The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that dryers were accountable for 15,000 fires alone. This fire happens because of the lint and debris buildup in the dryer vents. If it is longer than the usual when drying your clothes or if it has not been done in a while, then it may be time to clean your dryer vent.
Depending on where your dryer is and how much duct work you have will determine just what equipment you need. If your dryer vent is less than five feet to the outside, a shop vacuum and a household lint brush will be all you need. If you have dryer duct work that is larger than five feet or maybe runs inside a wall, you will need to buy a dryer vent brush along with a handle. These brushes are specially built to go through dryer duct work and are flexible enough to move around bends. You may also want to shop electrical fish tape. This is what the electricians use to run wire inside of walls.
You must disconnect the dryer from the wall outlet. Then pull the dryer away from the wall so that you can easily work behind it. Take off the accordion-like duct work from the dryer by using a screwdriver. After it is removed, you must run a lint brush through the dryer vent opening on the dryer.
Also your dryer has a lint trap either in the door or inserted through the top. You must take it off and clean the lint trap. You must run lint brush in the opening as well to eliminate lint that has made its way past the lint trap.
Dryer Duct Work
If you have duct work that runs a few feet in a wall, you will need to make use of a particular dryer vent brush. With the duct work discharged from the dryer, you must make sure that the other end is detached from the exhaust vent. From the exhaust vent side, you must inset the electrical fish tape and feed it through the duct work until it comes through the other side. Then link the fish tape to the end of the dryer vent brush and gently pull it back through the duct work.
With duct work that is only a couple of feet long and fully reachable, you can cut off it from the exhaust vent and clean it with a common lint brush.
The dryer vent that connects to the outside will need to be cleaned too. With the duct detached, you must rub a lint brush through the vent opening through the wall. After you have performed this, go outside and discharge the pushed out lint away from the outside vent.
Once you have completed all the cleaning, you must reattach the work to the dryer exhaust vent in the wall. Then, reconnect the duct work back onto the dryer itself. Push the dryer back into place and plug it back in.