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What is a Lint Trap?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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A lint trap is part of a clothes dryer that acts as a filter by trapping lint as air is vented out during the drying cycle. The location of the trap depends on the make and model of the dryer, and it is designed to be removable for cleaning. Without a lint trap, excessive amounts of lint would build up in the dryer vent hose, decreasing the efficiency of the dryer, shortening its life span, and creating an increased risk of fire.

On any clothes dryer, the lint trap should be cleaned off after each load. This allows for the dryer to operate at maximum efficiency and to dry clothes in the shortest time frame. A clean filter also helps prevent dryer fires, which, although rare, can be dangerous. While not every load fills the trap, cleaning it after each load will help reduce energy use.

Even though a lint trap filters and traps most of the lint produced during drying, some lint does pass through it and can build up in the dryer vent hose over time. For maintenance and safety reasons, it is wise to clean the dryer vent hose attached to your dryer at least once each year. Build up of lint in the dryer vent hose can pose an increased risk of fire, especially if the vent becomes nearly or completely blocked.

In addition to being a standard part of a clothes dryer, a lint trap might also be found serving a similar purpose for a washing machine’s drainage system. Whether a washing machine drains into a washtub or directly into a floor drain, lint can cause problems at the drain. As lint washes off of the clothes, it flows out with the drainage water and can clog the drain site, causing slower drainage and even backup. To prevent this, a filter can be installed on top of or inside of the drain site. It should also be cleaned between loads to help prevent clogging and backups, and to keep the water draining smoothly.

Homeowners can find lint traps for drains at most hardware stores. If a dryer’s trap has worn holes in it, the manufacturer can usually supply a replacement.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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