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Old 09-22-2016, 09:46 PM   #1
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How to clean a smelly dryer vent

Recently, we had an issue where an extremely wet comforter was put in our clothes dryer. We had to take the comforter out of our dryer since we heard water sloshing around in the bottom of it. Subsequently, we had a smell in the dryer, which we determined was coming from the dryer vent. We had a duct cleaning service come in and clean out the dryer vent (which was long overdue). The first time, they blew out all the lint and the second time they came, they vacuumed the dryer vent from the outside of the house to confirm that there was no residual water in the dryer vent line.

Despite this level of remediation, we continue to have a damp, mildew type smell coming from our dryer vent. When I leave the dryer connected to the dryer vent, the inside of the dryer smells, along with the vent. If I leave the dryer disconnected from the vent, the dryer is fine, but the vent still smells. So, I have confirmed that it is the vent that smells, not the dryer. I tried to run the dryer several times to 'flush out" the vent, but the smell keeps coming back.

It seems our options are to replace the dryer vent or to attempt some further type of remediation. Since our dryer vent snakes through our house and has a long run, it isnít that easy to replace the vent. It will also likely be expensive. Our other option is to attempt to do some additional type of cleaning of the vent. However, I'm not sure what that would be. Does anyone have any ideas as to anything I can put in the vent line to remove the smell?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:32 PM   #2
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Re: How to clean a smelly dryer vent

If the vent snakes around and sags, you probably have a low spot with wet and musty lint that was not removed by the service.

You need to get the line photographed with one of those cameras that snake into tight places to see if and where this soggy lint is, to clean it out.

They make an inexpensive one that attaches to a smart-phone, that you can try, if it is too short, insert it from the other end to see that end.

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Old 09-23-2016, 04:09 AM   #3
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Re: How to clean a smelly dryer vent

I'd talk to the company that cleans your vent first. If that doesn't work and you know it's the vent and you are not able to change it, they make a small inexpensive damper that you could install in your dryer vent directly behind the dryer. If it's just the flexible vent behind the dryer you could just cut it and install. They are less then ten bucks and are in the dryer vent section of the discount stores. White in color.. We recommend these to customers that are having air drawn backwards through the dryer causing moisture to form inside the dryer when they are not even using it. It works very well to stop the reverse air flow. I think it might work to stop the smell from coming in to your dryer. Although it will take care of the backdraft, it doesn't take care of the issue with your current vent. . I'm assuming that the vent travels between floors to go outside. I would take the exterior cover off and use a bright flashlight and see what you can see in there. I suspect a dip in the vent as well. You might be surprised what you see and it will give you something to tell the duct company to come back for. I also suspect the problem could self correct as far as smell goes overtime but there is a problem there that should permanently corrected
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:30 PM   #4
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Re: How to clean a smelly dryer vent

I agree with the above.

Running the drier for a long while without any load with eventually dry out the vent. However, it sounds like there's still lint that's wet inside, so it'll just became moist after every use, and the smell will return if not removed.

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