We Can Safely Clean Out Our Dryer Vent Without Getting On The Roof Thanks To This TikTok

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If you're familiar with TikTok creator @jmg8tor's work, you've probably seen a parade of pool noodles, a whirlwind of WD-40, and a torrent of tool-throwing. He ends his videos with "Next!" to reinforce the fact that he's turning out his tips, tricks, and hacks at breakneck speed. But this time, the TikToker, Gator, enlightens us on a topic that's deadly serious: cleaning your dryer vent, including what to do if your vent is on your roof. In less than a minute and a half, Gator tells you about his solution, a dryer vent cleaning brush kit that uses your drill's power to clean the vent — and the dryer itself to blow out the lint.

His kit is much like the Holikme 30 Feet Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit from Amazon for about $20. One end attaches to your drill and the other ends in a brush. These kits typically include a bunch of flexible rods that, when connected, extend your brush 30 to 40 feet — enough to reach the full length of the dryer vent in most homes. It's usually long enough, in fact, to reach your roof, which is important for those of us with dryers that vent through there. Not everyone is comfortable walking around on the roof, and it's certainly risky. In 2020, the victims of almost 10 percent of fatal falls in the U.S. were roofers (via Roofing Contractor.)

What if your dryer vents out the roof?

Most dryers vent through an outside wall. For those, you simply turn on your dryer, remove the vent cover, and run the brush through with the drill turning in its forward gear (never reverse when using the brush) — then run it back out. This knocks off or loosens up the gunk stuck to the vent wall, which your dryer blows out. Put the cover back on and you're done.

This is simple enough — assuming that your dryer vents through a wall. But many homes, especially those with laundry rooms not adjacent to an exterior wall, vent through the roof. In addition to the dangers of climbing on the roof to remove a vent cap, it's also a bad idea for homeowners due to the need to properly re-seal the vent cover afterward. Fortunately, Gator's solution works best from inside the house. Start by pulling the dryer out, disconnecting the vent pipe from the dryer, and then running the drill brush through the vent. Reconnect the dryer and turn it on to blow out the lint. During this process, you might pull a lot of lint into the house but think of that as a good thing. It's an essential home maintenance task. How often you clean out your dryer vents depends on how heavily you use the dryer, but Gator's approach is painless enough to do it pretty frequently. And it might save your home — possibly your life.