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How To Clean Your Washers Lint Trap?

By:  Shaun Kaushal     |     Last Updated: April 30th, 2020

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"Wait! Washers Have Lint Traps?"

Something that many people do not seem to realize is that washers, like dryers, also have lint traps.


You know that you have to clean out the dryer’s lint trap—it is a fire hazard if you do not, but oftentimes, people completely forget that the washer’s own lint trap should be cleaned regularly as well.


When you have a buildup of lint in your washer, you can run into all sorts of problems.


The drains can clog when lint does not get properly trapped the way that it should be. The clothing that you do wash may end up covered in lint that you cannot get cleaned off.


Your washer may even begin to stink!


This can be caused by many different issues that, with a bit of knowledge about what the problem is, can be entirely avoided.

Reasons For A Lint Trap Clogging Up

Reason #1: The Washer Does Not Get Cleaned Enough

Perhaps the most common reason that these lint traps get clogged up is simply because people do not realize that they are there.


It is typically out of sight, and therefore, out of mind, but it is there.


It is a layer of mesh that exists just inside of it. With top-loading machines, you can usually find it by feel—you use your fingers to look for it, checking the top of the tub.


You can typically either just manually remove the lint, or you can keep looking to find the hook that keeps it there.


Other times, it can be left inside of the agitator, or even in the drain hose. Because it can be so difficult to figure out where it is in your system, many people find that they do not even bother.


They don’t even think about cleaning it out—after all, if it were important, it would be easily accessible, right?


Reason #2: Pockets Are Not Being Cleaned Out

Another common problem that can happen is that people do not clean out their pockets.


When you run a jacket with a pack of paper or something else fibrous within it, it will naturally disintegrate and spread throughout the water.


This will then be picked up by the lint trap to prevent it from clogging up the holes.


Over time, however, you begin to find that the system gets worse and worse. The more lint that gets washed through the clothes, and the more lint that needs to be removed, the more likely it is that you are going to suffer from problems.


You are likely to start finding lint and lint residue within your clothing, even when it is not a problem normally. You may find that your clothes come out with a strange smell to them.


No matter what happens, however, you can fix the problem easily enough.

How To Clean Your Lint Trap?

Repair #1: Thorough Cleaning Of The Lint Trap 

You will want to make sure that, regularly, you give your lint trap a thorough cleaning, no matter where in your system that it is located.


Wherever it is, it is most likely filthy, especially if you are only just now learning that you need to clean it in the first place.


Your lint trap should be cleaned regularly—when you have one that is within the washer itself or the agitator, it is recommended that you clean it out every three months or so. 


When it is connected to the drainage pipe, however, you need to be more mindful and clean it out every few weeks to make sure that it does not get plugged up.


If it gets plugged up or your drainage pipe cannot release water, you can run into problems such as the system not draining properly or water getting stuck in your system and potentially molding. 


To clean your lint collector, you will want to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Identify where the lint trap is and remove it if you can. If you can remove it, make sure that you take it out and leave it in a sink filled with hot water for at least 10 minutes. If you cannot remove your lint trap, then you will need to use a brush or a cloth to gently remove the link that is stuck to it to the best of your ability. 
  • Step 2: After soaking the lint trap, give it a gentle scrub to make sure that you remove all debris from it.
  • Step 3: Let it dry thoroughly before putting it back in your system. 
  • Step 4: Repeat this maintenance regularly—at least every three months. 

If you keep up with the maintenance, you should find that keeping everything functioning becomes easy.


This should be just as routine for you as you would consider regularly cleaning out the lint traps in the dryer, and over time, you will find that your clothes will seem cleaner and your washer will not get that funky wet washer smell.


Repair #2: Replacing The Heating Element 

Some people either do not like where their lint trap is, or they find that they do not have one at all. When this happens, the lint may be able to go in and clog up the system, and that can be a major problem that will need to be avoided.


If you do not have any other options, one way that you can fix the problem is through creating your own lint trap.


When you create your own lint trap, you are going to be either buying a filter that is designed to connect to your drainage hose, or you can make your own. 


Making your own lint trap is incredibly easy—all you need is fiberglass screen.


The screen will need to be cut down to size, usually roughly 4-inches (though you will want to verify this in your own system), and you will simply attach the fiberglass over the pipe.


When you do this, you will need to clamp it together. From there, all you have to do is make sure that you clean out the filter at least twice a month to ensure that it does not clog up!

Which Lint Trap Parts Do You Need?

Shaun Kaushal / General Manager & Blogger

Shaun Kaushal, a home service blogger with experience and knowledge in appliances, home renovation, and home design. With a passion for educating homeowners on the industry, Shaun decided to create a blog dedicated to teaching homeowners appliance repair tips, strategies and ways they can save more money. 

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