How to Clean Dryer Vents on the Roof

How to Clean Dryer Vents on the Roof

In this D.I.Y. I will show you how to clean dryer vents on the roof. One of the oldest styles of architecture involved installing dryer vents on the roofs. While it looked compact from a structural point of view, there were some major challenges with this design – the most important of them being accessing and cleaning these vents. Do you do a quick cleaning of these vents from the inside, because you don’t have the resources to go up the ladder?

At times, the length of the duct may be too long and hard to access for you.  If these reasons stop you from getting on the roof and cleaning your dryer vents, you are in for some major problems, because your dryer vents can get clogged due to the accumulation of lint and other debris there.

When should you clean your dryer vents on roofs?

If you have a dryer vent installed on your roof, this question may have occurred to you more than once. Well, the answer to this question depends on many factors. Do your clothes take longer than usual to dry? Do you have to run your clothes for more than one cycle to get them cleaned thoroughly? Does your dryer become very hot, every time you run it? If you have answered “yes” to one or all of these questions, it means it is time to clean the dryer vent placed on your roof.

What supplies do you need to clean dryer vents on the roof?

  • Ladder
  • Safety gear (helmet, harness, boots, glasses and more)
  • Industrial Vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Vent Brush or Cleaning Brush
  • Lint Cleaning Kit


  • If you have slate or tile roofs, ensure you take the help of professionals to clean dryer vents on roofs. You can easily slip on these materials, and it may lead to serious accidents if you are not careful.
  • Always wear protective gear when climbing on the ladders to get to the roof. Gloves, safety harnesses, helmets, etc. are some essentials that you have to wear when you want to clean dryer vents on roofs.
  • The first step to cleaning the dryer vent is investing in an industrial vacuum cleaner. If you don’t have this, you have to get it on rent, or borrow it from someone.
  • Using a screwdriver, slowly remove the clamps that connect the dryer to the vent.
  • Insert the industrial vacuum directly into the vent to clean it thoroughly.
  • Open the shingles and any other screws that obstruct the placement of the vent on the roofs.
  • To clean the vent, you have to first get rid of the secured guard that covers it. Sometimes, you can just remove this cover with your hands, but sometimes it is tightly secured with nails. Using a cat’s paw pry bar and a hammer, you have to loosen these nails and get to the vent directly. Keep the nails safe, as you will need them to put back the cover safely.
  • Use an exclusive vent-cleaning brush or a vacuum cleaner with appropriate attachments to clean the lint and other debris accumulated in the dryer. Use a flexible brush, so that you can get to the corners of the vent and clean the lint gathered in the hard-to-access areas.
  • Put back the guard over the vent carefully. If pigeons and mice are common visitors to your roof, you have to install an appropriate cover, after taking help from a professional.

Additional tips and advice

  • Maintenance is key – Cleaning the dryer vents after they get clogged with lint, birds’ nests and debris, especially when they are located on the roofs, can be a little challenging. This is why it is important to maintain them in such a way that these incidents can be avoided.
  • Cleaning the lint trap daily is a very important maintenance step that you have to do to prevent big issues. It would be good to clean the lint grate before drying any laundry. When small lint particles are removed every day, you don’t have to get on the roofs to clean your dryer vents regularly.
  • You have to limit the lint accumulation in the dryer vent as much as possible. This can be done when you use only one dryer sheet at a time. Dryer sheets produce chemicals, which are eventually released into the dryer vent. The more sheets you use, the more chemicals get produced and clog the vents.
  • When drying materials like pillows, carpets, bed sheets, blankets, duvets and the like, it is always a best practice to air-dry them. Never put them into the dryer, as these fabrics can result in the production of a lot of lint.
  • The positioning and the angle of the ladder are very important when you want to get on the roof to clean your dryer vent. The ladder should always be kept at 3 feet taller than the roof, so that landing on the roof from the ladder becomes easy and safe.
  • Always ask for help when using a ladder. It would be a good idea to get someone to watch the ladder as you climb on the roof. This person should be responsible for keeping the ladder stable, and free from disturbances from children and pets.
  • Clogged dryer vents are potential fire hazards. So, if you have the slightest doubt or fear of getting on the roof to clean them, you should seek professional help. It is always best to let the experts do their job efficiently, quickly and safely.
  • Always cut off the electricity to the dryer vent as the first step, before proceeding to start the task.
  • Click a picture of the caulk or the guard that covers the vent before removing it. This will give you a good idea of the positioning of the nails, when you want to reinstall the cover after cleaning the vent.
  • For small families (of 2 or 3 people), it is enough to clean the dryer vents on roofs once a year, provided you follow all the maintenance steps that we have explained here. If there are many people in your home, you have to get your dryer vents cleaned once every 3 or 6 months.




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