My dryer exhaust goes out of my laundry room, into my attic, and runs for about 15 feet before it gets outside. Over time the lent has built up quite a bit. What is the best way to clean this? The sections in the attic are connected via duct tape.

If this isn't an easy task, what type of local places would do this service. Would heating and air conditioning places have this type of service?

  • 13
    Step 1: Buy a rodent slightly smaller than vent diameter. (Wrap in pipe cleaners to make up the difference.) Step 2: Place yummy morsels at far end of vent run. Step 3: Shove rodent into opposite vent opening. Step 4: Recover lint-laden rodent at exhaust opening.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 17:31
  • 1
    leaf blower? or another use for a pumpkin cannon during the off season.
    – Tester101
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 16:08
  • I'm wondering why the lint-trap in the dryer is letting it through.
    – staticsan
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 2:03

8 Answers 8


You can probably do it yourself cheaper than hiring it out. You could try something like this vent cleaning system. It seems to have fairly good reviews on Amazon, and for $25 it's worth a shot. It claims to have a 12' reach and the ability to navigate turns in the vent, so you may have to go at the last 3' from the other end.

Note: You'll need a drill to attach it to. A shopvac would also be helpful, but if you don't have one, the kit includes an attachment to use with your dryer.

enter image description here

  • 4
    I've used this myself and it works great. Just make absolutely sure that you don't reverse the drill while any parts are still in the vent. Otherwise it the rod will unscrew and Murphy says it will be the connection deep in the vent.
    – BMitch
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 1:20
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    i have also used this product, and i can attest that it does work great. however, the dryer vent at my parents house has too many bends and we can't clean it with the rods. instead, i tie a string to a used dryer sheet and stuff it in one end, then hook up the shop vac to the other end. the shop vac sucks the sheet through the tubing, trailing the string. then i attached the brush to the string and pull it through while sucking with the shop vac.
    – longneck
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 16:15

You're supposed to clean your dryer duct once a year or so to prevent a fire hazard.

The standard thing to clean a dryer duct is a brush with a long flexible handle. They make ones specifically sized for dryer ducts. Here is a typical one:

Picture of dryer duct brush

Disconnect your dryer and push the vent into the duct. Run it back and forth a few times. Keep a vacuum handy. You will make a mess.

If your duct is vented somewhere on the ground level, you could easily sweep from both ends. Since it sounds like yours vents to the roof, you will probably want to sweep from the inside only. However, you should probably check out the outside vent to make sure it isn't plugged, and opens/shuts properly.

If your duct has a lot of sharp bends or is very long (longer than the brush handle can reach), you will need to disconnect sections of the duct and clean them individually.

Once you have swept the ducts, you may also want to think about how you can re-configure the duct to make things easier for next time. Your dryer duct may not be up to code either (many homes are not).

  • FWIW, cleaning the dryer's built-in lint trap after each load will greatly reduce the need to check the duct for blockage/build-up. It also serves as an indicator of when you do need to check it, when the lint trap is completely full after two consecutive loads of laundry (with it being cleaned between each load).
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 14:20

I know you already have this problem and are asking about clearing it up. However, to prevent this from happening in the future, consider installing one of these lint traps near the exit of your dryer:

Picture of lint trap

I have one and it seems to work very well. You'll need to pop open the top and clean out the lint every few weeks depending on how much drying you do.

  • That thing is so boxy it looks like it'll trap a huge amount of lint! Is it just making work for itself? Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 16:00
  • @AlexFeinman The point is to allow an easy access point where lint will get trapped, like a drain or pipe basin. It's much trickier to clean a winding, ridged vent duct than it is to clean a box with a lid you can easily remove. So yes, it is designed to trap as much lint as possible, so said lint doesn't make it into the duct.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 14:21

I have used the tool made for dryer vents, my vent goes under my house and across the width of this room. It does take a power drill, and you can buy an extra 12 feet to add to the 12 feet that comes with the kit I found this product in the dryer appliance sections. I has to repeat the process several times actually until it came out clean .


The chimney service company I had install a liner in my chimney also did dryer vent cleaning. I believe some air duct cleaning companies also do dryer vent cleaning as well.


If it doesn't bend, then you could use a chimney brush, which is essentially a long stick with a wire brush on the end.

Chimney Brush


I know it's a funny answer but I have used a brick with holes in it and a rope tied to it to get the clog out a then used the brushes that was recommended.

Only of course if it is a straight vent from attic.


If the duct is extremely clogged, you will need a professional. The tools for consumers do not have the strength to push through clogs. If the brush gets stuck which is very possible because of joints that are not flush or screws that are not permitted, you will need to hire someone to do an extra job.

  • 1
    Some people may but there are surely people who can unsrew duct joints and clean them. Sure there are tools that make it easier but this isn't beyond DIY.
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 18:34

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