Few things are as off-putting as pulling still-warm clothes out of your dryer only to be met with a musty, moldy smell instead of fresh clean scent. Unfortunately, dryers can easily pick up bad odors over time.
While you may be tempted to mask the stench with dryer sheets, tracking down the source of the odor and eliminating it is important. This dryer troubleshooting guide from Fix4U Repairs covers common causes of bad dryer smells and how to freshen up your appliance.
What Causes a Dryer Smell Bad?
Unpleasant dryer odors typically stem from one of these common issues:
- Mold and Mildew: The damp, warm environment inside a dryer makes it a breeding spot for mold, creating a musty smell. Visually inspect the drum for any fuzzy growth.
- Clogged Lint Trap: Lint accumulation can get musty when damp and also creates odors when overheated. Clean the trap after each load.
- Residue in Drum: Built-up residue, dirt, grime, and detergent all get smelly over time. A thorough drum cleaning clears smells.
- Sour Vent Duct: Odors and moisture get trapped in the vent duct, which then get reheated during dryer use, causing nasty smells.
- Burned Fabrics: Overdrying and excess heat can burn fabric fibers and produce a smokey odor. Clean the drum and adjust drying times.
- Mechanical Defects: Overheated motor, bad drum bearings, worn belt and other defects create rubber, electric, ozone smells.
- Gas Leaks: The added mercaptan odorant in natural gas makes leaks very stinky. Get professional help immediately if you detect a gas leak.
How to Diagnose Bad Dryer Odor Causes?
Start your smelly dryer troubleshooting with these steps:
- Take note of WHEN the smell occurs – during cycles, upon opening door, when heat turns on?
- Isolate the location – drum, lint trap, venting duct, exhaust?
- Remove and inspect the lint trap for debris and musty smells.
- Check the flex duct and rigid venting for blockages.
- Carefully run your hand inside dryer drum and edges to feel for residue.
- Visually inspect drum and ducts for signs of mildew, lint, or stains.
How to Eliminate Bad Dryer Smells?
Once the odor source is identified, here are solutions:
Clean Drum and Ducts
- Use a scrub brush and vinegar-water mix to clean drum, door gasket, and ducts.
- Run an empty high heat cycle to dry out any moisture buildup.
- Leave door open to air out dryer when not in use.
Unclog Vent Duct
- Detach duct and use vent brush to remove trapped lint and debris.
- Check outdoors vent hood for proper air flow.
- Replace plastic vent ducts which hold odors. Use rigid metal duct.
Fix Mechanical Defects
- Arrange for professional diagnosis and repair of any electrical or mechanical odors.
- Replace worn components causing smells like belts, rollers, or valves.
Preventing Future Dryer Odors
Implement these maintenance tips:
- Wipe the drum down monthly to avoid residue and dirt buildup.
- Clean lint trap after every load without exception.
- Use dryer balls in loads to help scrub drum.
- Run an occasional hot cycle with bleach to disinfect machine.
- Detach and clean vent ducts yearly.
- Arrange professional dryer servicing if odors persist.
Don’t tolerate putrid smells from your dryer! The appliance experts at Fix4U Repairs can diagnose the cause of any nasty odor and provide solutions to get your dryer fresh again. Contact us at (647) 363-5205!