What's the Worst That Could Happen? Dryer Vent Safety

Posted by Rita Stadler

Jun 6, 2014 3:20:00 PM

The dryer buzzes and a quick look at the clock tells you that you have about 90 seconds to start the next load before you're behind schedule, and if we're being honest, you were probably already behind schedule before you finished having your first cup of coffee.  You can leave a wet load of laundry sitting in the washer and see how long it takes for that stinky, mildewy smell to set in, or you can throw it in the dryer quick as can be, saving a couple seconds by not cleaning the lint trap.  We've all been there.  Skip a small step, save some time, and say to yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?"


This is probably the worst that can happen:


The Deadly Facts

There are thousands of dryer fires annually, and failure to clean the lint is a leading cause of fire.  All that built up dryer lint isn't just a potential fire hazard, it can also create a pest haven.  Rats, mice, and other small animals may access your home through the dryer exhaust vent and would be very happy to find you've left an abundant supply of soft and comfortable nesting material available for them. 

When mice nest in your dryer vent, the potential for disaster multiplies.  Rodents carry numerous diseases such as salmonella, hantavirus, and plague.  They will leave urine and mouse droppings behind, and everyone knows how heat intensifies smells.  Perhaps most dangerous of all, they will increase the risk of fire because rodents love to chew all the time and will gnaw on electrical cables and wiring which could result in a house fire. 

Spend Time, Save Lives

Smokey the Bear said it best when he said, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires."  The word "forest" could just as well be left out, because YOU can prevent most fires.  Spending just a few seconds to make sure the lint trap is clear can save you so much in the long run.  Additionally, remember to perform regular maintenance on your washer and dryer to prevent problems and keep operating costs low and efficiency high.   Periodically cleaning inside the lint trap (not just the screen) and the ducts will ensure safety, efficiency, and freedom from any freeloading pests.  Visit the American Red Cross website for more fire safety and prevention tips.

Spending a few more moments rodent proofing your home can save you more time and money. The best way to get rid of mice is to keep them from getting in. 

  • Clean up rodent attractants such as standing water, pet food, bird seed, and other food sources. 
  • Seal up potential entry points; make sure the dryer vent hood is in good repair, doors and windows shut tightly, and that there are no gaping cracks or holes along the building foundation. 
  • Use mice repellant around your home to keep mice and rats out. 

These steps will save you money so you don't have to repair rodent related damages and could even save your life when it comes to rodent related diseases or house fires. 


Protect Your Home From Rodents

Topics: Home

Rita Stadler
Rita lives in Central Florida and has been a member of Team EarthKind since 2010. When not writing about ways to preserve the good and prevent the rest, her 4 children keep her busy. She can be found sharing mouse jokes on Twitter @EartKkind and answering to calls of "MOM!" from any kid within a 25 foot radius.

Subscribe to Email Updates