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Good appliance maintenance is as important as picking out a quality product. You would never buy a car and stop filling it with gas or oil and expect it to continue working. The same is true with regards to the common household dryer. Even though common household drying units are made tougher and meet higher standards every year, your dryer still needs to be maintained and cared for on a regular basis.

The Outside
The majority of household dryers are painted with synthetic enamel. Despite its durable appearance, enamel paint can easily be chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged by products you use while performing daily laundry tasks. Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when it comes to caring for the outside of your electric dryer:

1. Never use your dryer as a work area. Liquid fabric softeners and bleach can ruin the finish and cause extensive, premature rusting. If you need the dryer top as extra workspace, purchase a plastic dryer cover, available in most hardware stores.

2. Never put unneeded body weight on top of your dryer. Your household dryer has been carefully leveled for optimum drying and safety reasons. Excessive weight will cause your dryer to become unbalanced.

3. Never clean the outside of your dryer with bleach. Bleach is much too powerful a chemical to use on simple enamel paint. Use water and mild soapy water (if necessary) to wash the outside of the dryer, rinse and then dry.

Daily/Weekly Maintenance
These quick jobs should be performed immediately after using the dryer:

1. Clean out the lint trap after each load. (This means between each load, if you're doing more than one.) Use your fingers to reach inside the lint carrier and remove any debris found. The dryer sensor can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol at this time, as well.

2. Wipe out the inside of the dryer. Lint, dirt and pet hair can and will accumulate inside the dryer. Removing it frequently with a damp rag will add to the life of your appliance.

Once a Year Jobs

1. Check the balance on your dryer. If your dryer is not level, it will cause components to age prematurely. Apply a small about of weight to the top of your dryer. Does it move? Does it appear unbalanced? If so, relevel the dryer and then, turn it on. While the dryer is operating, it should not move or shake in any way.

2. Scrub the lint trap. Remove the lint trap from its carrier and scrub with a soft bristle brush in soapy water. Chemical fabric softeners often clog the small holes in lint traps.

3. Unhook your vent pipe and examine it. If it is uncleanable, purchase a replacement. Otherwise, run water through both ends of the tubing and allow it to thoroughly dry before replacing. If necessary, you can insert the hose of a vacuum cleaner into the dryer vent to help break loose any stray or balled up lint and debris.

4. Check all the venting coming from the back of your dryer. Because the back of your dryer often sits firmly against the wall, moisture, dirt and lint have the tendency to accumulate in this area. Pull the dryer out from the wall and wipe the area with a damp rag. Also, remove any additional venting from the back of the dryer and clean.

Dryer Safety
Dryer temperatures can burn, start fires and cause electrical problems within your living space. Remember these important safety guidelines:

1. Never plug your dryer into a non-polarized, ungrounded plug. Dryers require much more voltage than what a regular outlet supplies.

2. Never use an extension cord to attach your dryer to an outlet.

3. Never use white duct tape or tubing to vent your dryer inside the house. Standards and regulations have changed. You are now to only use heavy aluminum tubing and provide an outside venting space for each unit.