Why You Need to Go Beyond the Lint Trap to Keep Your Dryer Safe From Fires

iStock
iStock

If you spend any time doing laundry, you already know that you’re supposed to clean out the lint trap every time you run a load through the dryer. But the task is more urgent than it may seem in the moment. Regular dryer cleaning could save your house from burning down.

Clothes dryers cause thousands of house fires in the U.S. per year, and many of those are caused by excess lint. According to Consumer Reports, your dryer is much more likely to catch on fire because of lint buildup than because of an electrical problem.

If you want to keep your home safe from flames, in other words, you could do worse than starting with your clothes dryer. That involves more than just dusting off the lint trap every few days. As a bonus, the steps you take to reduce the lint in your dryer system will also make your clothes dry faster.

Some newer dryers that Consumer Reports tested actually have sensors designed to alert you if their vents are blocked, but the magazine found that the appliances were really only useful for detecting full blockages, not the partial lint buildups that could still pose a fire risk, so you don't want to totally rely on those.

First, check out what your dryer vent setup is. Those familiar plastic or foil accordion-style dryer ducts were once ubiquitous, but now they're a known fire risk. The ridges in the hose are very effective at trapping hot air and lint, eventually blocking the air coming out of the dryer and potentially starting a fire. They can also sag and form kinks, leading to—you guessed it—more lint buildup. Replace it with a rigid metal duct instead. It'll certainly be cheaper than rebuilding your house.

Even if you have a metal duct, you'll still need to clean it out every few months, disconnecting the dryer from the power entirely and taking the vent out of the wall. Break out your vacuum and use the crevice attachment to clean out both ends of the duct. (You can also get a brush to do the job for under $20 on Amazon.) While you're back there, you should also check behind and underneath your dryer for loose lint, and clean that out as well.

Then, every six months or so, according to Maytag, you should give your lint screen a full wash, using liquid detergent and scrubbing it with a brush to remove residue buildup. If your dryer has automatic cycles, you may also want to wipe off the moisture sensors inside the drum, ensuring that the dryer doesn't keep working long after your clothes are dry.

Oh, and please don't stick your gasoline-stained clothes in the dryer.

While digging around behind your appliances and replacing vents may seem like a lot of work, that little extra effort can make your home much safer. While you're there, perhaps you want to get started on cleaning your washer, too.

[h/t Consumer Reports]

Amazon’s Big Fall Sale Features Deals on Electronics, Kitchen Appliances, and Home Décor

Dash/Keurig
Dash/Keurig

If you're looking for deals on items like Keurigs, BISSELL vacuums, and essential oil diffusers, it's usually pretty slim pickings until the holiday sales roll around. Thankfully, Amazon is starting these deals a little earlier with their Big Fall Sale, where customers can get up to 20 percent off everything from home decor to WFH essentials and kitchen gadgets. Now you won’t have to wait until Black Friday for the deal you need. Make sure to see all the deals that the sale has to offer here and check out our favorites below.

Electronics

Dash/Amazon

- BISSELL Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner $170 (save $60)

- Dash Deluxe Air Fryer $80 (save $20)

- Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker $17 (save $3)

- Keurig K-Café Single Coffee Maker $169 (save $30)

- COMFEE Toaster Oven $29 (save $9)

- AmazonBasics 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater $31 (save $4)

Home office Essentials

HP/Amazon

- HP Neverstop Laser Printer $250 (save $30)

- HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner $274 (save $25)

- HP Printer Paper (500 Sheets) $5 (save $2)

- Mead Composition Books Pack of 5 Ruled Notebooks $11 (save $2)

- Swingline Desktop Hole Punch $7 (save $17)

- Officemate OIC Achieva Side Load Letter Tray $15 (save $7)

- PILOT G2 Premium Rolling Ball Gel Pens 12-Pack $10 (save $3)

Toys and games

Selieve/Amazon

- Selieve Toys Old Children's Walkie Talkies $17 (save $7)

- Yard Games Giant Tumbling Timbers $59 (save $21)

- Duckura Jump Rocket Launchers $11 (save $17)

- EXERCISE N PLAY Automatic Launcher Baseball Bat $14 (save $29)

- Holy Stone HS165 GPS Drones with 2K HD Camera $95 (save $40)

Home Improvement

DEWALT/Amazon

- DEWALT 20V MAX LED Hand Held Work Light $54 (save $65)

- Duck EZ Packing Tape with Dispenser, 6 Rolls $11 (save $6)

- Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage Auto Vacuum $111 (save $39)

- Full Circle Sinksational Sink Strainer with Stopper $5 (save $2)

Home Décor

NECA/Amazon

- A Christmas Story 20-Inch Leg Lamp Prop Replica by NECA $41 save $5

- SYLVANIA 100 LED Warm White Mini Lights $8 (save 2)

- Yankee Candle Large Jar Candle Vanilla Cupcake $17 (save $12)

- Malden 8-Opening Matted Collage Picture Frame $20 (save $8)

- Lush Decor Blue and Gray Flower Curtains Pair $57 (save $55)

- LEVOIT Essential Oil Diffuser $25 (save $5)

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Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Try This Breathing Technique

Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Struggling to fall asleep can feel like a hopeless battle. It often seems like the harder you try turning your brain off, the less likely it is to happen. One way to trick yourself into falling asleep fast is finding something to concentrate on other than how long you've been awake. For nights when your thoughts just won't stay quiet, try the 4-7-8 technique.

According to Simplemost, the 4-7-8 breathing method is meant to combat anxiety, restlessness, and other enemies of a good night's sleep. The actual technique is simple: Just inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Like counting sheep, measuring out your breaths gives your brain something to do that isn't obsessing about your hectic day or the day ahead.

Taking slow, deliberate breaths has also been proven to reduce stress. Neurons that influence calmness have been found in the breathing control centers of mouse brains. In humans, deep breathing has long been central to mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique functions as both a distraction from your thoughts and a way to combat any anxious sensations that may be keeping you awake.

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning at night, try anywhere between three and eight rounds of this breathing technique to calm your body and mind. And to get the best rest possible, make sure you're settling into the best sleep position for your health.

[h/t Simplemost]