If you have a tumble dryer, you probably know that it has a filter. Sometimes it’s called a lint filter, other times a fluff filter. Either way, it’s there to catch the fibres that come off your clothes when they’re tumbling around.

Like any filter, the one in your tumble dryer needs cleaning to stop it getting clogged up. Let’s dive into the steps of how to clean a tumble dryer filter.

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Why it’s important to clean your tumble dryer filter

There are three main reasons to clean your tumble dryer filter.

Firstly, it helps your clothes dry faster. When the filter’s free of fluff, the air can circulate in the dryer better. This allows for the shortest possible drying time.

Second, it will help extend the life of your dryer. A clogged filter makes the appliance work harder, which can damage it over time. Keeping the filter clean could help you avoid a surprise tumble dryer repair.

Lastly, a clean filter will help keep your energy bills down. That’s because of the shorter drying times when the filter isn’t blocked up.

On top of these reasons, there’s also a safety aspect to keeping the filter clean. This is because blocked filters can lead to a fire in the dryer’s heating element. These accidents don't happen often, but still it’s best to be on the safe side.

Removing and cleaning the filter

You should clean the filter inside the dryer’s door after every cycle. Luckily, it only takes a minute to do.

Most tumble dryers have a similar layout, but it’s always worth checking the manual for yours.

Before you start, turn the appliance off. If you’ve just used the dryer, give it time to cool down.

1. Locate the tumble dryer filter

Most tumble dryers have a primary filter inside the door. This is the one you should clean after every cycle. It might be found:

  • At the bottom front rim of the drum
  • Slotted into the inner face of the door

Heat pump and condenser dryers usually have a second filter as well. Look for this filter in the bottom corner of the dryer on the outside, under the door. These lower filters may only need to be cleaned once a month or so. Take a look at your dryer’s manual to be sure.

2. Remove the filter

Open the door, and you should be able to lift the filter up easily.

If not, it could be that a stray item from your clothes has snagged on the filter. Take your time to find out what’s wrong, and don’t try to force it.

3. Clean and vacuum the filter

Most of the time you can clean the filter with just your hand. For anything that doesn’t come off that way, you can use a vacuum cleaner.

Some people also find it easier to run the filter under a tap. Turn the filter so the linty side is on the bottom, and let the water flow through it from the top.

4. Replace the filter

If you washed the filter earlier, you’ll need to let it dry before putting it back in. Otherwise it could damage the dryer when you next use it.

On most dryers, you can only put the filter in one way. If you try putting it in the wrong way, it won’t fit properly. This may also block the door from closing.

How to maintain your tumble dryer

Cleaning the lint filter might be the most important task to keep your tumble dryer working. Still, here are a few other tips to follow if you want a happy tumble dryer.

  • Only fill the drum to about two-thirds. Heavier loads risk overworking the motor, which will shorten its lifespan.
  • Don’t tumble dry anything with oil residue on it, including essential oils. They can catch fire.
  • Try to have your tumble dryer in a warm room. This will cut its energy use and help prolong its lifespan.

Want to avoid the hassle of repairs? You might consider getting tumble dryer protection.

About the author

Josh Allen

Josh is a copywriter at Domestic & General who works across our digital journeys and beyond. Starting out in journalism and travel writing 10 years ago, he's since turned his hand to technology and insurance. Josh is also a published short story writer with a novel in the works, and he's known to twang a tune on the guitar and banjo.

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