Why Does My Dryer Smell Like Mildew? Troubleshooting Guide

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
22 min read

At some time in your dryer’s life span, you’ve wondered, “Why does my dryer smell of mildew?” Moisture is the simplest answer.

Moisture is the primary culprit, but there are other ways in which it can gather and result in the mildew smell. When your dryer smells like mildew, there are several things you may do to fix the problem.

5 Common Dryer Smells and What Causes Them

My Dryer Smells like Burnt Rubber

It’s not nice, but there are two main reasons behind the odor. When washing and drying clothes, it’s easy to forget to follow the care recommendations on the labels. It’s easy to fall into the habit of tossing everything into the hamper and hoping for the best. You may not be aware that one of the things in the load is composed of synthetic fabric, which is not able to withstand high heat like other materials. ‘ Dry at a lower temperature or by hanging, as directed by the care label.

Dryer Repair – My Dryer Smells | It Is Fixed Appliance Repair

The second reason your dryer is emitting a burnt rubber scent is due to a probable short in the wires. Check the dryer’s power cord for any signs of damage. A wire’s rubber covering might melt if it becomes frayed or exposed. It’s time to replace this power wire, but be careful! Remember to unplug your dryer to avoid an electric shock.

My Dryer Smells like Mildew

This is a rather typical occurrence, sadly. Whenever you open your dryer door, you’ll be struck in the face with a moldy, wet scent. The good news is that there are simple solutions to this common problem. Leaving wet clothes in the dryer too long before beginning it is the most common cause of this odour. Keep things moving in the washing room, please! Even though it takes only a few seconds to turn on the dryer, getting rid of a musty dryer can be a real pain.

If you haven’t been putting wet items in the dryer for extended periods of time, look for moldy lint that’s accumulated up. The lint screen can be pulled out, lint removed, and the screen cleaned with a dry towel to eliminate any remaining lint. The lint trap can be vacuumed with the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner.

It’s a good idea to dampen some towels with white vinegar and put them in the dryer with the rest of your laundry. This is a safe and simple way to minimize unpleasant odors. The vinegar smell will linger on the towels if you don’t wash them immediately away!

My Dryer Smells like Something’s Burning

This dryer odor is not only bothersome and inconvenient, but it also has the potential to be deadly. It’s time to get your dryer fixed if you notice a burning smell coming from the appliance. In order to avoid a house fire, this problem should be handled by an expert. Contact Home-Tech immediately and suspend use of the dryer until we identify the source of this noxious odor.

My Gas Dryer Smells like Gas

It’s understandable that you’re concerned about a gas leak, but it’s more likely a vent or filter problem. When you notice smoke or gas emanating from an appliance, the best course of action is to call one of our professionals.

An early symptom that your dryer’s igniter is out of order is when gas smells or appears on your clothing. A clogged filter or a leak in the exhaust system may be to blame for this problem with the ventilation. The gas valve may not be switching off if you ever smell the same kerosene scent while your dryer is not running. Immediately turn off the gas supply to your home and call for help.

My Dryer Smells like a Dead Animal

I pray that none of you will ever have to smell this. For those who find themselves in this strange and unpleasant situation, we’re here to help. The dryer vent or behind the dryer panels may contain a dead rodent, which you will (hopefully) never uncover when you open the dryer door.

The stench won’t go away until the furry companion is located, and that’s a fact. Cleaning the entire vent system, from the dryer’s hose to the vent outdoors, is our recommendation. Remove the dryer’s front and back panels if you still can’t find the animal. The rodent can be found by investigating the dryer’s innards.

How to Deodorize a Dryer

Many things can be indicated by a bad dryer odor. It is common for dryers to develop a mildew smell after several loads of clothes have been run through them. A burnt scent can be the result of lint accumulation in the ash catcher or exhaust, as well as other factors including a malfunctioning thermostat or engine. There are a number of techniques to get rid of dryer odors by cleaning specific regions of the appliance.

Remove Smell from Your Dryer by Cleaning the Lint Filter and Trap

To remove the stench from your dryer, you must inspect the lint filter and trap. Tiny particles of moist fibers are removed from your clothes by the dryer during the drying process and collect in the lint tray, resulting in musty aromas.

Lint Filter Cleaning

  • The vacuum cleaner
  • The lint trap brush
  • Water that’s been warmed
  • Soap for washing dishes

In order to get out of this trap, simply slide the screen. Remove as much lint as possible from the screen using your hands. To clean out the lint trap, use your vacuum’s hose attachment or a lint trap brush.

5 Common Dryer Smells And What Causes Them

The liquid dish soap can be squirted into a sink that has been filled with water. To remove any remaining lint, wet the screen and scrape it with a soft-bristle scrub brush.

Before putting it back into the lint trap, make sure the screen has been thoroughly cleaned under the faucet and allowed to air dry fully. Putting a wet or damp screen back into the dryer causes more mildew to grow.

Cleaning a Dryer with Soapy Water to Eliminate Bad Smells

It’s possible to get the job done using just a simple and straightforward cleaner. Soapy water is the simplest approach to remove odors from a dryer that needs minimum cleaning.

Basic Dryer Cleaner

  • Water that is too hot to drink
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A cannister with a nozzle
  • Rags

Add a few drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap to a bottle sprayer of hot water. Gently shake the bottle to ensure that the solution is well-mixed without generating an excessive amount of soap suds. Using a spray bottle filled with soapy water, clean the inside of the drum.

Wipe away any cleaner that remains on the inside of the dryer door and the gasket. Remove any soap residue from the rags by rinsing them in cold water and re-cleaning the inside of your car again.

In the event of a stain or gum residue, use soap and water to remove the gum first. If that doesn’t work, try a little rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or even ice to get rid of the problem.

Ways to Get Mildew Smell out of a Dryer

If your laundry room is starting to smell like mildew since it’s been a while since you cleaned your dryer, one of the most effective ways to remove mildew smell from a dryer is with bleach. The smell of mold can be removed from a washing machine by using household bleach.

Dryer Mold and Mildew Disinfectant

  • a liter of water
  • Bleach in the amount of half a cup
  • Bucket
  • Rags
  • An old towel

Add bleach to a large container of water. Wipe down the drum, door, and gasket of the dryer using a towel soaked in the solution. While you clean the dryer’s exterior, let the bleach solution sit for around ten minutes.

Place an old towel in the dryer after it has been moistened with warm water. To remove any bleach residue from the drum, tumble dry on the air-fluff mode.

How to Get Smell out of a Dryer using Vinegar

When it comes to cleaning, white vinegar does wonders. It eliminates mold and mildew by dissolving oily residue. Hard water deposits can be removed with vinegar, as can odors in the dishwasher.

Vinegar Dryer Cleaner

  • Vinegar with a white color
  • A cannister with a nozzle
  • Towels

Spray vinegar into a bottle sprayer and wet a couple old towels on both sides with the liquid. To dry the towels, put them in the dryer. Mold and mildew are killed when the fabric moves around inside the drum.

When washing textiles, vinegar is a fantastic technique to remove mildew odour. Disinfect your laundry using vinegar to get rid of scents of all kinds.

Removing Dryer Odors with Baking Soda

After cleaning, the smell of bleach and vinegar lingers. As an alkaline powder, baking soda absorbs the fragrance of other cleaning agents from the dryer.

Baking Soda Odor Remover

  • Water that is icy cold
  • Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda
  • Towels in white

Soak a towel in water and then liberally sprinkle baking soda all over the towel. To remove odors and residue, place the cloth in the dryer and dry it on the lowest setting.

Sprinkle some baking soda on your clothes to get rid of odors. A few minutes in the dryer will remove any remaining powder.

Freshening a Clothes Dryer with Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used to freshen the air in your dryer between cleanings. The oils not only deodorize the machine, but they also impart a pleasant scent to your clothes.

Essential Oil Dryer Freshener

  • Essential oil
  • An elixir of life

Clean cotton washcloths can be infused with your preferred essential oil and dried along with your clean laundry. To spruce up your washing machine’s drum, lint tray, and clothes, run the fluff cycle. Citrus scents can be used for a clean, fresh scent, while lavender can be used to create a calming atmosphere.

Cleaning the Dryer Vent Hose to Remove Dryer Smells

In many cases, the dryer’s hose vent is to blame for the stink. The hose at the back of the dryer becomes clogged with lint after it goes past the trap. Mold and mildew thrive in the moist lint that has built up over time.

Fix-It Friday: How To Take The Stink Out Of Appliances

Vent Hose Cleaning

  • Screwdriver, flathead
  • cleaner for the commode
  • Cleaning with a vacuum
  • Broom
  • Dustpan

Unplug the dryer from the outlet and carefully take it away from the wall to remove the accumulated gunk and clean the dryer vent. Remove the hose clip from the dryer’s exhaust hose with a flathead screwdriver.

Use a toilet bowl cleanser and a brush to remove old lint from the tube. To remove debris, just attach your vacuum’s adapter to the hose. Remove lint and grime from the back of your dryer by using a brush.

A dustpan is all that is needed to collect the filth and dispose of it in the trash. The dryer line and clamp should be reattached now that the dryer has been cleaned out. Plug the dryer back into the outlet and slide it back into place.

Preventing a Smelly Clothes Dryer

Preventing scents in your dryer in the first place is the easiest method to do away with them. Keep your dryer functioning smoothly and odor-free by following a few simple, everyday actions.

Dryer Smell Prevention

When you can, air dry your clothing instead of putting them in the dryer to avoid unpleasant dryer scents. To prevent moist lint from building up on the screen, always clear the lint tray after each dryer usage. Don’t put damp or wet clothes in the dryer or washer.

Mildew thrives in moist environments, resulting in musty aromas. Dryer sheets with fabric softener are to be avoided. It is difficult to remove lint from the dryer screen because of the film left by the woven fibers of these sheets in the dryer and lint tray.

Avoiding the need to wash and dry a big amount of clothing. Overworked dryers take longer to dry and produce more lint when they’re overloaded. When not in use, leave the dryer door open to allow the machine to cool down.

Running a normal wash cycle with half a cup of baking soda will get rid of musty odors if they originate from your washing machine rather than your dryer.

Remove old lint from the lint screen, tray, and vent with the wand of your vacuum cleaner during routine dryer vent cleaning. Check for lint buildup on the exterior of your dryer vent at least once a year.

Buying a clothes dryer, whether it’s a Maytag, Whirlpool, or another name brand, is a big financial commitment. A new one isn’t something you plan on doing anytime soon.

Keep the dryer clean and well-maintained to guarantee that your clothes come out clean and fresh.

Please share our dryer cleaning techniques with your relatives and friends on Pinterest and Facebook if you’ve learned how to get dryer odor out of a load of dirty clothing.

Top 3 Reasons Why Your Dryer Smells Like Mildew

1. Leaving wet clothes for too long

The mildew that develops on damp clothing is no different than that which develops on any object that has been exposed to water for an extended length of time. Clothes that have been wet in water attract not just mildew, but also insects and other microbes, no matter where you put them.

You may be a responsible person who doesn’t leave any damp clothing unattended. Then, see whether anything small got stuck in the door gasket, like a wet sock.

Make sure the rubber gasket isn’t to blame if there are no stuck items. Leave a paste of baking soda and water on the rubber for up to 60 minutes, then wipe it clean with a moist cloth.

2. Lint build-up

The lint screen and the exhaust vent are two places where lint can accumulate in your dryer. Remove the lint that is clogging the vents in both situations.

To remove the mildew odor from the lint screen, use soap and warm water to wash it. Put the clothes back in the dryer once they’ve been air-dried.

Lint materials clog exhaust vents, allowing mold and musty odors to grow. Dryer vents that aren’t cleaned on a yearly basis won’t be able to properly dry your garments.

Towels soaked in white vinegar can also be dried in the dryer. This is a great technique to get rid of musty odors, but be sure to wash the towels well afterwards.

3. Overloading

Moisture and lint are once again on the agenda. The longer it takes to dry a load of clothes, the more likely it is that it may become moist.

If you have a lint problem, washing and drying more items will exacerbate the problem. When it comes to laundry, do multiple small to medium loads instead than one large one.

How To Prevent And Remove Mildew Smell In Your Dryer


Make sure to clean your lint screen after every use to prevent lint buildup. Vacuum the lint from the lint screen’s cavity with the vacuum hose of your machine.

Don’t overdo it, as previously said. Make sure to dry your items as soon as possible after putting them in the dryer.

The exhaust vent should be inspected once a year. Rodents, for example, can get stuck in the ductwork and leave behind a foul odor.

Reduce the amount of detergent you use to avoid mildew odors (or the least amount recommended in your detergent package). In order to avoid mold and mildew formation, you should avoid using too much detergent in your washing machine.

Finally, to avoid the development of an unpleasant odor, spray the dryer drum with vinegar on a regular basis. When finished, wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth, rinse with water, and air-dry. Afterwards


Because of the mildew smell, we may have to buy another dryer out of sheer desperation in some circumstances. Don’t worry, there are a number of ways to get rid of that stench.

For a dryer with a musty odor, use a bleach solution to dampen a soft cloth and wipe the drum. For each gallon of chilly water, you’ll need one cup of bleach.

Washing your garments with half a cup of baking soda or a cup of vinegar may help eliminate the musty scent. These ingredients freshen the garments and prevent the buildup of fabric softener or other agent used to dry the clothes.

Check out this post on washing machine odor removal for more information on how to clean your washer. Read “why does my washer smell like mildew” to find out what produces the foul odours in your washer.

Remove any lint from vent ducts by inspecting them. The flaps on some vents may be jammed, so check to see whether this is the case.

If you see a substantial buildup in any section of your dryer, it is recommended to call a professional service provider. By hiring a repair service, you can rest assured that your appliance won’t be damaged in the process.

Why Your Dryer Smells: 5 Odors & How To Get Rid Of Them


Why do my clothes smell damp after drying?

In the case of moldy or mildewy clothing or a stinky laundry room, poor dryer vent operation may be the culprit. As a rule of thumb, if you smell mold or mildew after running the dryer, it is likely that your dryer vent system is not working correctly. In most cases, a clogged or obstructed dryer vent is responsible for this type of alert.

Should I be worried if my dryer smells damp?

There are two types of dryer vent systems: those that are correctly operating and those that are blocked by debris and moisture. Mold and mildew grow in wet conditions, leaving an unpleasant odor both in the space and on your clothing as a byproduct. A clean dryer vent system will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew by allowing moisture to escape.

How do I get rid of the moldy smell in my dryer?

With Dryer Vent Wizard’s thorough and effective dryer vent cleaning, you can get the airflow of your dryer vent system back to normal and allow moisture to pass through again. To learn more about our services or to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, please contact us now.

How do I get the mildew smell out of my dryer?

If you have a dryer with a low setting, try drying a few white towels with baking soda and cold water. The mold smell, bleach or vinegar smell, and any dried bleach on the dryer’s surface should be eliminated by this procedure.

Can a dryer smell like mildew?

In the case of moldy or mildewy clothing or a stinky laundry room, poor dryer vent operation may be the culprit. As a rule of thumb, if you smell mold or mildew after running the dryer, it is likely that your dryer vent system is not working correctly.

Where is lint trap in dryer?

Inside the dryer’s door or on top of the dryer, that’s usually where you’ll find it. Most of the lint from your laundry is caught in the lint trap before it enters your dryer vent. Each time you use the dryer, make sure to clean out the lint trap.


Hopefully, by now, you’ve figured out why your dryer has a mildew smell. Leaving wet clothing out for too long, lint buildup, and overloading are all causes of moisture, which is the number one enemy, according to your new knowledge.

A few helpful hints for avoiding the musty odor were also brought up over the course of the discussion. We also talked about how to get rid of the bad smell if it’s already present.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you dry clothes in the dryer and have a good time!

In this article, we’ll cover the five most common dryer smells and explain what causes them.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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