With your hectic schedule, the last thing you need is a dryer that doesn't dry your clothes. If the clothes get hot, then the heating element in the dryer is working, but the moisture is still stuck in your jeans and shirts rather than being pulled away. A blocked dryer vent is the cause. Similar to a hot, humid summer day, your dryer just stays wet no matter how high the temperature rises.
Clothes dryers use two methods to remove the moisture from clothes: heat and airflow. Heat is applied by a heating element that increases the temperature of the air which also increases the air's capacity for carrying moisture. The hotter the air the more moisture it can hold, but the air has to flow away from the clothes for them to dry. Air flows through and around the clothes as they tumble in the dryer and is exhausted from the dryer into the dryer vent system.
Laundry on a cold day causes clouds of clean-smelling vapour to rise from the vents in the neighbourhood. You can see the moisture being expelled from the dryers as it condenses upon hitting the cold air, like moist breath. Proper venting of a dryer gives the moisture a place to go away from the clothes so the clothes can dry. No matter how much heat you apply, if the moisture has nowhere to escape, the clothes won't dry.
DIY Vent Cleaning
Start cleaning the venting system by cleaning the lint trap of your dryer. Turn on the dryer and head outside. Look for the dryer exhaust vent and put your hand in front of it. If you don't feel any airflow, there's a clog preventing your dryer from exhausting. Clean any visible lint from the vent and work the louvres so they move freely and don't stick open or closed. Remove the vent cover. Unbend a metal hanger but keep the hook in place at the end. Feed the hook into the dryer vent then pull it out. Collect any lint or debris that comes out. Repeat until you can't remove any more. Attach a shop vacuum to the vent hole and turn it on to suck out any remaining lint. Check for airflow from the still-running dryer. If you feel a warm breeze, you've solved the problem, but if you don't you'll need to call in the professionals.
Cleaning Kits and Services
Dryer vent cleaning services have the tools to clean bending and winding dryer vents as well as replacing broken or damage vent covers, tubing and connections. You can find dryer vent cleaning kits at your local hardware store if you want to tackle the job yourself. The kits will include brushes, rods and flexible attachments to allow you to dig farther into the recesses of your dryer ventilation system.