How to fix a tumble dryer that won't dry (2023)

Is your dryer suddenly not drying your clothes anymore? Follow the steps below to find the problem and fix your device.

Our editors and experts carefully select each product we recommend. We may receive a commission for your purchases.

You knowhow to do laundryIHow to choose the best dryer settings for your clothes. Heck, you even know the difference betweendryer sheetsIdrying balls. You are well versed in the art of doing laundry, butNagel, normal settings do not seem to work. Your clothes are wet or damp, or they take much longer to dry than usual. Be honest: you're dealing with a dryer that won't dry.

If your dryer is less than ten years old – which is averageHow long do washing machines and dryers run?- Take the time to replace it with the latest versionbest washer and dryer set. There can be several reasons why you are dealing with a dryer that is not drying your clothes properly. Many of these are instant fixes that you can fix without the help of an expert.

If you notice any of the following problems, there's a good chance your dryer isn't working properly: The dryer won't heat. It will not turn on or start. It's not a fall. Or make a lot of noise. "Sometimes you may not notice any of these telltale signs of a broken dryer, but you will find that your clothes come out of the dryer still wet or very hot," says Gary Childers, fabric care scientist and appliance expert at Procter & Zocken. "This is another indication of a defective dryer."

Measures to be taken if the dryer does not dry the clothes

How to fix a tumble dryer that won't dry (1)Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Dryer not drying clothes? There are several reasons why your machine is not doing its job. By following the steps below, you can rule out potential problems, determine why your dryer isn't drying, and learn how to fix the problem.

1. Make sure it is not overloaded

One of the most common answers to the question "why isn't my dryer drying?" is also one of the easiest to troubleshoot. The problem: You put too many things in the dryer. "It's important to make sure the dryer isn't overloaded," says Childers. "Overloading a dryer can cause problems with drying performance and noise if there is too much weight in the dryer."

Stuffing too many clothes in the dryer (no doubt this is an attempt to do less laundry) reduces the airflow needed to properly dry your clothes, which may explain why your clothes are hot but not dry. Overloading also makes the dryer work harder, using more energy and increasing drying time. Childers recommends never filling the dryer more than three-quarters full.

2. Check the settings

Using incorrect settings to dry your laundry can significantly affect the drying time of your clothes. For example, if you select the air dry setting or the delicate cycle for a load of jeans, towels and linens, the laundry may get damp because you have selected a setting that is too low. After all, it's one thing to knowhow to wash towels; Another thing is knowing the right setting for drying.

To make sure you don't use too much or too little heat, pay attentionwashing symbolson your clothes. They will tell you which dryer setting is the best.

3. Clean the filter

Shawn Ashby, Whirlpool's laundry brand manager, suggests checking the lint filter. Sure, you know you should clean them regularly, but do you actually do it? Fibers that block airflow in the dryer are a common reason for dryers not drying.

Not removing the lint from the dryer filter not only prevents your clothes from drying. It's also the leading cause of dryer fires, the US Fire Department warns.

"We recommend making sure the lint filter is clean and cleaning it before each use," explains Ashby. "Wet lint is harder to remove, so don't scrub or use water."

First remove the filter by pulling it up, then carefully remove the lint from the filter with your hand and reinsert the lint collector. “If you notice areas of the screen gathering lint or the screen becoming clogged, manual screen cleaning can be more difficult,” says Ashby. And this is where the more intensive cleaning comes into play.

Thoroughly clean the lint filter every six months. Here's how it works in four easy steps:

How to fix a tumble dryer that won't dry (2)Studio aquaArts/Getty Images

  1. Roll the fluff off the screen.
  2. Wet both sides of the screen with hot water.
  3. Scrub with a nylon brush, hot water, and liquid detergent to remove any buildup.
  4. Rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly.

4. Check the external dryer vent

Another place where lint can block airflow is the vent on the outside of your home, where the air exits the dryer. If the device is working properly, hot air will flow freely through the vent during operation. "The dryer outlet can be clogged if drying is delayed, clothes aren't drying, or you can't feel the air going through the external vent," says Ashby.

Clean the dryer ventIt is necessary. You can save money by cleaning the vent yourself. However, if you can't find or access the dryer duct and external exhaust fan (or are unsure of your DIY skills), make an appointment for service.

5. Deep cleaning in the breather

If you've cleaned the lint filter or can't feel the air flowing through the outer vent, lint may have accumulated deeper in the vent. "We recommend removing lint from the entire length of the ventilation system at least every two years," says Ashby.

If you can't make an appointment for a service visit, you can do it yourself by purchasing an air vent cleaning kit and following these basic steps.

  1. Locate the dryer outlet and remove the plastic cover protecting the end of the vent.
  2. Unplug the dryer power cord. "If you have a gas-powered model, you should close the shutoff valve on the gas supply line, and then disconnect and cap the supply line," he says.
  3. Remove any tape or staples securing the outlet tube to the vent at the back of the dryer.
  4. Push the brush from the dryer cleaning kit into both ends of the dryer duct as gently and as far as possible. Be careful to follow the curves or turns.
  5. Clean up any lint that exits the opposite side of the duct, then reconnect the vent tube and power cord or gas supply.
  6. Slide the dryer back into place and run an empty drying cycle for 10 to 15 minutes to blow away any remaining dust and ensure the vent is clean.

6. Make sure the ventilation system is properly installed

If your dryer is not drying after this time, Ashby recommends checking the installation instructions when you first install your dryer to confirm thisI installed the dryer ventsystem correct. "For example, you should make sure your ventilation system is within the recommended run length and number of bends for the type of ventilation you are using," he says.

It is also important what type of ventilation you use. "Make sure you only use rigid metal or flexible metal vent material," says Ashby. "Rigid metal vents are recommended for optimal drying performance and to avoid pinching and kinking."

If the vent is bent or pinched, it can cause problems. “Wrinkled or wrinkled outlet material slows the exit of the humid air from the dryer and increases the drying time,” he says. “Replace any plastic or metal foil vent with a rigid or flexible heavy metal vent. The dryer vent should be installed 10 cm from the wall. You should ensure that the vent is not pinched or folded.

7. Clean the sensor

Some dryers detect moisture using sensor rods inside the dryer, Childers notes. Many machine builders recommend cleaning the sensors for accurate moisture detection. "If the clothes aren't cleaned, they can take longer to dry in the dryer," he notes. Refer to the user manual for specific manufacturer instructions.

8. Make sure the dryer is in a ventilated place

According to Ashby, one of the most common reasons a dryer doesn't dry clothes properly is because it's in a closet that's too small for the machine. "When installed in a closet,closet door"There must be air vents at the top and bottom of the door," he says. “At least three inches of air space is required at the front of the washer-dryer and one inch at the sides. For most installations, the back of the washer dryer requires four inches.”

Not sure if your space is suitable for your washing machine? For more information on space requirements, see the device installation guide.

9. Check the heat

Make sure the heater is working by turning the dryer on for five to 10 minutes. "Hold your hand under the hood's outer hood to check the air movement," says Ashby. "If the air movement is less than that of a high-speed hair dryer, remove the lint from the entire length of the system and hood."

Is your dryer not heating but otherwise working? If there is no heat but the machine turns, there may be a problem with the heating element or thermal fuse. In this case, please refer to the user manual for further steps. If you want to easily replace a defective component yourself, you can do that too. However, the correct steps can be found in the user manual. Otherwise, call an expert.

What to do if the dryer does not turn on

The fact that your dryer isn't drying might not be due to the lack of heat and more to the fact that you can't turn the damn thing on. If this is the case, a fuse may have blown or the circuit may have tripped.

"Use extreme caution before examining circuits as there is a risk of electric shock when working with fuses and circuits," Ashby warns.

If your tumble dryer won't turn on, Childers and Ashby recommend the following steps.

  • Make sure all buttons and cycles on the controls are properly selected.
  • Next, make sure the dryer cord is not frayed and is fully plugged in.
  • Make sure the circuit breaker has not tripped. If necessary, reset the circuit breaker.
  • Make sure both fuses are intact and tight. If not, replace the damaged fuses.
  • Check the door switch. Some front loading dryers use a door switch to tell the machine if the door is open or closed. The safety device prevents the dryer from starting when the door is open. But, Ashby says, the door switch can open a circuit (as can another faulty sensor, a thermal fuse). Failure of the sensors can cause the dryer to stop working properly. "[The door switch] is easily replaced with a few simple tools," he says.

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, Ashby recommends contacting a qualified electrician for assistance.

What to do if the dryer starts but does not spin?

If your tumble dryer starts but the drum (where you store your laundry) won't spin, the belt that helps the drum rotate is broken or the motor is broken. "Refer to your owner's manual or a licensed service technician for troubleshooting," says Childers.

When should you call an expert?

How to fix a tumble dryer that won't dry (8)pastorscott/Getty Images

Fix any problems with your dryer as soon as possible. "The key is to recognize the problem early on and not wait to fix it," says Ashby. "If there are major issues, it's best to see a professional to troubleshoot."

When to call in a professional depends on whether the problem is beyond your financial means. Doing the repairs yourself can save you some money. However, if you are unsure about following the instructions correctly, contact your local repair technician.

"If you go to a professional, you can better understand and solve the problem," explains Ashby. Many device manufacturers offer extended service plans for each device that can save you on repairs.

When should you buy a new dryer?

Tumble dryers typically last 10 to 13 years. “During this time there have been many improvements in energy efficiency and laundry care. So if your dryer is getting to that age, or you're noticing a drop in performance, it may be time to start thinking about buying a new dryer,” says Childers.

Many new dryers have important features like steam cycles (so you can do without the dryer).Iron), the ability to send notifications to your phone or device, and special cycles that older models aren't designed for.

Keep going, learnhow to clean a dryer- and how often you do it.


  • Gary Childers, fabric care scientist and appliance expert at Procter & Gamble
  • Shawn Ashby, Laundry Brand Manager at Whirlpool
  • United States Fire Department: "Fire protection materials for tumble dryers"
Alaina DiGiacomo/rd.comChoose the best dryer settings
Helin Loik-Tomson/Getty Images The best tumble dryer balls
Ramon Portelli/Getty Images How to shrink clothes


How to fix a tumble dryer that won't dry? ›

Your tumble dryer might not be able to dry laundry completely if the lint filter is clogged. The lint filter gathers fluff and fibres from clothes and needs to be cleaned after every drying cycle. The lint filter is located on the rim of the door.

Why is my tumble dryer working but not drying? ›

Your tumble dryer might not be able to dry laundry completely if the lint filter is clogged. The lint filter gathers fluff and fibres from clothes and needs to be cleaned after every drying cycle. The lint filter is located on the rim of the door.

Why are my clothes still damp after tumble drying? ›

Clothes Still Damp After Using the Dryer? Here's What to Do
  • Step 1 – Check the settings. ...
  • Step 2 – Make sure your laundry isn't too wet. ...
  • Step 3 – Make sure the dryer isn't overloaded. ...
  • Step 4 – Clean the lint trap. ...
  • Step 5 – Clean the air vent. ...
  • Step 6 – Test the thermal fuse. ...
  • Step 7 – Test the door switch.
Nov 2, 2022

Is it worth fixing a tumble dryer? ›

As there are few parts which might break down in a dryer, it's usually worth repairing. If your dryer is over 10 years old and the cost of the repairs is over half the price you paid, it's probably not worth fixing it. If it smells of burning, switch it off completely and call a dryer repair expert.

Why is my dryer running but not heating? ›

There are several reasons why your dryer may not be heating correctly. Some situations that may cause your dryer to not heat properly include a lack of power, an issue with the size of the load or its wetness, an issue with the heating element or a blown thermal fuse.

Can you put damp clothes in the dryer? ›

Step 1: Make sure your clothes are dry enough to go into the tumble dryer – they should be wet, but not dripping. If your clothing is very wet, it can take a very long time for the dryer to do its job.

Do all dryers have a reset button? ›

Many dryers are equipped with a reset button on the control panel. If the motor won't run, let the dryer cool for about ten minutes. Then push the reset button. If there are no problems with the motor, switches, or electrical system, this should restart the dryer.

Can I clean out my dryer vent myself? ›

Cleaning a dryer duct isn't difficult. Remove lint from the duct by hand and then vacuum the inside of the duct. Use hose extensions, if available, to vacuum out as much of the duct as you can.

What is the average lifespan of a tumble dryer? ›

Tumble dryers typically last from around 10 to 13 years. If the dryer has been around for that amount of time, you might need to find a replacement sooner than you think. Newer models also use less energy when operating, and so they help you save costs in the long run.

How many years does a dryer last? ›

What is the average life of a dryer, you wonder? Ten years, according to Consumer Reports; however, some dryer manufacturers boast up to a 25-year lifespan. It's important to remember, though, that clothes dryer life expectancy goes hand in hand with how often the dryer is used and how well you maintain the appliance.

How do you know if your tumble dryer is broken? ›

If the tumble dryer is noisy when its turning and the whole appliance is shaking and rumbling, it could be indicative of a problem with the drum bearings, which help the wheels turn freely and easily. If the banging noise is continuous when the drum is turning then it might be problem with the drum itself.

Is it worth replacing a heating element in a dryer? ›

If your dryer's heating element burns out more than once within a year or two, the thermal fuse, which is supposed to protect it, is probably defective, so it's a good idea to replace it. The temperature in the heating chamber may also be too high, and that may be caused by poor venting.

Why is my dryer blowing cold air? ›

One of the most common reasons your tumble dryer decides to blow out cold air instead of hot is, rather ironically, because it has overheated. Manufacturers have a legal requirement to ensure that when your dryer gets too hot there is some form of control in place to prevent it catching fire.

How do you check if your dryer is clogged? ›

The Warning Signs and Dangers of Clogged Dryer Vents
  1. It takes longer than usual to dry your clothes. ...
  2. You notice a burning smell. ...
  3. Your clothes are hot to the touch at the end of a load. ...
  4. You can see lint or debris in the dryer hose or around the outside dryer flap. ...
  5. You haven't cleaned out your vents in over a year.

Why is my dryer vent not drying? ›

Check the Air Vent and Duct

Clogged air vents are a common cause for poor airflow in clothes dryer systems. One way to see if your dryer's air vent is clogged is by turning on your dryer and going outside to feel the flow of air leaving the vent. If it's slow and not very warm, your vent may be due for a good cleaning.

How do I know if my dryer vent needs cleaning? ›

8 Signs You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent
  1. Clothes take longer than normal to dry. ...
  2. Clothes are unusually hot to the touch. ...
  3. The room is warmer than normal when the dryer is running. ...
  4. You've noticed burning smells. ...
  5. The lint flap isn't opening. ...
  6. The dryer tells you there's a problem. ...
  7. The dryer stops working.
Apr 5, 2018

How can I make my dryer dry faster? ›

Tossing a towel in with your laundry may help absorb moisture and can possibly help speed up drying times. Adding dryer balls before the cycle may also help because they keep laundry from clumping together, increasing the airflow between items.

Is it okay to put a soaking wet blanket in the dryer? ›

Our advice is you cannot put your soaking wet blanket in your dryer. Drying a duvet like this will waste many resources like electricity, water, and time. It may damage your dryer, make it stop working, or catch fire.

Why is my laundry soaking wet? ›

Drainage Hose May be Blocked or Kinked

The most likely cause for a washer to return soaking wet clothes is a drain hose problem. Here is how you should resolve and clean: Clean the filters in the water supply hose. Attention: The leaking water may be very hot with a risk of scalding.

Will a dryer turn on without a vent? ›

Dryers Need Ventilation

Many people ask, “can I run a dryer without ventilation?” The reason why you cannot safely run your dryer without a vent is that dryers require proper ventilation. Most dryers often require an effective dryer vent system to keep the unit operating with high efficiency.

How much does it cost to replace a thermal fuse on a dryer? ›

Gas dryer problems
ProblemPossible causesCost range
Burner won't igniteFaulty thermal fuse or burner coils$80 to $150
Dryer won't run on all cyclesBroken thermostat or gas valves$100 to $250
Dryer turns off mid-cycleBlower rotation failure or lint buildup$50 to $100
Doesn't get hotFaulty igniter or thermal fuse$100 to $250
1 more row
Aug 22, 2022

Can a dryer just stop working? ›

A faulty or broken thermostat can make a dryer stop working. Replacing the fuse or the thermostat will allow the dryer to work again. A blown thermal fuse from overheating indicates an additional problem, such as improper ventilation.

What happens if you don't clean your dryer vent? ›

Your dryer's exhaust system can get clogged with lint, which will keep your dryer from functioning properly. As a result, the dryer will not only take longer to dry clothes, it will also increase your electric bill and create a fire risk. It's a lose-lose-lose proposition.

How often should a dryer vent be cleaned? ›

Experts recommend you clean out your dryer ducts twice a year. Doing so on your own might sound like an intimidating prospect but there are ways to do it easily, cheaply and relatively quickly.

How do you snake a dryer vent? ›

How to Snake Clean Dryer Vents
  1. Remove the dryer vent cover outside your home with a screwdriver, if applicable. ...
  2. Measure the length of your duct with a tape measure. ...
  3. Assemble the auger snake. ...
  4. Attach the rod end into the drill chuck. ...
  5. Insert the brush end of the snake into the dryer duct and turn the drill on.

Will dryer come on if thermal fuse is blown? ›

A blown thermal fuse often prevents an electric dryer from starting. You'll find the thermal fuse on the blower housing. Unplug the dryer and check the thermal fuse for continuity. Replace the thermal fuse if the multimeter measures no continuity.

How do I know if my heating element went out in my dryer? ›

The heating element is broken if your dryer runs but won't heat up to dry your clothes. This could be an electrical issue with the circuit breaker or a mechanical issue with the appliance itself.

Will dryer spin if thermal fuse is blown? ›

The thermal fuse is a key safety feature of your dryer that shuts the dryer off if it runs too hot. While it's meant to shut the entire dryer off, a faulty thermal fuse may cut power to the motor while the heating element remains on. This may be the reason for your dryer not spinning.

Why is my tumble dryer not drying no heat? ›

Most of the time if your tumble dryer is not heating up it means that the heater fuse is tripped up or the thermal excess has been cut out. These appliances used to have apparatuses that helped them to prevent overheating or catching fire quickly.

How do you fix a dryer that takes too long to dry? ›

Check the Dryer Lint Screen

To clean the lint screen, just remove it from the dryer and brush off any excess lint or debris. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any remaining dirt or dust. Removing the lint should help with a dryer that takes too long to dry.

Why is my tumble dryer making a sound but not turning? ›

If your dryer makes a humming noise but will not spin, the dryer's drive belt that turns the drum could be worn or broken. To get an indication if the dryer belt is defective, reach inside the dryer and try to turn the drum manually. If the drum turns easily without resistance, the dryer belt is likely responsible.

What to check if your dryer is not drying? ›

Check the Basics
  1. Is the Dryer Plugged In? Make sure that your dryer is plugged in and getting power. ...
  2. Are You Overloading the Dryer? ...
  3. Check the Air Vent and Duct. ...
  4. Clean the Lint Trap. ...
  5. Check the Door Switch. ...
  6. Are Your Clothes Too Wet? ...
  7. Check the Drive Belt. ...
  8. Check the Heating Element.

Can I fix my dryer myself? ›

Do I Need to Hire a Professional to Fix My Dryer? No, you do not have to hire a professional. If you have experience or the confidence that you need to fix it yourself, that may be an option — though you need to make sure that, in doing so, you aren't voiding your warranty.

How long does the heating element in a dryer last? ›

The heating element in a well-maintained dryer should last at least 15 years.

Can you clean a dryer heating element? ›

Brush and vacuum under the drum and at the top and back of the dryer. Clean thoroughly around the heating element, but work gently around wires and mechanical parts. Use a long brush to clean the dryer vent screen, then vacuum it from the top and back (Photo 3).

How long should dryers last? ›

What is the average life of a dryer, you wonder? Ten years, according to Consumer Reports; however, some dryer manufacturers boast up to a 25-year lifespan. It's important to remember, though, that clothes dryer life expectancy goes hand in hand with how often the dryer is used and how well you maintain the appliance.

Why is my dryer only drying for 2 minutes? ›

The most common cause of a dryer shutting off after a few minutes is a broken or faulty drive belt. The drive belt goes around the dryer drum, idler pulley, and the motor pulley and helps the dryer to rotate when operating. If it is defective, the dryer won't work correctly.

How often should you clean dryer vent? ›

Experts recommend you clean out your dryer ducts twice a year. Doing so on your own might sound like an intimidating prospect but there are ways to do it easily, cheaply and relatively quickly.

How much does it cost to replace a dryer belt? ›

The good news is that a new dryer belt is one of the more inexpensive parts you might need for a dryer repair. Depending on the brand and model of dryer you have, you might spend $10 to $40 on a new belt, plus labor if you choose to have it professionally installed.

How much does it cost to replace dryer rollers? ›

Replacing the rollers in a dryer averages $100 to $150. The rollers sit behind your dryer's back panel and hold the drum in place to rotate smoothly. Most machines require two rollers. If they break or wear down, you may hear unpleasant noises coming from the appliance.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated: 13/11/2023

Views: 5343

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.