Go ahead and laugh. It's okay. Before you do, though, hear me out.

My dryer has been drying less and less lately. Today, it stopped drying. Now I have a full load of wet laundry and it's all the clothes I got. I just tried cleaning my exhaust duct/vent/whatever with one of those things with the bristles and the coily "handle", but I have had no luck. I tried cleaning it from inside the house and outside, but nothing. The dryer is blowing out exhaust out the back, though, so I know it's doing it's share of the work. However, even with the exhaust hose hooked up, I feel absolutely no air blowing out of the vent outside. I've peered down its full length with an LED flashlight from the outside and even stuck my cell phone up in it and snapped a clear pic from the inside and I see no blockages. I've even felt along the length of the exhaust hose while the dryer was going and felt no air escaping through tears or around the gaskets that hold it to the wall and the back of the dryer.

I am just going to call someone to come and do it, but, being the week of Thanksgiving and all, I doubt I'll be able to get anyone here until next week. Meanwhile, I have a load of laundry that needs to be dried. Therefore, I've come up with the temporary -- and idiotic -- idea to attach a pillow case to the end and let it rip. However, the idea of dying in a fire just days before the delicious Thanksgiving feast leaves me sort of questioning whether or not I should do this. Had I a longer hose, I'd just stick it out the garage door and let it rip. However, I don't, so I won't.

What do I do about this mess? Somebody help me.

  • Fire you can escape. If it is a gas dryer, then you could die of CO poisoning, and that you usually don't escape until it is too late.
    – Gunner
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 2:34
  • @Gunner It's electric. Anyway, I went ahead and did it and am doing it right now. I've been keeping an eye on the pillow case and it's warm, but nowhere near as hot as the inside of the dryer itself. I took a pic for lols. Maybe I'll post it so everyone here can have lols, too. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 2:49
  • @oscilatingcretin - post the pic - post the pic - post the pic; we just have to see that inflated pillow case!
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 4:05
  • 4
    Folks used a device called a clothes line for many years to successfully dry clothes.
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 11:27
  • 3
    I'm confused as to the purpose of the pillow case. Why not just run the dryer with no exhaust piping connected at all? If it's an electric dryer, it probably won't kill you to run it that way once. I just wouldn't make a habit of running it vent free.
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 11:31

3 Answers 3


I'm presuming you're using the pillow case as a lint filter. The bigger problem will be humidity. You'll be putting all of the moisture from the wet clothes into the air. After a couple loads, this makes the room really, really, REALLY humid (I've been there).

If you can swing it, you might be well off getting some flex dryer duct and running the end out the window while you're doing laundry. Then you won't need the pillowcase at all, which might cause some other problems due to back pressure/poor airflow (e.g., it might take longer for your clothes to dry, and it might cause the dryer to run hotter).


Well, I am answering my own question here. The answer is "Yes, you can!" (or at least "Yes, I did!").

I am sure it's safe so long as you keep an eye on it. The pillow case didn't get absurdly hot, either. After about 40 minutes, my load was done. Now that I got my vent cleaned today, I should see even faster drying times since the pillow case method wasn't without its share of airflow resistance.

The first pic is of my pillow case experiment. No laughing at the outdated laminate floor as that was there when I bought the place (so I guess you can still laugh at me a little). Also, no laughing at the outdated 90's pillowcase design. Do mind the mess.

The second pic is what they pulled out of my vent today. No wonder there was no airflow!

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 4
    That is why code calls for rigid smooth walled dryer exhaust ducting. That foil flex junk is not supposed to be used for dryer exhaust, it's for things like bathroom exhaust fans. Replace that ducting ASAP.
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 16:46
  • @Tester101 Ah, good call. I will replace it myself very soon. Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 16:48
  • @Tester101 thank, I had not given this a thought. My dryer is in the basement and vents into the driveway with a simple plastic piece that goes through a basement window. So it is easy to work with. Anyway, the snowblower has demolished the exterior vent. I was going to replace that, and after your comment, I think I will use rigid venting for at least everything up until the last tiny bit that hooks up to the dryer itself.
    – user4302
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 6:25
  • @JohnGaughan They sell semi-rigid duct (as described in this question), that can be used to connect the dryer to the rigid ducting. Personally, I stick to the shortest piece possible (2 ft.), but code wise I think you can use an 8 ft. piece.
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 12:51

In the winter, I disconnect my (electric) dryer exhaust hose, plug the hole in the wall and put a knee high panty hose on the end. Very easy to clean the lintel out of. Why waste heat and no more bloody noses from the dry winter air.

  • 2
    Just keep an eye on the amount of humidity you're introducing this way -- houses do not like excess humidity much, either! Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 14:08

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