Why Your Dryer Vent Keeps Getting Clogged & How To Stop It

Why Your Dryer Vent Keeps Getting Clogged

Stuck trying to figure out how to keep your dryer vent from clogging?

Unfortunately, this is a known issue. I know how annoying it can be to have this happen. After all, dryers should make our lives easier, not the opposite.

If your dryer vent keeps getting clogged, chances are there’s too much debris present, the vent cover is blocked, or you have a nest. Fabric softener build-up and a kinked vent duct could also explain the issue.

Having a clogged dryer vent can explain why your dryer keeps overheating and not working correctly.

Dryer vent full of debris and lint
The outside dryer vent should be cleaned and checked regularly to increase the airflow in your dryer.

But, don’t worry. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons why your dryer vent keeps getting clogged and how to fix the issue!

Why Does Your Dryer Vent Get Clogged?

There are several reasons why your dryer vent might get clogged. These include:

#1 There Is Too Much Debris Present

Without a doubt, this is the most common reason why a dryer vent clogs.

You see, if you have lint that escapes the lint trap, it is going to make its way into the dryer duct. As a result, it will collect on the inner surfaces of your dryer duct, causing the vent to be blocked.

If the vent is blocked, there is not enough airflow going through the dryer. As a result, the dryer will start to overheat, which can cause the dryer motor to burn out faster or even lead to a fire. The reality is that lint makes for excellent kindling, so it is important to be aware of this risk. 

#2 The Vent Cover Is Blocked

Another possible reason why the dryer vent might be getting clogged is that the vent cover is blocked. This may happen due to the buildup of mud, debris, and even spiderwebs.

The dryer vent itself is protected by a vent flap. The job of this vent flap is to prevent something on the outside from clogging the vent cover. If something is blocking the vent on the exterior of your home, it can cause your dryer to overheat.

When your dryer is running, walk around the exterior of your home. If you feel warm air escaping from me specific area of your house, this is a sign that you have found the vent cover.

#3 There Is a Nest in Your Dryer Vent

Even though there are plenty of blockages that can take place from the outside, there are also animals that can make their homes on the inside of the dryer vent as well.

For example, it is not unusual for birds to build a nest inside your dryer.

A dryer vent with a nest
A nest will block the dryer vent, causing it to fill up with lint, so the dryer runs less efficiently and can cause the dryer to fail.

If you smell like something is burning on the inside of your dryer, there could be a nest that is clogging the dryer vent itself.  If that’s the case, you should call a professional to help you. 

#4 There Is a Kink in the Vent Duct

If you have a dryer that has to change direction or elevation before it reaches the exterior of your home, there is a chance there is a kink present.

A kink usually takes place when your dryer vent has to turn a corner because this creates the perfect conditions for a blockage. 

You see, if your dryer ductwork has to turn a corner, there is a narrow passageway that can lead to a severe lint blockage. Therefore, it is even more important for you to clean lint from your dryer after every load.

You might need to call a professional who can help you clean out this part of your dryer vent work. They may even recommend that you install flexible ducts that can prevent this from happening in the future.

#5 Fabric Softener Has Built Up Inside the Dryer

A lot of people do not realize that fabric softeners can lead to severe issues inside the dryer.

Even though you use fabric softener to keep your clothes smelling nice and fresh, the oils from this fabric softener can build up in the vent of your dryer. This can explain why your dryer vent is clogged.

If you ever cook bacon, you have probably been told that you should not dump bacon grease down the drain. This is because bacon grease can harden your plumbing system, causing a severe blockage in your pipes. The same principle takes place with fabric softener in your dryer vent.

When you use fabric softener, you can create a sticky residue that builds up in your dryer vent. Then, the lint that goes through your dryer can stick to the ductwork inside of it. The solution is to limit the use of fabric softener and prevent lint from collecting in the dryer itself.

How to Fix a Blocked Dryer Vent Cover: 4 Simple Steps

You might need several materials to fix a blocked dryer vent cover. Keep in mind that depending on what is wrong with your dryer, you may need some or all of the items below. These are: 

  • A strong vacuum cleaner 
  • A strong pair of gloves 
  • An auger snake 
  • A microfiber cloth 
  • A screwdriver 
  • A brush you can use to clean your dryer vent 

Once you have gathered all of these materials, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:

#1 Remove Power to the Dryer

You do not want to run the risk of the dryer turning on while you are working on it, since this could lead to some serious injuries. 

This is why, before doing anything else, you need to remove power to the dryer via your circuit breaker.

The dryer should be on a dedicated circuit, or one shared with the washer.

You’ll then need to have the dryer out, and if possible disconnect its power cord too.

#2 Remove the Dryer Vent Hose from the Wall

Once you have the dryer out and room to work, you need to remove the dryer vent hose from the wall. You should look for a silver or white hose that comes out of the back of the dryer.

After you have located the vent hose, follow it until it exits your home. It is probably held in place by several brackets that fit around the edge. 

Then, you’ll need to use a screwdriver to loosen the clamps that attach the hose to the wall itself. Before you pull the vent away from the wall, you need to make sure you have a garbage bag ready. Or, you may want to put something directly underneath the hose. 

You never know what is going to fall out of the hose when you remove it from the wall. You might find hair, dust, dirt, or other debris. You want to catch this and throw it away to prevent it from going over the floor.

#3 Clean the Dryer Vent Hose and the Vent Cover

Now, it is time to clean the dryer vent hose and the vent cover itself. You may want to stick your vacuum directly inside the dryer vent hose and the vent cover to remove anything inside it.

If you feel like a typical vacuum is not doing the trick, then you may even want to reach for a leaf blower that can help you.

If there are a lot of tough clogs in your vacuum hose, you may want to use the auger snake to help you. If you feel like the vent hose is still clogged but nothing is coming out, then you need to loosen the clogs using the auger. 

Lastly, once you are confident that you have removed all the major items from the inside of the vent cover and the vent hose, you need to use a microfiber cloth to clean out the rest of the inside.

A mixture of bleach and warm water combined with the microfiber cloth should be enough to get the job done. 

#4 Reattach the Dryer Vent Hose and Vent Cover

Finally, you need to reattach the dryer vent hose and vent cover once you are done cleaning it. To do it, you simply need to follow the steps in reverse to do so.

You should use your screwdriver to put the brackets and clamps back in place around the vent hose. 

You may also want to take a closer look at the vent cover to make sure it is not prone to get clogged again. Make sure nothing is in the way when you put the vent cover back.

Finally, do not forget to put the dryer back in the right position and plug it in so it works again. 


There are several reasons why your vent cover may get clogged. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to clean. If you can remember to remove the lint from your dryer after every load, you may be able to prevent your vent cover from getting clogged down the road. If you need help with your vent cover, reach out to a professional who can assist you. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this quick article. If you found it helpful, don’t forget to check out our related posts below.

Have a great day!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more