How to Increase Dryer Efficiency

How to Increase Dryer Efficiency

I do a lot of laundry at my house.  LOTS.  Enough for me to say to my husband, “I’m glad we’re alive during this age when technology is so abundant.  I can’t imagine doing laundry for you without electricity.”

So when our “new to us” dryer started skimping out on me I started to panic.  Back in Maryland we had a dryer that worked (by work I mean hummed and rotated its basket) but didn’t heat up the air.  $100 later the electrician replaced a TINY little fuse that burned out.  Yes.  $100.  I was peeved.

Well I’ve been experiencing this lately with this “new to me” dryer and I don’t want to fork over $100 to fix it when I could use it toward a multitude of other projects.  Like this one.

Somehow I stumbled upon this link online.  It contains 17 Tips to Make Your Life Easier.  #17 in particular caught my attention.  It involved cleaning the lint filter.

What I learned from that blog post:

Dryer sheets create a film over lint filter’s mesh over time.  That’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film , but it’s there.  This phenomenon also causes dryer units to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! The electrician said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& to cut energy bills) is to take that filter out, wash it with hot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least EVERY six months. This extends the life of the dryer at least twice!”

Good advice, huh?

So I did it.  I took out the lint filter and brought it with me to the bathtub:

I can’t see a film, but why is that water just sitting there?  Isn’t that what the mesh is for?

I took some Dawn liquid detergent and my toothbrush from my oil stain removal experiment, and as that experiment went through the rinse cycle, I washed this.

A quick (30 second) brush through…and look at the water run now:


I replaced the lint filter into the dryer and put in the next load into the dryer.  What normally wasn’t dry until a second run-through (towels) in the dryer was piping HOT even before the cycle finished:

Yes…there were still a good 20 minutes left before it finished its cycle and the clothes were dry.

TRY THIS and see for yourself!  You could be saving tons on your energy bill!


  1. Amanda Shaw says

    another great way to save on drying your clothes (especially towels) is to add a dry towel to your load of wet towels. It seems a little redundant but it cuts dry time almost in half.

    • Lisette says

      YES! That’s very true Amanda! Thanks for mentioning it. I do that from time to time! But if that doesn’t speed up the drying (after checking the lint trap) then washing the lint trap is a must!

  2. Mariah says

    Great tip! We moved into a new apartment and I was having issues with my dryer. I had to run it each load twice. It turned out that my dryer was fine but the vent that was in the wall was clogged. As soon as we had that vacuumed out it was like I had a brand new dryer. Now I will be sure to wash my lint filter to keep the energy savings going.

    • says


      Yes, I constantly clean out the lint catcher. I also cleaned out the lint exhaust pipe and it was amazing how much lint was in there!

      Your comment reminded me that I have to clean off the film from our lint catcher. You’ll see great results!

  3. says

    I too have tried washing my lint screen. It definitely helps but… screen rusted! I dried it well after washing it, not to mention using it while running the dryer. Any ideas on that?

      • Marian says

        Use a hair dryer to dry the lint screen after you wash it: don’t let it air dry because that gives it enough time to form rust or exacerbate rust that is already present. My guess is that there were already teeny particles of rust forming on the lint screen.
        I used this tip when I rejuvenated two old very rusty metal garden chairs this summer. The directions I was following said that when you scrub or wire-brush a rusty surface, then rinse the rust dust off, use a hair dryer so rust won’t get a chance to start its chemical process.

        • Adam says

          (I know. I know. I’m a year late to the post here. Sorry. Maybe it will help someone else.)

          Before replacing your dryer screen, try giving a scrub with some water and Bar Keeper’s Friend (the powder kind). I find Bar Keeper’s Friend to be my go-to for all rust problems — I even use it occasionally on minor automotive rust. It’s like Ajax, but it takes rust off almost instantly.

  4. Deenah says

    We haven’t used dryer sheets in quite some time ( we started using wool dryer balls). But I don’t think it would hurt to clean my lint trap. In the past I’ve even gone as far as shoving the vacuum hose down as far as I can to suck out extra loose lint.

  5. Gail says

    Great post! I already periodically clean my lint trap with soap and water but I never thought about drying it with a blow dryer…going to do this the next time!
    I do want to share a tip on my newly found “dryer sheets”. They are sponges that are soaked in fabric softener…my preference is Downey®. This is the link to the DYI dryer sheets I use:

    Besides being more economical because they are “reusable”, these “sheets” don’t have a wax coating like regular dryer sheets…the wax is what coats the lint trap and catches fire.

    This happened to my sister-in-law. Thank God she walked into her laundry area before it got out of control.

    Enjoy! :-)

  6. Cindi says

    You mentioned paying a repair man $100 to replace your dryer fuse. I fixed ours (same problem) for $12.00. There is a fantastic website: You click on the appliance, i.e. washer, dryer, etc., enter your model number and a list of “symptoms” come up. Click on you r “symptom” and there are possible causes, instructions for determining the cause and instructions to repair the problem, including part names & numbers. There was even a video on how to use a volt meter to test the fuse! So far I have fixed my dryer and washer about four times…total cost for all repairs: $22.00 for parts!!! It’s amazing and gives you such a great feeling of accomplishment & SO much money saved. Check it out!

  7. Hilary says

    I second what Deenah says. I haven’t used dryer sheets for years. I use the wool balls. Very economical and environmentally friendly! :)

    • Natasha says

      I started using the ecosheets, they work very well for me in non static- y oregon! The best part is that they don’t leave a residue, scent, or toxins and they are cheap and reusable. I also use a ball that charges in uv light to change the pH of the washing water to cut detergent down by a third, plus branch basics concentrate as detergent (plus essential oils for scent). I save so much money on laundry now, and there is no longer residue buildup anywhere.

  8. Julie says

    Thanks for the awesome tips. I put my favorite sweater on this morning, looked down, saw a couple of oil stains. I will do this tonight!!!!!!!

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