House fires caused by dryer lint are a real thing. I don't want to add to your list of worries, so let me share a secret with you: cleaning this part of your front-loading dryer is easy. Plus, I have a great hack for you involving an empty paper towel roll. You always knew there was a use for those things! Here's the simple three-step process.
1. Clean the Lint Trap
You should clear the lint trap, the little screen at the front of the dryer, with every load. Simply pull the lint off the screen and put it in the trash. Dryer sheets can clog the screen, making your dryer less efficient, so you should give the screen a scrub periodically — twice a year will do. Here's how: pull the entire screen out, take it to the sink, gently scrub it with dish soap and a bottle brush (be careful not to tear or puncture the screen), rinse, and dry. While it's drying, tackle cleaning the vent.
2. Clean the Vent
The vent, essentially a hose between the lint trap and the outside of your house, can become clogged with lint, too. You want to vacuum this vent, but chances are high your vacuum nozzle designed for crevices is too thick to fit down into the vent. But I found a simple solution for this issue on the blog Intentional Mom. To extend the vacuum hose, take the interior tube of a paper towel roll, and tape it onto the nozzle. You need to make it airtight so the vacuum has adequate suction. Squish the end of the tube to make it narrow, shove it down the vent, and vacuum all that excess lint.
3. Clean the Vent From the Outside
You get bonus points for this part. Find where the dryer vent hose exits your house, open the vent door, and vacuum out this end, too. I found a surprising amount of lint hanging out in the end of my vent.
Bonus: cleaning your dryer will make it run more efficiently and save you a bit of dough by saving energy.