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Are You Misusing Your Dryer? Dryer Troubleshooting & Tips

washer dryer image

Is the misuse of your dryer the reason it doesn’t work? View our interactive photo for common dryer errors, along with tips to correct them and get your dryer running properly.

It might not be your fault. Maybe it’s the way you learned how to do laundry from your parents. But there are quite a few surprising things you might be doing that are upsetting your dryer.

For example, if you think that clothes can’t be soft or clean-smelling enough, you probably use fabric softener in the wash as well as dryer sheets. Bet you didn’t know that this practice can cause residue buildup in your dryer that damages the moisture sensors, lint screen and vent system.

Your dryer might not be working as well as it should — and there are a few easy ways to help fix it.

Hover over or click on the image to see the icons.

PROBLEM: Using dryer sheets and fabric softener

WHY IT’S BAD: Excess surfactants, which are chemical compounds found in cleaners, will coat the inside of the dryer drum, moisture sensors, lint screen and vent system.

SOLUTION: Use one or the other — not both. Use one dryer sheet at a time. Or use the correct amount of fabric softener in the wash cycle.

PROBLEM: Not cleaning the lint screen after every use

WHY IT’S BAD: Lint prevents proper air movement, which can cause longer dry times, overheating, a risk of fire and excessive lint on clothing.

SOLUTION: Follow proper cleaning instructions in the owner’s manual.

PROBLEM: Using the wrong cycle

WHY IT’S BAD: Clothes can come out wrinkled or shrunken, and you might be drying something for longer than you need to.

SOLUTION: Follow the owner’s manual for correct cycle usage. And find out what all those cycles actually do.

PROBLEM: Overloading the machine

WHY IT’S BAD: Cramming in too much laundry can lead to longer dry times, clothes coming out wrinkled, the appliance overheating and a risk of fire.

SOLUTION: Fill the dryer drum no more than half full. This allows for the clothes to drop while tumbling, allowing warm air to get into the fabrics.

PROBLEM: Using a dryer that isn’t level

WHY IT’S BAD: Uneven dryers can vibrate, make unusual noises and get damaged.

SOLUTION Follow the instruction manual for the correct method of leveling the dryer.

PROBLEM: Neglecting to clean out or inspect the hose

WHY IT’S BAD: Hose issues can also result in long dry times, overheating and a risk of fire.

SOLUTION: Inspect the hose. Make sure it’s not kinked or collapsed and that it’s connected to the vent duct coming from the wall. Have the entire vent system cleaned about once a year.

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