Dryer Repair – How to Fix a Smelly Dryer

Dryer Repair - Dryer Smells - It Is Fixed Appliance Repair

Dryer Repair Troubleshooting Guide

When you wash your clothes you expect them to come out clean and smelling nice. Unfortunately, if your dryer smells bad it can bake the stink into your clothes as it dries, forcing you to rewash your laundry. We understand if you’d rather not spend your free time washing clothes and hanging them to dry. Follow this dryer repair troubleshooting guide for tips on how to eliminate unusual odors in your dryer. If you are unable to resolve the issue or need more help, our It Is Fixed dryer repair technicians are available seven days a week in Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta area. Call us, or book online today.

Dryer Smells Musty

If your dryer smells musty, like unwashed clothes, the cause is almost always lint from laundry dried previously. For day to day dryer maintenance, swiping the fuzzy residue out of lint trap is enough. Sometimes, though, materials can build up and clog your dryer’s exhaust system and more steps are necessary.

Completely clean your lint trap. Pull the lint screen from your dryer. Remove visible lint. Thoroughly wash the trap in warm, soapy water, making sure the individual cells of the mesh are clear. Gently tap the trap on the side of your sink to remove excess water. Allow the lint trap to dry completely before returning it to your dryer.

Remove lint inside your dryer. While the lint trap is drying, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean the area inside the lint screen cavity.

Clean the vent hose.  The vent hose is a flexible silver tube that connects from the back of your dryer to a port on the wall. Disconnect the dryer vent hose from both the wall and dryer. Check inside the hose for lint or foreign objects. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean inside the tube. If there is heavy buildup inside the hose, replace it. The hose is an inexpensive part that can be easily purchased at hardware stores.

If you can access the external dryer vent (where the hot air from the dryer vents outside your home), make sure the duct is not blocked. If there are flaps covering the vent, ensure that they move freely. Use a flashlight to inspect inside the duct. If the duct is clogged with lint, you may be able to clean it with a duct cleaning brush. Heavy buildup will require a professional duct cleaning service.

Dryer Smells like Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew smells are caused by moisture. If clothes were left in the washing machine too long before drying, they will often begin to mildew. Drying the clothes will not remove the mildew smell and the scent may transfer to the dryer drum.

Also, If your clothes are not getting dry, there may be moisture buildup inside your dryer causing the sour smell. If your dryer is getting hot, but not drying your clothes, refer to the following dryer repair support page for information on how to resolve the issue. Your dryer should be functioning normally before you attempt to address the mildew smell, or you may have to repeat steps to resolve the issue.

Check for leaks. Inspect the area around, underneath, and behind your dryer. Puddles of water or signs of mold may mean that your washing machine is leaking. The leak will need to be repaired or the mold and mildew smell will come back. If you need assistance, It Is Fixed Appliance Repair is available seven days a week to repair washing machine leaks or other washing machine issues.

Clean the lint screen. Remove the lint screen from your dryer and rub away any lint with a dry cloth. If the lint screen smells of mildew, wash it in warm, soapy water. Allow it to air dry before returning it to your dryer.

Clean inside the dryer drum. Even though you can safely put wet clothes in your dryer, it is not a good idea to spray cleaner directly inside the washing machine drum. Many commercial cleaners leave a residue, which may cause a burning smell on your next cycle. Instead, clean the inside of your dryer with a mixture of ¾ cups bleach to one-gallon warm water. Use gloves when cleaning with bleach.

Dampen a cloth or towel with the bleach/water solution and wipe all visible surfaces inside your dryer.

Warning: Do not mix bleach with hot water or with any other cleaning chemicals like ammonia as this can cause toxic vapors that are dangerous to inhale.

After cleaning, leave the dryer door open for at least thirty minutes to dry. Once the inside is dry,  dampen several old towels and place them in the dryer. Run a full drying cycle on high heat.

Note: After drying, the old towels may need to be rewashed.

Dryer Smells Like Something is Burning

If you smell something burning when you are using your dryer, discontinue use immediately. Nearly 3000 house fires are caused by dryers every year. Burning smells should always be taken seriously.

If your dryer is burning your clothes, please refer to our dryer repair troubleshooting guide.

If your clothes aren’t burnt, but you still smell something burning:

Inspect the lint screen. You should clean the lint screen every time you use your dryer, however, the lint screen may not capture all the lint.  Inspect the lint screen cavity. If you find buildup, clean inside with the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If the buildup is severe, you may need to remove the dryer shell and clean the internal components. It is Fixed dryer repair technicians are happy to assist if needed and we may be able to come out on the same day* you call.  Contact us today for an appointment.

Inspect the dryer vent connections.  For safety, only use metal in your dryer vent system. Plastic or vinyl parts cannot handle dryer heat output. Replace any non-metal parts with the highest quality metal replacements you can afford.

Inspect the dryer vent hose. The position is important with dryer vents. If the dryer vent hose is bent, folded, or compressed it can cause lint buildup and result in improper airflow. If there is a lot of lint buildup inside the hose, replace the hose. Position the hose so that it is not kinked, bent sharply, or compressed. Your dryer should have at four to six inches clearance from the back of the dryer to the wall.

Inspect the external dryer duct.  Lint buildup inside the duct that vents heat from your dryer to the outside of your home can result in overheating and fires. Using a flashlight, check for buildup or clogs from both the inside and outside ports. If you see a clog, you may be able to clean it using a specialized duct cleaning tool, but if you smell burning, we recommend contacting a professional service to clean the duct to ensure it is safe to use.

Inspect the electrical cord and outlet. If there is an electrical short, it may cause a burning rubber smell. You may notice blackened or scorch marks on the outlet or electrical cord. If you see signs of a short, do not attempt a repair. Disconnect power to the outlet via the circuit breaker box, and contact a professional appliance repair service like It Is Fixed.

Inspect the dryer components. If the high-temperature safety switch on your dryer has failed, your dryer may be overheating. Signs of overheating include burned clothes, melted gaskets, or scorch marks. If this is the issue, It Is Fixed Appliance Repair may still be able to repair your dryer. Contact us for today a service call.

Dryer Smells Foul

Although rare, sometimes small animals will climb inside the external vent duct or inside the dryer itself seeking heat. Unfortunately, not only is the smell inconvenient, a clogged vent or a foreign body near the heating element of your dryer can cause a fire. If your dryer has a strong, foul smell:

Inspect the external vent. Use a flashlight and check from both the inside and outside ports. If your external duct has multiple bends you may not be able to see the entire length of the duct. Contact a professional to clean the duct if you suspect an unexpected infestation.

Inspect the dryer. To check the dryer, remove the shell following the instructions in your owner’s manual. Check for signs of animal habitation, such as fur or droppings. If your dryer has an unwanted resident, it will need to be removed before you can safely use your dryer.

If you need help with diagnosing or repairing your dryer, It Is Fixed Appliance Repair is available everywhere in Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta area seven days a week. We offer same day* appointments on nights and weekends, so contact us today!

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