Your washing machine, clothes dryer, and dishwasher are big-ticket appliances that you expect to run smoothly for many years. However, a dryer with a musty smell is not efficient at getting your clothes appropriately dried. Learn how to get smell out of a dryer using a few simple household ingredients and tools.
A smelly dryer has many causes, including a dirty lint trap, gasket, dryer drum, and dryer vent. Throwing a load of laundry, freshly washed and clean, into a musty-smelling dryer leaves your clothes with a foul odor. If your clothes smell like mildew or some other nasty odor, it’s time to clean your dryer.
- How to Deodorize a Dryer
- Remove Smell from Your Dryer by Cleaning the Lint Filter and Trap
- Cleaning a Dryer with Soapy Water to Eliminate Bad Smells
- Ways to Get Mildew Smell out of a Dryer
- How to Get Smell out of a Dryer using Vinegar
- Removing Dryer Odors with Baking Soda
- Freshening a Clothes Dryer with Essential Oils
- Cleaning the Dryer Vent Hose to Remove Dryer Smells
- Preventing a Smelly Clothes Dryer
How to Deodorize a Dryer
Bad dryer smells are a sign of many things. Mildew smell is typical in dryers and happens after frequent loads of dirty laundry. Lint build-up in the tray or vent or some other underlying cause such as a faulty thermostat or motor causes a burnt smell. There are several ways to remove bad odors from the dryer by cleaning target areas.
Remove Smell from Your Dryer by Cleaning the Lint Filter and Trap
It’s essential to check the lint filter and trap to remove smell from your dryer. During the drying process, the dryer removes small bits of damp fibers from your clothing, and these tiny bits of fluff collect in the lint tray, which results in musty odors.
Slide the screen out of the trap. Use your hands to remove as much lint from the screen as possible. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner or a lint trap brush to remove lint and debris from inside the trap.
Fill a sink with water and squirt in a couple of drops of liquid dish soap. Soak the screen in the soapy water and use a soft-bristle scrub brush to loosen and clean away leftover lint.
Rinse the screen thoroughly under the faucet and allow it to air dry completely before replacing it into the lint trap. Placing a wet or damp screen back in the dryer causes more mildew growth.
Cleaning a Dryer with Soapy Water to Eliminate Bad Smells
Sometimes, the most basic and straightforward cleaner is all that is needed to get the job done. If your dryer has a faint smell and requires minimal cleaning, soapy water is the easiest way to remove odors from the machine.
Pour hot water into a bottle sprayer and add a couple of drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap. Shake the container gently to mix the solution with creating too many soap suds. Spray the inside of the drum with the soapy water and use rags or old towels to wipe down the surface.
Spray the inside of the dryer door and the gasket with the cleaner and wipe away all residue. Rinse the rags under cold water and wipe down the inside surface again to ensure that there is no soap left behind.
If you find a stain or gum residue when cleaning the drum, get gum out of dryer with soap and water first. If that doesn’t take care of the problem, apply a little alcohol or vinegar or even ice to remove it.
Ways to Get Mildew Smell out of a Dryer
If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your dryer and the laundry room is beginning to smell like mildew, one of the most efficient ways to get mildew smell out of a dryer is with bleach.
Pour water into a bucket or tub and add the bleach. Dunk a rag into the solution and wipe down the inside of the dryer drum, dryer door, and gasket. Let the bleach water sit for about ten minutes while you wipe down the outside of the dryer to remove everyday dirt.
Get an old towel wet with warm water and place it in the dryer. Allow it to tumble dry on the air-fluff setting to remove any bleach residue from the drum.
How to Get Smell out of a Dryer using Vinegar
White vinegar is an excellent solution for cleaning surfaces. It breaks up greasy residue and kills mold and mildew. Vinegar is also useful for removing hard water deposits and cleaning a smelly dishwasher.
Fill a bottle sprayer with vinegar and spray the liquid on both sides of a few old towels until they are very damp. Toss the towels into the dryer until they dry. The vinegar kills mold and mildew as the cloth tumbles around on the inside of the drum.
Removing Dryer Odors with Baking Soda
Bleach and vinegar tend to leave a lingering scent behind after cleaning. Baking soda is an alkaline powder that absorbs foul odors from the dryer, including the smell of other cleaning products.
Get a towel wet with water and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the surface of the material. Place the cloth into the dryer and dry it using the lowest drying cycle to remove odors and residue.
Remove odor from clothes by sprinkling them with a little baking soda. Let them sit, brush off the powder, and add them to the dryer for a few minutes.
Freshening a Clothes Dryer with Essential Oils
Essential oils are a great way to give your dryer a pleasant scent in-between regular cleaning. The oils not only freshen the machine but leave your clothing smelling fragrant as well.
Squeeze a couple drops of your favorite essential oil on a clean, cotton washcloth and toss it into the dryer with your clean clothes. Use the fluff cycle on your machine to freshen the drum, lint tray, and clothing. Use a citrus scent for a clean, fresh scent, or use lavender for a relaxing fragrance.
Cleaning the Dryer Vent Hose to Remove Dryer Smells
Many times the odor-causing problem is in the hose vent of the dryer. Lint makes it’s way past the trap and gets clogged in the hose located at the back of the dryer. This damp lint accumulates and is a breeding ground for mildew and mold.
To clean dryer vent and eliminate the unpleasant smell from the accumulating gunk, first unplug the clothes dryer from the outlet and pull the machine out carefully away from the wall. Use a flathead screwdriver to release the hose clamp from the exhaust hose and slide it off the dryer.
Push a toilet bowl cleaner into the tube and use the brush to loosen old lint. Use the attachment on your vacuum to suck up debris. Sweep the backside of your dryer with a broom to remove dirt and lint.
Gather the mess in a dustpan and dispose of it in the garbage. Slip the hose back on to the dryer and screw the clamp back into place. Slide the dryer back to its original spot and plug it into the outlet.
Preventing a Smelly Clothes Dryer
The best way to eliminate foul odors in your clothes dryer is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Follow a few simple, routine steps to keep your dryer running smooth and odor-free.
Dryer Smell Prevention
The easiest way to prevent bad odors in the dryer is to hang your clothes outside in the sun to air dry when possible. Always clean the lint tray after each dryer use to prevent damp lint from building up on the screen. Never leave damp or wet clothes sitting in the washer or dryer.
Moist fabric leads to mildew growth, resulting in bad odors. Stay away from fabric softener dryer sheets. The woven fibers of these sheets leave a film on the inside of the dryer and lint tray, making it challenging to remove lint from the screen.
Avoiding washing and drying large loads of laundry. An overloaded machine takes longer to dry and produces excess lint. Leave the dryer open in-between use to circulate air through the inside of the machine.
If the musty odor is coming from your washing machine rather than the dryer, run a normal wash cycle with a half cup of baking soda to remove bad smells.
Perform routine cleaning of the dryer vent by using the wand of your vacuum cleaner to remove old lint from the lint screen, tray, and vent. Once a year, inspect the exterior portion of your dryer vent for lint blockage.
Like any other home appliance, a clothing dryer is a significant investment, whether it is a Maytag, Whirlpool, or another name- brand. You expect it to last you for many years before replacing it with a new one.
Keeping the dryer clean and well-maintained is not only the best way to make sure that it runs properly but the easiest way to ensure that your clothing comes out clean and fresh.
We hope that learning how to get smell out of a dryer gets your load of laundry to smell fresh and clean again, and we’d love it if you’d share our clothes dryer cleaning tips with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook.