According to Consumer Reports, experts say the average lifespan of a dryer ranges from 10 up to 25 years as long as they’re properly maintained. That’s a lot of loads of laundry!
It’s no wonder, then, that after so much use, these machines have a tendency to develop smelly odors that work against their own purpose: To keep your clothes clean and fresh-smelling. Especially if you’re washing the laundry of an active lifestyle (gym clothes, work clothes, and the like).
When you begin to detect a foul odor coming from your dryer, there are some steps you can take to remedy the situation that is of little or no cost and are simple to do.
Watch the Lint
It may seem like a no-brainer but – when it comes to keeping your dryer fresh – it helps to understand the process of exactly what lint is. According to Popular Science, during the wash cycle dirt and fibers are released from the clothes but in the wet state, these things cling to the clothing.
It’s when they go into the dryer, that the heat and friction remove the dirt and fibers which then collect in the lint trap as well as other places attached to the dryer. This means the lint in your lint trap is not just fresh, clean fibers: it also has amounts of residual soap and dirt from the wash cycle.
Making sure your lint trap is cleaned after every use is important but if you’re smelling an unfavorable odor, a more in-depth cleaning might be in order.
- Using a hose attachment, vacuum the lint filter, paying close attention to the gasket around the edges. While you have the filter out, use the attachment to vacuum the hole for the lint trap, as well.
- If there is still a lingering odor, run the lint trap under warm water and scrub with a soft brush to dislodge any trapped lint. Be sure to let it dry completely before replacing it in the dryer.
- Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive way to eliminate odors by removing odor-causing bacteria, rather than just covering up the smell. Simply dip a cloth in a bowl of vinegar and wipe down the inside of the dryer. Work from the back to the front of the drum, ensuring you pay attention to the spaces around and under the gaskets in the drum. Leave the dryer open to let it dry completely (don’t worry about the smell of vinegar as it dissipates when it dries).
Mind The Hose
Lint not only collects in the lint trap but also in the vent hose both inside and outside of the laundry room. As the hot air escapes from the dryer, it’s pushed out the vent hose which is usually aimed outside. Be sure your hose is the proper size: generally four inches in diameter.
- Since lint fibers are so fine, they collect like dust in the confined space of a dryer. Take time to vacuum around, under, and behind the dryer.
- Check for cracks or breaks in the vent hose as lint will attach to these cracks. Sometimes a bit of tape can remedy these weak spots in a vent hose but sometimes it may need to be replaced.
- Check inside of the vent hose for any foreign objects. Since these hoses generally lead outside, unwanted objects or pests might invade them. Use the vacuum to clean the hose thoroughly.
- Take the vacuum outside and thoroughly clean the outside of the vent. If there is a flap, lift it to make sure there is nothing blocking it.
Keeping the exterior of an appliance clean is just as important as the interior. Using the same soft cloth use to wipe down the interior of the dryer, dip the cloth in white distilled vinegar and give the machine a good wipe-down. Lint can also collect beneath the knobs of a dryer so pay attention to these little nooks and crannies.
You can also install an exhaust fan in your laundry area to prevent the build-up of unwanted odors.
It’s important to note that lint build-up doesn’t just cause unpleasant odors but it can also be a fire hazard or a source of mold build-up.
If you’ve completed all of these tips to try and get rid of the smelly odors in your dryer but the scent is still present, there may be hidden places or other problems that you’re not able to reach.
If a dryer is not able to release the right amount of heat due to a clogged or improperly installed hose, lint can build up inside the dryer drum.
In such a case, it may be necessary to remove parts to make a more in-depth examination of the dryer but doing so can void any warranties of the machine so it’s important to know how to do this or contact a professional to perform the task for you.
However, if you’ve put in the elbow grease and removed the smell, there are tips to keep the smell from coming back that can also prolong the life of your dryer.
- Never overload a dryer. As with any machine, the harder it has to work, the more wear and tear to the parts. Dryers have pullies and spindles and belts and all types of small parts that weaken or break with over-use. If your dryer is getting hot to the touch on the outside, it might be over-working itself to dry a load that’s too large.
- Consider air-drying. If you have the option of a clothesline, using this method not only gives your dryer a break but cuts down on your energy costs as well.
- Clean the lint filter every time. When lint builds up, it blocks the flow of air making drying times longer and less effective.
- Avoid too much soap. While it’s nice to have clean and fresh-smelling clothes, the truth is that some soap and cleaning products leave a residue that actually attracts dirt and odors. Be sure to monitor the amount and types of detergents you use for your laundry.
Ultimately, our appliances are big-ticket items that last longer when properly cared for. If you’re concerned about the efficiency or operation of any of your appliances, Flamingo Appliances is prepared to solve your problem. We service all major appliances so whether your dryer is acting wonky or your refrigerator is not freezing, contact us today and we will get to the bottom of it.