How To Get Rid of Animal in Dryer Vent In 6 Easy Steps

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If you recently found a bird or squirrel nesting in your warm, comfy dryer vent, you’re probably uncertain of what to do. You probably don’t want to kill it – that’s not the humane thing to do. But how do you get rid of it? Do you need professional help? 

How can you avoid surprises like this in the first place?

This article will teach you how to get rid of animals in dryer vents safely and humanely. We will also discuss the potential damage these animals can cause and include some effective tips for keeping them out of your vent for good.

A dryer vent with a nest.

What Are the Signs that Indicate an Animal in My Dryer Vent? 

Mice and birds are the most common pests you’ll find because they’re small enough to fit in the vent. Their nests can easily cause a blockage. 

Chipmunks on a roof.

But other creatures can find their way in, including squirrels, chipmunks, rats, snakes, bats, baby raccoons, and possums.

You can usually tell by noise and smell that there’s an animal in your dryer vent. If you hear fluttering wings, birds chirping or tweeting, or scuttering and thumping sounds, your dryer vent could have an animal living in it. Larger animals tend to make scratching or scraping sounds as they try to make their way through the duct opening. 

These animals also leave droppings and urine behind, which can cause your dryer to smell terrible. If they get trapped inside the vent and die, they can also leave an awful smell in your home.

Check the dryer vent exhaust outside your house. If you see excess leaves, branches, or other items that look like a nest, you may have an animal living there.

Check for scratches, chew marks, holes, or displaced vent covers outside, as these are also indicators that an animal could be attempting to enter or exit the dryer. 

If you see any sign that there could be an animal in your dryer vent, stop using the dryer immediately. You need to take the next steps to remove the animal from the dryer vent.  

How To Get Rid of Animal in Dryer Vent

Getting rid of animals from a dryer vent involves a series of steps designed to remove the animal safely and humanely and prevent future occurrences. This situation requires careful handling to ensure the safety of both the homeowner and the animal. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to address this issue:


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Step 1. Turn off and Unplug the Dryer
Ensure your safety and the animal’s by turning off the dryer and unplugging it from the power source. This prevents the dryer from accidentally turning on during the removal process.

Step 2. Wear Protective Gear
To protect yourself from potential bites, scratches, and exposure to allergens:

  • Wear thick gloves.
  • Put on a safety mask to cover your mouth and nose.
  • Use goggles to protect your eyes from droppings, debris, and other particles.

Step 3. Identify the Animal
Before taking any action, carefully check to identify the type of animal in your dryer vent and determine if it is alive or dead.

Animal in dryer vent
  • Listen for unusual sounds: Pay attention to any scratching, scurrying, or squeaking noises coming from your dryer vent. These sounds are often a clear indication that an animal has taken up residence.
  • Check for signs of damage: Inspect the exterior of your dryer vent for any signs of damage, such as chewed or loose vent covers, animal droppings, or nesting materials. These can be telltale signs of wildlife intrusion.
  • Observe animal activity: Keep a watchful eye on your dryer vent area to see if you spot any animals entering or exiting. This can help you identify the type of wildlife involved, such as birds, squirrels, or raccoons.

Step 4. Use the Right Tools
Depending on the animal, you might need special tools for safe removal. Utilize a long, flexible broomstick or a fishing rod to gently guide the animal towards the vent exit. Avoid using sharp objects to prevent harming the animal.

Step 5: Slowly and Carefully Remove the Animal
Using the flashlight, cautiously inspect the dryer vent to locate the animal and determine its position within the vent system. Gently and slowly coax the animal out of the vent, guiding it into a container. It’s important to be patient and avoid forcefully pulling or pushing the animal, as this can injure the animal.

If you fail to remove the animal from the dryer vent, it’s best to get professional services to help you. The technicians are equipped with the skills and tools required to do the job. They can also perform dryer vent cleaning and check the dryer for damage. If there is any, they can fix it. 

Step 6: Safely Release the Animal
After successfully removing the animal from the dryer vent, find an appropriate location outside your home to release it. Ensure the area is safe and away from any potential hazards or predators. Open the container and allow the animal to exit at its own pace.

How Do I Keep Animals Out of My Dryer Vent? 

Here are some suggestions for keeping animals out of your dryer vent. These are simple steps that will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

1. Install a Vent Cover

A dryer vent cover.

A vent cover is a mesh or cage-like cover that allows air to escape out of the vent while keeping animals out. There are different types on the market: indoor and outdoor types, plastic, metal, mesh, etc. 

If you opt for a mesh screen to cover the vent, pick one with openings less than 0.025 inches. This is small enough that even the tiniest rodents won’t be able to go through it.

Remember that the vent cover is more than just a simple cover. It’ll save you hours of work caused by animals being trapped in your vent. To make the most informed decision on which cover to choose, consult a pest control professional. 

2. Use Animal Deterrents

Dryer sheets and peppermint oil.

When using animal deterrents, go for humane deterrent options. These don’t kill the animals, and you don’t have to worry about foul smells or cleaning up carcasses later.

One simple deterrent is the dryer sheet. Use this in each load of laundry, and it’ll drive mice away since they don’t like the scent or dryer sheets. 

Another smell they don’t like is peppermint oil. Soak a cotton ball with peppermint and place it around your laundry room and the area behind the dryer.  

Don’t ever use fire or harmful chemicals to repel animals. These are harmful to the animals and might only cause more fire hazards in your dryer vent.

3. Inspect Regularly

Check your vent outside regularly, making sure there are no animals inhabiting it. You also need to check for small openings, gaps, or cracks, making sure they are sealed using caulk or weatherstripping.

Keep your dryer vent free from debris such as lint, leaves, and twigs. These are attractive to animals and might invite them to your vent. You also want to remove all access to water or food sources. 

Animals that have a way of entering your home, whether it’s through the garage, chimney, or attic, can venture through the wall and end up in your dryer vent.


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What Potential Risks or Damage Can an Animal in the Dryer Vent Cause? 

The dryer vent can become a wonderful habitat for small animals because it’s warm and sheltered. In fact, it’s one of the most popular places they hide because it’s just big enough for them to fit comfortably, and they get plenty of heat to keep them toasty warm, especially during the winter months. 

But those animals can be a nuisance and cause potential damage to your home. Homeowners and wildlife pests can’t live in harmony when the critter makes a home in the dryer vent! Here’s why. 

Fire Hazards

Animals can clog the dryer vent tube, resulting in overheating and a potential fire. The dry materials they use for creating nests could get sucked into the dryer, which increases the risk of a fire. Once you find out there’s an animal in your vent, act on it immediately to avoid the dangers of intense heat and flames. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The dryer produces carbon monoxide when fuel does not burn completely during the drying process. A clear vent allows carbon monoxide to exit your home without a problem. However, if there is wildlife blocking the vent, it forces carbon monoxide to flow back into your home, impacting your indoor air quality.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Reduced Dryer Efficiency

A critter blocking the vent can also result in your dryer not working as efficiently. You might notice your clothes don’t dry as quickly, or you have to set the dryer at a higher temperature to dry your clothes. If this happens, it’s worth checking the dryer vent to see if animals or debris are blocking it.

Final words

Address animal intrusion immediately to avoid significant safety issues in your home. If you need help handling it on your own, call an animal removal services company. They have all the tools and information you need to get the animal out of your vent and keep it away for good.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.