outside.
These dryer vent cleaning tools use long plastic rods that have a brush attachment on the end. You will have to connect it to a cordless drill.
There are also heavy duty cables that have brush attachments (as well as air powered tools) — but these are typically used by dryer vent cleaning companies and can get expensive.
The biggest hazard in using the ‘homeowner version’ of dryer vent cleaning tools is that there is a chance of the rods disconnecting while in the dryer vent. You may want to add some duct tape to each of the joints to help prevent breakage.
Work the dryer vent cleaning tool down the dryer vent from the exterior hood, removing the lint that is stuck along the duct. The lint should be blowing out of the duct while you are cleaning it since the leaf blower is pushing it to the exterior.
If there is no air flow, then you know that the duct may be blocked with a clog or the duct may even be disconnected.
Keep working at it with the dryer vent cleaning tool until you feel a clog and it gets free. Try to get the dryer vent cleaning tool all the way back to the dryer, and there is no more lint coming out.
Read Also: Why Is There Water In My Dryer Vent Hose?
Step 7. Re-install Screen
Once you have cleaned the entire duct, and there is strong air flow — you can reinstall the screen if you removed it.
Step 8. Reconnect Flex Vent To Wall
And now you can unplug the leaf blower, remove it from the duct, and reconnect the flex vent to the wall.
When you push the dryer back towards the wall, try and take a peek behind the dryer to make sure that the dryer vent isn’t getting crushed (and restricting air flow).