How to Clean a Tumble Dryer

Person opening the lint trap of a tumble dryer

A full guide on how to clean your tumble dryer

Good weather isn’t always guaranteed when living in the UK, even in summer. This makes the tumble dryer one of the most useful and time-saving appliances on the market.

As with most electrical items in the home, tumble dryers are becoming increasingly advanced. They’re better at what they do, and more energy efficient. Like any other kitchen appliance or big home purchase, you’ll want to keep it clean and in good condition, so it lasts as long as possible.

This guide will look at how to clean a tumble dryer properly, both inside and out, including the lint filter, sensors, and other components.

How to Clean Your Tumble Dryer

Cleaning the exterior of a tumble dryer is very simple – just wipe it down with a damp cloth. Use a small amount of soap if you need to remove stubborn stains. Regularly wiping down the outside of the dryer helps to keep it looking new and prevents the buildup of grime.

How Often Should You Clean the Tumble Dryer Filter?

One of the most critical maintenance tasks is cleaning the tumble dryer filter. All tumble dryers have a filter located at the front of the drum in the door. This filter is essential for catching lint, dust, and other debris such as coins and small items left in pockets. It’s recommended by many manufacturers that the dryer lint filter is cleaned after every cycle.

To clean the lint filter of your tumble dryer:

  • Ensure the tumble dryer has cooled down before removing the filter.
  • Locate the filter, usually found at the front of the drum in the door, or just inside the door frame.
  • Remove the filter from its compartment and wipe the dust and lint away.
  • Use a cloth to wipe any lint that is still in the filter holder.
  • Once the filter and the compartment are both clean, replace the filter, ensuring it’s fully back in its position.

What is Lint in a Tumble Dryer?

Lint is the collection of tiny fibres that come off clothes during the drying process. It can accumulate quickly and, if not cleaned out regularly, can cause your dryer to become less efficient or even pose a fire hazard.

How to Clean a Tumble Dryer Sensor

If your tumble dryer has a heat or moisture sensor, it is recommended that this is cleaned several times a year. The frequency of cleaning will depend on how often you use the dryer, but it is essential to keep it clean to ensure accurate drying times.

The sensor detects when your clothes are dry, and then stops the dryer automatically. If it’s dirty, it might not function correctly, leading to over-dried or damp clothes.

To clean the sensor:

  • You’ll struggle to find a specialised tumble dryer cleaner. However, you can purchase some stainless steel cleaner to wipe the inside of the drum. If you can’t get hold of any stainless steel cleaner, you can use white vinegar.
  • Use a dry cloth (a regular dust cloth will work) and wipe the sensor itself, clearing it of dust and dirt that has accumulated over time.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Tumble Dryer

If your tumble dryer isn’t performing as it should, you might think some dirt or dust has escaped the filter and entered the internal mechanism of the tumble dryer. Some guides advise cleaning inside the tumble dryer by removing the back panel and exposing the interior. We strongly advise against this.

If you clean the filter regularly, it’s unlikely the problem is dirt. Opening the tumble dryer can invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty, leaving you unprotected if any faults occur.

If your tumble dryer isn’t performing as it should, contact either the retailer you bought it from or the manufacturer of the appliance to seek expert advice.

Additional Tips for Keeping Your Tumble Dryer Clean


If applicable, ensure the external vent is clear of obstructions. Blocked vents can reduce efficiency and pose a fire hazard.

Drum Cleaning

Wipe down the drum with a mild detergent solution to remove any residue left from fabric softeners or dryer sheets.

Door Seal

Regularly clean the door seal to remove lint and debris that can build up over time. This helps maintain a good seal and prevents leaks.

An AEG tumble dryer and washing machine side by side

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