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Consumer Reports tests product promising to remove lint from clothes dryers

Friday, March 22, 2013

Each year, thousands of homes catch on fire because of clothes dryers and a preventable problem with them. So what's causing them and how can you keep your home safe?

One house was destroyed by a fire that started in the dryer vent. And another home was destroyed by a fire that started in a clothes dryer. Fire officials say lint had built up in the dryer's ducts and caught fire.

To prevent tragedies like these from happening in your home, it's essential to clean the lint from your dryer's ducts and lint trap.

Consumer Reports tested a new infomercial product called the Lint Lizard that promises to help. The Lint Lizard attaches to your vacuum cleaner. You thread the tube through the opening of a dryer's lint trap.

Bernie Deitrick with Consumer Reports checked to see how much lint it could remove from the dryer.

"The Lint Lizard worked really well. It removed more lint than any other technique that we tried," Deitrick said.

But one drawback is the Lint Lizard may not fit easily into very narrow dryer openings. And its sharp tip could damage flexible foil or plastic ductwork.

However, Consumer Reports doesn't recommend these kinds of ducts anyway.

"It can sag like this, collect lint and cause problems with venting your dryer," Deitrick said.

Consumer Reports says metal ducts are far better -- either flexible or solid. You want to clean those at least once a year. And clean your lint trap every time you use the dryer. Taking these precautions can help prevent a tragedy.

The Lint Lizard costs $10.99, plus shipping and handling at the company's website. But you can get it for less at major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon.
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