dryer smells bad

Dryer Smells Bad: How to Eliminate Dryer Odors

A smelly dryer is not only unpleasant, but can transfer odor to otherwise clean clothes. Why does my dryer smell? Lint buildup in the exhaust vent can limit airflow and promote mold growth. A thorough vent cleaning should remove any buildup and solve the problem. Use these troubleshooting tips to identify, eliminate, and prevent odor when your dryer smells bad.

What to Do When Your Dryer Smells Bad

Pinpointing dryer odor can seem like a mystery but there are usually several common causes with specific solutions. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide to eliminating odor but, first, here are some reasons why your dryer smells bad.

Why Does My Dryer Smell?

When your clothes dryer stinks the first step in banishing odor is to identify the source of the smell. 

These are the most likely reasons your dryer smells bad:

  • Lint buildup in the exhaust vent: If you skip your annual dryer vent cleaning, lint can accumulate in the exhaust vent and limit airflow. Poor circulation then results in the development of smelly mold and mildew. You may also notice that the dryer isn’t drying well due to poor airflow.
  • Smelly clothing: Sweaty clothes or items with smelly stains don’t always come clean in the washer and can transfer their odor to the dryer. Often, the dryer smells bad when running as the heated airflow carries the smell.
  • Pest infiltration: Wondering why my dryer smells like something died in it? Animals can get into the exhaust vent via the outside vent opening, creating a nest in the hosing.
dryer smells bad

How to Eliminate Dryer Odor

Once you’ve identified why your dryer smells bad, proper cleaning with the right methods can eliminate odor.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your dryer:

  • Bleach
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Vacuum
  • Rags 
  • Towels

Follow these steps to clean the dryer drum:

Step 1. Clean dryer lint screen: Take out the dryer lint screen and remove any lint.

Step 2. Clean lint screen compartment:  Vacuum the lint screen compartment with a narrow hose vacuum attachment. Replace the lint screen.

Step 3. Mix cleaning solution: In a bowl, combine 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water.

Step 5. Wipe down the dryer: Dip a rag in the diluted bleach, wring it out and wipe down the dryer drum and the interior door.

Step 6. Allow time to dry: Leave the door open to air dry completely.

Step 7. Wipe down with water: When completely dry, use a second rag to wipe down the dryer drum and door with plain water. Air dry again.

Step 8. Use vinegar spray: Pour white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray a few towels.

Step 9. Dry towels: Place the towels in the dryer and run a regular drying cycle to further banish odor.

clothes dryer stinks
Image from HGTV

How to Prevent Dryer Smells

Now that you’ve successfully eliminated dryer odor, the key is to keep it from returning.

Here’s how to prevent dryer smells with proper use and regular maintenance:

  • Clean out the lint filter after each use: This will prevent lint from backing up into the exhaust vent and blocking necessary airflow.
  • Perform regular dryer vent cleanings: Cleaning your dryer vent ducts and openings on an annual basis will prevent buildup and eliminate clogs.
  • Use less detergent: Too much detergent can leave a residue on clothes that promotes mold and mildew growth. Always use the least amount recommended on the detergent package.
  • Wipe down the dryer drum regularly: Spray the dryer drum with vinegar and wipe it down on a regular basis to deodorize before smells get out of hand. Follow with plain water  and leave the door open to allow for air drying.

If you still find that your dryer smells bad, a professional dryer repair service should assess the problem. Call Sharper Service Solutions to schedule an appointment!

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