If you’ve ever noticed a bad smell coming from your clothes dryer, you’re not alone. Many people experience this issue, and it can be quite frustrating. Fortunately, we can show you how to eliminate dryer odor and get your clothes dryer smelling fresh again! We’ll discuss the possible causes of foul odors inside a clothes dryer, as well as the steps needed to clean a clothes dryer and remove bad odors. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to prevent dryer odors in the future.

Steps for How to Eliminate Dryer Odor

A smelly dryer can be bad for a number of reasons. Not only is it unpleasant to have a stinky dryer, but the odor can also be harmful to your clothes. The fumes from a smelly dryer can leave your clean items smelling musty or even cause your clothes to become discolored. Best to avoid these problems altogether with this guide!

What Causes Dryer Odor?

The source of the odor in your dryer is usually due to a lack of attention or proper maintenance. When your dryer smells bad, these typical causes are frequently to blame:

  • Leaving damp clothes in the dryer: Mold and mildew develop when damp clothing is left in the washer or dryer for an extended period of time. Even after clothes are dry, mold and mildew may remain in the dryer drum, giving off an unpleasant odor.
  • Excess lint in dryer exhaust vent: A dryer’s exhaust vent becomes clogged with lint over time. When this happens, hot air has nowhere to escape and builds up inside the dryer, leading to a fire hazard. Not to mention, all that trapped heat creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow, which also leads to bad smells.
  • Pests inside dryer vent: Mice, rats, and other pests are attracted to the heat of a dryer vent. If they build a nest inside your vent, you’ll likely smell them before you see them. An infestation will require the help of a professional to remove.

why does my dryer stink

Dryer Cleaning Steps

A serious cleaning may remove the smell of a smelly dryer. Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Water
  • Bleach
  • White Vinegar
  • Clean Rag
  • Towels

Be sure to disconnect power from the dryer before beginning any cleaning.

Step 1: Clean dryer lint screen

The first step in how to eliminate dryer odor cleaning your dryer’s lint screen. This is the mesh screen that captures lint as it comes off your clothes during the drying cycle. Over time, this lint can build up and cause problems, like dryer fires.

To clean your dryer lint screen, remove it from the dryer and rinse it off with warm water. Use a dryer brush to remove any lint that’s stuck to the screen. Let it air dry, then reinstall the lint trap after following step two.

Step 2: Clean out the lint screen housing

This is the cavity in your dryer where the lint screen sits. To clean it out, remove any debris or buildup in the vent using a vacuum cleaner hose. You may also need to vacuum the area around the dryer to remove any lingering dust or lint particles.

dryer smells bad

Step 3: Dryer exhaust vent cleaning

The exhaust vent is the pipe that runs from the back of your dryer to the outside of your home. Over time, lint and other debris can build up in this pipe and cause bad smells or more serious problems like dryer fires.

To clean your dryer’s exhaust vent, start by disconnecting the vent from the dryer. Next, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to clean out the vent. If you can’t reach all the way into the vent, try using a dryer vent brush. Once you’ve removed all the lint and debris, reattach the exhaust vent and turn on your dryer to make sure it’s working properly.

Step 4: Clean the dryer interior

Using a clean towel, dip it in a solution of 1 cup bleach mixed with 1 gallon of cold water. If you’d prefer, you may use white vinegar instead.

Use the towel to wipe down the dryer drum. Keep the towel damp with more cleaning solution if needed. Wipe the dryer door and its seal as well before leaving the door open so the interior can air dry.

How to Stop Dryer Odor

Now that you know how to eliminate dryer odor like a pro, take these steps to prevent it from happening again:

  • Don’t leave wet clothes in your washer: Take damp clothing out of the washer as soon as the wash cycle is finished to prevent mildew growth.
  • Keep the dryer lint screen clean: Remove lint from the trap before each cycle using your hand or a clean paper towel. And don’t forget to clean the trap and housing with your vacuum hose on a regular basis.
  • Regular vent maintenance: It’s essential to clean your dryer vents 1-2 times per year. If bad odors return or the dryer takes too long to dry clothes, you may need to clean them more frequently.

If your dryer is still producing an unpleasant odor, it may be time for a professional dryer repair. Moore Appliance Service can take care of all your dryer needs and get your machine working like new again. And check out our DIY tips for a noisy dryer or how to fix a dryer not starting!