How to Clean and Maintain Your Whirlpool Dryer

Homeowners often forget their Whirlpool dryer model WED4985EW, like any other appliance in their home, requires a certain amount of maintenance to keep it running efficiently and safely. Unfortunately, when a dryer is not properly cared for several of its components can begin to break down, causing the appliance to under perform or cease working altogether. Avoiding unnecessary malfunctions and ensuring your dryer isn’t a safety hazard involves a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule. If you’re not sure where to start, please keep reading to learn how to properly care for your Whirlpool dryer.

Basic Care Tips

  • Deep clean the lint screen. During a dry cycle as your clothes, towels and linens tumble in the dryer drum they shed fibers. The dryer’s lint screen is there to catch most of those fibers before they travel into the appliance’s vent tube. Clearing the lint screen after each dry cycle is a necessity and ensures air flow issues don’t arise. However, a quick removal of lint from the screen isn’t the only maintenance step you should take. A deep cleaning every three to four months should also be part of your dryer upkeep routine. Residue from dryer sheets can coat the lint screen and cause air flow problems. Removing the residue requires you to soak the screen in warm soapy water and gently scrub it with either an old toothbrush or a scrub brush. Once you’re satisfied the dryer sheet residue is no longer clogging the lint screen, use a towel to carefully pat the screen dry.
  • Make sure your dryer is balanced. If you’ve had your dryer for a while, you probably haven’t checked if it’s balanced, lately. While it may not seem like a big deal, an unbalanced dryer can actually cause components in your appliance to wear down at a faster rate. A good indication of a non-balanced dryer is excessive vibrations. Even if your appliance is not noticeably vibrating, you should still use a leveler to see whether or not you need to make adjustments to the dryer legs.
  • Clean out the lint trap. No matter how well or often you clean your dryer’s lint screen, lint particles will still find their way into the appliance’s lint trap. That’s why you should add cleaning the lint trap to your maintenance schedule. Not clearing out the trap can restrict your dryer’s air flow, meaning your clothes will take longer to dry, and you risk your dryer overheating, which creates a serious fire hazard. To clean the trap you can either purchase a dryer lint brush or you can use your vacuum cleaner and a long neck attachment.
  • Replace plastic or vinyl vent tubes. The material and length of your vent tube impacts the efficiency and safety of your clothes dryer. If you’ve never inspected your dryer’s vent, now is the time. Although plastic was once considered a safe choice for venting, it is no longer recommended. Unfortunately, lint moving through a plastic vent tube tends to get caught in its ribbed interior, which causes a restriction in air flow and leads to overheating. Instead of plastic, it is suggested you use a semi-rigid vent duct or a rigid vent duct. Semi-rigid ducts are most commonly installed when there is a direct connection between the dryer and the main duct that runs to the outside of your home. A rigid vent duct is used for concealed duct installation, meaning vent tubes that are placed inside walls or floors. According to the Whirlpool dryer care guide, the shorter the vent the better. Longer vents and improperly installed vents will decrease the efficiency of your dryer and increase the probability of your appliance catching fire.
  • Inspect the outside vent cap. Lint isn’t the only thing that restricts your dryer’s air flow. The vent cap found on the outside of your home has a tendency to get clogged with grass clippings, mud, leaves and even bird nests. Inspecting the area and cleaning it every few months will ensure the vent cap stays unobstructed.
  • Clean out the exhaust vent. Removing lint build up from your dryer’s venting tube every two years is one of the most important maintenance tips you can receive. Unfortunately, regularly cleaning the lint screen and trap doesn’t always stop lint from accumulating in the exhaust vent. If left unchecked for long periods of time, the lint in the vent tube can drastically increase drying times, and worst of all, the lint can catch fire. You can either hire a professional dryer repair technician to clean the ventilation system or you can take on the task yourself by purchasing a dryer vent cleaning kit.
  • Remove lint from inside the dryer cabinet. Lint can fall through small gaps in the dryer drum and end up in the dryer cabinet. Taking apart your dryer to clean the cabinet at least every two years is highly recommended. If you’re not comfortable with disassembling your appliance, hire a professional to clean out the cabinet for you.

Basic Laundry Tips

  • Don’t overload your dryer. Your dryer’s owner manual lists your appliance’s maximum load capacity. Disregarding the manufacturer’s recommendations and overloading your dryer, wears down the components that rotate the drum, meaning you’ll need to pay an appliance repair professional to replace the damaged parts.
  • Not all items belong in your dryer. Before you toss an item in your dryer it’s wise to read its care tag. If the object is made out of rubber, plastic or foam the high temperatures reached in your appliance will not only ruin the item, but the extreme heat can also ignite the material.
  • One dryer sheet is all it takes. While the motto “the more the merrier” can apply to multiple aspects of life, it definitely doesn’t pertain to the number of dryer sheets you use in your appliance. Over time, the residue dryer sheets leave behind, clog your lint screen and cause the moisture sensor in your appliance to malfunction. That’s why using more than one sheet during a cycle is frowned upon. Even if you stick to the single sheet rule, you still need to clean the appliance’s moisture sensor and lint screen; otherwise, the auto dry feature won’t perform properly and air flow issues will occur.

Properly maintaining your dryer saves it and you from expensive repairs and a shortened life span. If you have questions about your appliance’s performance or you would like more tips on how to care for your dryer, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you.