After washing and drying a load of laundry, we expect our clean clothes to have a fresh, appealing scent. However, that may not always be the case. What causes a dryer to smell? Excess lint, mold, or mildew growth within your dryer can certainly put a damper on laundry day. If you have a smelly clothes dryer, you’ll want to determine the source of the stink and learn how to avoid future odors.

Solutions to What Causes a Dryer to Smell

Dryer Smells Like Burning

What causes a dryer to smell? A dryer that smells like burning may indicate an issue within the internal ventilation system. When this occurs, the vents of the dryer get clogged with an accumulation of dryer lint and other debris. If your dryer smells like burning, it’s likely that this build-up is to blame. In addition to dryer odor problems, excess lint and debris can inhibit your dryer’s heating and drying potential. Excess lint can also become a fire hazard. As a rule of thumb, make sure to clean your dryer’s lint trap after every load of laundry.

why does my dryer smell

Dryer Smells Rotten

Wondering, “Why does my dryer smell rotten?” is never a pleasant thought, but it certainly can happen. A clogged vent or foreign object near the heating element of a dryer can cause a foul, rotting odor. Like excess lint accumulation, a clogged vent can also become a fire hazard.

“My dryer smells like something died in it” is certainly a concerning issue. What causes a dryer to smell? To track the source of the stench, you will need to inspect the external vent with a flashlight to check for any objects lodged within the duct line.

Dryer Smells Like Mildew

The last thing we’d like our clean clothes to smell like is mold or mildew. If your clothes dryer stinks, the smell can transfer to your clean laundry. What causes a dryer to smell? Mold and mildew can thrive on the warm, moist environment within your dryer and dryer vent duct. To prevent the growth of mildew, make sure to not overload your dryer, ensure the dryer lint screen is cleaned after each load of laundry, and periodically clean and sanitize the dryer drum.

clothes dryer stinks

How to Clean Clothes Dryer

Looking for the recipe for a dryer odor eliminator? Routinely clean and sanitize your clothes dryer using the following method.

Supplies Needed:

  • Bleach or white vinegar
  • Water
  • Clean rag
  • Bucket or large bowl
  • A hand-held vacuum or vacuum attachment
  • Gloves
  1. Disconnect the power to your dryer.
  2. Clean the lint trap and lint screen of any captured lint or debris. For especially stuck-on bits, gently scrub the lint screen under running water. Let dry before reinstalling.
  3. Clean the lint trap housing using your hand-held vacuum or vacuum hose attachment. This will help remove any other built-up lint or foreign material is removed from the internal ventilation system.
  4. Carefully move your dryer away from the wall and disconnect the dryer vent and duct. Using the vacuum, remove and clean any other lint from within the dryer ventilation system and duct. Once clean, reconnect and reposition the duct, vent, and dryer.
  5. In your bucket or large bowl, mix 1 gallon of cool water with 1 cup of bleach. Wipe down the interior of the dryer drum with this solution to sanitize and deodorize. Keep the dryer door open until the drum has fully air-dried.
    Pro-tip: A solution of white vinegar and water can also be used in lieu of bleach.
  6. Wipe the exterior of the dryer with a damp cloth to remove any lingering lint or dust.
  7. Reconnect the power to your dryer once complete.

If your dryer continues to cause a smelly situation, it may be time for a professional dryer repair service. Be sure to call Callahan’s Appliance for the best dryer repair experts.

Looking for more dryer tips and tricks? Check out our DIY blog on how to eliminate dryer static!