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Monday, September 18, 2023

Not having the right tools can make chores so much harder

I needed to clean the dryer lint chute this morning. Loads seemed to be taking longer to dry. And I know it can be a fire hazard to have a build-up of lint in the chute. We clean the screen with each load, but lint falls down beneath the screen. Speaking as a non-contortionist, that fallen lint can't be easily seen.

Anyway, I need to buy the right tool to make this job easier for me. But for today, the "tools" I had to work with were a wire coat hanger, lots of duct tape, a cardboard pasta box, and the vacuum cleaner. I improvised an extension for the vacuum hose with the pasta box and some of the duct tape. And I made one coat hanger/duct tape attracting tool after another to pick up loose lint and dust that the vacuum attachment couldn't reach. I did get the job done, but it took me about an hour and a half and lots of frustration.

Now on the flip side, having a good tool will make a job go so much more smoothly. After about an hour I grabbed a good flashlight so I could see down the chute and identify the remaining pile of lint/dust that was within my primitive tool reach.

An interesting thing -- we had been thinking the element on our 28 year old dryer was wearing/burning out, as loads were taking longer to dry. After cleaning the chute today, I put a load of sheets into the dryer, went to heat up a bowl of soup for my lunch, took my lunch break (which is only long enough to eat a bowl of soup), and came back to the kitchen to wash my bowl. Was I ever surprised when I couldn't hear the dryer operating! My load of sheets finished drying in about 3/4 of the more recent dry time.

I will be ordering the proper tool this very week. I could have used that hour of work time on a different project. Sometimes being cheap costs more in other areas.

Because a photo of my dryer is not terribly interesting, I also thought I'd show you one of my other projects from today -- a plum coffee cake for my family. I'm told it is delicious (contains milk, so I'm abstaining).


  1. I remember the first time we figured out that too much lint in our dryer vent was slowing the drying time with our dryer. It was a like a miracle after we cleaned it. The surprise was that it was that clogged, but I guess it doesn't take much. And the right tool can make all of the difference. That's why professionals can get jobs done so quickly sometimes - because they have the right tools. BTW, the plum cake is very pretty.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It did feel like a mini miracle to have the dryer function so well after cleaning the lint chute. Although it doesn't take much lint to clog things up, ours was pretty bad. I'm now looking forward to doing more laundry this week. Now that's a miracle (that I am wanting to do more laundry).

  2. I was able to get this Quickie refrigerator brush on Buy Nothing. I have been using it on the dryer vent.

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thank you for that link! The refrigerator brush looks like it could work in a few different places. I'll be ordering something this week before I lose my incentive to do so.

  3. The plum cake looks delicious!

    It's so true that sometimes it's worth the money to buy the right tools! I have only painted a couple of pieces of furniture, so I hand-sanded them. If I did that task frequently, I'd invest in a power sander!

    1. Hi Kris,
      a sander is a great example of a good tool to have for someone who does a lot of refinishing. For our first few furniture pieces, we sanded by hand. Then it just turned out that we were on the receiving end of a lot of hand-me-down furniture and a sander made sense for us.

  4. My dryer has a mesh screen underneath the top removable part so I can scoop out the lint but I'm guessing you somehow get under the mesh. My question is how do you get under the mesh?
    OK, I went to look at found two screws that would allow me take the mesh out and underneath was a lot of fine lint that I could get my vacuum hose all the way down. There wasn't much there but I vacuumed it out. I remember not too long ago my husband cleaned the big hose that discharges outside and there wasn't much in there either.
    I think your suggestions taught me something today! I hope I got as far as the brush you are using would get me!
    And, the plum cake looks so good and I would love a piece with some tea this afternoon!

    1. Hi Alice,
      Hurray for cleaning out your lint trap area! Now I'll have to check if there is any sort of panel that could come off so my vacuum nozzle could fit in that space. As it was, the thin part of the vacuum attachment was on the short side.
      I wish I could send you a square of the plum cake!


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