Dryers generate lint much in the same way that an engine generates electricity. The drum spins and lint comes out. Of course, that lint comes from your clothes – loose threads and fibers that are knocked loose in the tumble. In order for the dryer to remove moisture from your clothes, it tosses the laundry around in a rush of hot air. That hot air flows in through the back of the drum and then out again through the exhaust assembly. The hot air carries lint with it, and that lint can eventually clog up the duct and vents that allow air (and moisture from your clothes) to escape.
This is why there’s a lint screen that we must clean regularly. When everything is put together correctly, most of the lint is caught by the screen and the rest tumbles harmlessly out the exhaust duct. So why is your laundry room covered in lint? That lint should be contained in the system, but for some reason it’s blowing all over the laundry room and covering your things in a layer of damp, fuzzy lint that sticks to everything. Here are the three possible reasons why:
The Lint Screen is Missing
Check for your lint screen. It is very possible that someone helpfully emptying the screen forgot to put it back in. A distraction is all it takes to put the screen down in the wrong place and forget about it. So check your lint trap. If the screen is missing, it’s time for a quick laundry room hunt. At least you know where the lint is coming from.
Look on nearby surfaces and inside nearby containers. If you don’t find the lint screen in the laundry room, it may have left in a basket or hamper. When you find the lint screen, slide it back into place and return to drying your clothes without worrying about lint covering every nearby surface.
The Dryer Duct has Come Loose
The other place where lint can escape is out a broken or detached dryer duct. The exhaust duct behind your dryer is the silvery flexible tube that connects the dryer back to the wall. This is where moist hot air and lint are carried out of the dryer and, ideally, out of your house. Ducts are usually attached with a ring bracket that ratchets tight around the circular connection. If that ring comes loose, as they can, then the duct can come loose and release lint into the air.
Check the connections on both sides of the duct, both connecting to the wall and the dryer. Reposition the duct to sit firmly on the vent and secure the ring bracket as tight as it will close. Now lint will stop blowing into your laundry room.
The Dryer Duct is Ripped or Busted
Last but not least, check the integrity of your silver duct. Check it for rips, tears, or signs of busting open from pressure. If the duct is damaged and no longer air-tight, then it’s also no longer lint-tight. If the duct is either ripped or open, there’s a good chance that your laundry room has been overly humid, not just linty, and the problem won’t solve until you replace the duct.
Do not try to tape your duct, or only do so as a stop-gap measure. Duct tape is not a permanent solution for something as delicate as a dryer duct, which will often continue to rip. Fortunately, a replacement duct is very affordable and can be cut to size easily. Have a pair of scissors and a small to medium wire cutter ready. The rest is ring brackets.