How To Get Rid of Unwanted Dryer Odor

Smelly clothes fresh from the dryer can be both unpleasant and bothersome. It’s easy to blame the washing machine for the foul odors coming from your clothes. However, some smells come from dryers. 

When the dryer smells, the unpleasant scent can transfer to otherwise clean clothes. There are various possible factors why your dryer emits foul dryer odors. The culprit may be excessive lint buildup, mold, a wire short, or even an animal that got trapped in the dryer vent. If you think that your dryer is causing bad smells on your laundry, now is the best time to clean your dryer. Here’s how to deal with a smelly dryer.

Identify The Odor: How Does It Smell?

Before dealing with the foul odor on the dryer, it’s best to determine the root cause. Does your clothes dryer smell like burnt rubber after they tumble dry? Or perhaps it’s a musty smell or that of a dead animal? You can deal with the problem by first determining the type of unpleasant odors your dryer emits. 

If your dryer smells like mildew

You may be surprised, but a clothes dryer that smells like mildew is not that uncommon. You are inviting mildews if you have been leaving wet clothes in the dryer for more than overnight without starting it. It’s best to dry your laundry immediately after washing to avoid mold from clinging onto clothes. It will also keep the dryer smelling fresh. 

Damp clothes left in the dryer for hours are not the sole culprit of musty-smelling dryers. The moldy dryer odor that hits your face upon opening the dryer door can come from lint buildup in the lint trap. The hairs and other fibers get caught in the lint screen during the drying process. The damp excess lint is a perfect environment for mildew growth. The excessive lint buildup can also lead to a longer drying time and potential house fire. It’s best to clean the lint trap every after use to maintain your dryer’s top performance.

If your dryer smells like burnt rubber

You may be alarmed upon smelling burnt rubber coming out of the dryer. These are the common reasons for the burnt odor:

The most concerning one is a possible wire short. If you happen to smell burnt rubber, check the appliance’s power cord. An exposed wire can melt the rubber coating that surrounds it. It can pose a fire hazard. It’s best to contact a professional to replace the power cord safely. 

The second one may be due to clothes made of synthetic fabrics that can’t tolerate high temperatures. It’s best to air-dry clothes made of polyester or other synthetic fibers. If air drying is not an option, you can lower the temperature when using the dryer.

If your dryer smells like gas

The igniter may not be functioning well if you can smell gas upon opening the dryer door early in the cycle. It can be because of a dirty filter or problems with the exhaust. However, if there is a kerosene smell and you are not using the dryer, the gas valve may not be shutting off. In this case, it’s best to turn off the gas and call a technician to check.

If your dryer smells like a dead animal

There is a possibility that a small animal managed to crawl inside the exhaust vent and died. The stinking smell can enter the dryer or even your home once you run the dryer. The only way to remove this putrid smell is to remove the dead animal in the dryer vent hose.

It’s best to clean the whole vent system. You can check the vent hose connected to the back of the dryer and the outside vent. If you can’t do this alone, it’s best to contact a dead animal removal professional to get rid of your furry problem. 

Here’s How to Get Rid of Unpleasant Dryer Smells

The dryer should produce fresh and clean clothes after the cycle. However, it’s not uncommon to be met by a foul stench after opening the dryer door. Now that you’ve identified why your clothes dryer smells, you can deal with them accordingly. Here’s how you can deodorize a dryer to remove the smell:

What you need:

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

Steps to clean the clothes dryer:

1. You can do away with lint buildup by cleaning the lint filter. Start with removing the lint screen and talking out the trapped fluff. 

2. Dilute some dish soap in a sink filled with water and let the lint screen soak in the soapy water. You can take out caked-on lint using a lint trap brush. Gently loosen and get rid of leftover lint. 

3. Rinse the lint screen with water and let it air dry completely before putting it back in the lint trap.

4. Using the narrow vacuum hose attachment, vacuum the lint screen compartment to remove as much lint as possible. 

5. If the dryer smells awful, try using bleach and vinegar. You can prepare a cleaning solution using a cup of bleach diluted in a gallon of warm water. Then you can dip a rag in the bleach solution and wring out the excess water. Use the rag to clean the interior of the dryer door and the inside of the dryer drum.

6. Leave the dryer door open and allow it to air dry completely.

7. Once it’s dry, use another clean rag wet with water to wipe down the dryer door and drum. Allow the machine to air dry again.

8. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to wet a few towels. You can then toss them in the dryer and run a drying cycle to remove the foul dryer smell.

Maintaining Your Dryer to Prevent Dryer Smells

Prevent the foul odor from returning by following these simple steps:

1. Use less detergent to avoid soap residue to prevent mold growth. Check out our guide here if you want to know how much detergent you should use during washing. 

2. Clean the lint filter after using the clothes dryer to prevent lint buildup. Excess lint can block the airflow in the exhaust vent. 

3. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the dryer drum after using the appliance. Wipe it down with a clean rag to deodorize the clothes dryer. It’s also best to leave the dryer door open until it’s dry to prevent moisture from seeping in.

4. Clean your exhaust vent at least once a year. It will prevent any potential fire caused by lint buildup and can even lower your energy bills. 

In Conclusion

The dryer, together with the washing machine, is a powerhouse in the laundry room. Since these appliances keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean, it’s also vital that you maintain them in top shape. The simple tasks of regularly cleaning the lint trap and wiping down the dryer drum every after use are simple measures you can do to keep them working efficiently. Don’t forget to bookmark our page for more laundry and cleaning tips and advice!

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About Margaret Croom

Peggy is a contributor and editor at Tidy Diary. She is a proud mother of three children who inspired her to level up her tidying skills. She enjoys her me time by lounging in her favorite nook with a lovely cup of tea. She also keeps a handy diary.