The Good, the Bad, the Lint.
In both cases above (pinned from Pinterest), lint is shown as the ignition, accelerant combustion agent to get a fire going. This is all well and good when you want to make a fire, but it’s less helpful when your dryer does it for you.
Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments. Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton and wool generate more lint than fabrics made of rayon or other synthetic materials. Bits of fiber break off from the friction of wear. When clothes go through the washer, dirt and lint are lifted from the garments but remain on the fabric in its wet state. During drying, the lint is released as water is removed from the wet fabric and tumbling action increases friction between fabrics. Finally, a heating mechanism within the dryer called an open-wire element creates an air stream that sweeps through the garments, blowing the lint off and trapping it in the lint screen. The dryer’s exhaust system, which pulls moisture and heat safely out of your home, also helps to suction lint off the clothes.
Regardless of how lint gets in there, cleaning your dryer’s lint screen regularly is important. Reduced airflow resulting from lint buildup can cause the appliance to operate at elevated temperatures and overheat.
Get the Lint Out
Every year, nearly 25,000 dryer fires cause millions of dollars in damage and hundreds of injuries, some fatal. Dryer fires start when built-up lint near the motor, gas burners or heating elements catches on fire. This fire can then spread to ignite lint in the vent pipe.
The best precautions are to empty the lint trap after every load, vacuum behind the machine regularly, keep flammables away from the dryer, and annually clean lint from inside the dryer cabinet and vent duct. The most important step in cleaning the dryer is to remove any lint buildup around the motor and gas burner or heating element. Then clean out the vent duct with a 4-in. dryer vent cleaning brush (sold at appliance repair stores, or online).
If your dryer has a plastic vent ducting, replace it with a metal one. The plastic ducting itself can catch on fire and set your house ablaze.
To learn more about DIY Dryer cleaning visit The Family Handyman website.
Cited sources: Popular Science, The Family Handyman and Pinterest
On Pinterest there is a whole board devoted to Lint and Lint projects. Remember the advertising agent/ inventor of the mid 1970’s Pet Rock sold 1.5 million stone pets with the fad that lasted around 6 months? He became a multi-millonaire. I’m just sayin’.
SoCited source: Popular Science, The Family
TOPICAL FIRE REPORT SERIES Volume 13, Issue 7 / August 2012