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How Do You Clean a Dryer Vent That Goes to the Roof

How do you clean a dryer vent that goes to the roof

Depending on the size of your family or how fast they go through clothes, you may be running your washing machine and dryer frequently.  In fact, this frequent use can cause the lint to build up more in the dryer.

Some dryers have a vent that exits out through an external wall while others exit through the roof.  There are different ways to clean each of these so how do you clean a dryer vent that goes to the roof?

It is a multi-step process to clean a dryer vent that goes to the roof.  It may be difficult to do it yourself so you may need to call in a professional for assistance.  However, you can take a look at the steps below to see if it is something you can do on your own.


Many people think that cleaning the lint out of the filter screen every time they dry clothes is maintaining the appliance.  Unfortunately, they don’t realize there is more to it than that.

Lint can build in the ductwork or hoses and can cause the airflow to clog. This will require the dryer to run longer which in turn will increase your electric bill.  Additionally, this will also cause the dryer to wear out faster and causing you more money for repair or replacement.  

This, in turn, can also be a fire hazard that you don’t want to deal within your home. Safety is important.

Signs the dryer vent on the roof needs maintenance

Signs the Dryer Vent on the Roof Needs Maintenance

  • Cleaning the dryer vent should be on your list of “to-do’s” at least once a year. However, if you have a lot of animal hair or other particles in the dryer, it may need to be more often.
  • When the cycle begins to take longer to dry.
  • The dryer begins to get very warm, a hotter temperature than normal.

Here is a good video about roof dryer vents.

A DIY on How to Clean a Dryer Vent That Goes to the Roof

  1. Turn the dryer on.  This will help with the air moving the lint through and out the vent.
  2. Grab a plastic garbage bag to bring to the roof with you to put the lint in.  This way you don’t have to put the lint that you clean out in the gutters.
  3. Use a ladder and safely climb to the roof where the vent is located
  4. Inside the vent is a small trap door and a screen.  This is there to keep the birds and other animals out and you can remove this.
  5. Dryer Vent Screen – If you have one, it is best to remove the screen and only have a flap for the gooseneck. A screen does not allow lint to exit and will clog. A flap will open when air blows out.
  6. Use a coat hanger that you have unraveled and stick it in the vent.  This will allow you to loosen up the clog of lint.


It is fairly easy to do and doesn’t cost you anything.


You are loosening up the clog of lint but may not be getting all of it out.

Other Options to Clean a Dryer Vent That Goes to the Roof

Here is another way to clean the vent to the roof.

  1. First, pull the dryer away from the wall
  2. Then, turn off the electricity to that room
  3. Remove the vent tube from the dryer and the wall
  4. Vacuum the inside of the dryer and the inside of the tube
  5. Using a leaf blower, stick it in the hole in the wall
  6. Wrap a towel around the hole and the leaf blower to keep lint from coming back into the home
  7. Turn the leaf blower on and run it for about 40 seconds
  8. Have someone with you that can go outside and make sure the lint is coming out of the vent.  If you don’t have anyone, turn off the leaf blower and go outside.  You should be able to see lint all over the roof and ground.
  9. When you are done, put the dryer vent hose back together
  10. Then, turn the electricity back on
  11. Finally, plug in the dryer and move it back against the wall.


  1. You are not climbing on a roof
  2. You are in the safety of your home and may be able to do this on your own or with some help


  1. The lint is coming out of the vent and all over the roof and property
  2. The lint may not come all the way out depending on your leaf blower

Another Idea for Cleaning the Dryer Vent That Goes to the Roof

In addition to the ways listed above to clean the dryer vent on the roof, you can also use a brush . When choosing a brush, know how long the brush is and the distance to your roof. Be careful not to push the brush out too hard as this can push the brush through the dryer vent gooseneck which may cause it to be stuck.

Some of these brushes can attach to a drill to use or it may not be needed. Other uses for the brush include vents that are in an exterior wall. Check out this video on how to use the brush.


  1. You are getting the lint out efficiently and effectively
  2. Fairly easy to use


  1. The brush can get stuck

If you decide this is not something you want to tackle, contact a professional so they can do it for you.

Why This Type of Vent Does Not Work Well

  1. First of all, the vent from the dryer is trying to push the lint up and out of the roof.
  2. It is a long way to travel out of the walls and once it does get out, it makes a mess on the roof, as shown in the video above.
  3. The vent is for use in bathrooms and other smaller areas of the house to let the air out, not lint.  Thus, the lint gets clogged in the vent.

When To Call a Professional

  1. Cleaning the roof vent is not something you are comfortable doing.  Safety is a priority.
  2. Second, if you have a slate or tile roof, call a professional.  This is too dangerous for the average person to maintain.
  3. Checking the roof every 2-3 years along with the ducts is a good idea.
  4. If you have a furnace in your home, ask the company to check the roof vent when they check the furnace.
Homeowner maintenance of dryer vent on the roof
Clean the lint out of the filter before each drying cycle

Homeowner Maintenance of Dryer Vent on the Roof

  1. Clean the lint filter every time before running the dryer.  Next, throw the lint away so it does not start a fire as this is the leading cause of clothes dryer fires.
  2. Vacuum around the dryer to keep lint and other particles out of the dryer vents and from starting fires
  3. Use one dryer sheet at a time as they can release chemicals into the dryer
  4. Lastly, hang up bed sheets and pillowcases to dry so they don’t produce more lint that becomes stuck in the ductwork


This homeowner maintenance is often forgotten about but important to do.  Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, please contact a professional.  We are here at Rivertown to answer questions for you so please leave us a note below!  


The Rivertown Team

Author The Rivertown Team

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