6 ways to deodorize a smelly dryer

An average household uses a single dryer for over 20 years; that is a lot of dirty linen to clean, considering it is just one piece of appliance.

It is no wonder dryers tend to start smelling after some time which beats its whole purpose of getting your clothes to smell fresh and clean.

In this article, we have outlined various hacks you can use to get rid of the smell in your dryer.

These hacks will help your dryer be able to do its primary job and prolong its lifespan so you can save the cost of replacing it.

6 ways to deodorize a smelly dryer and keep it fresh

Deodorizing your dryer is one of the most organic ways for neutralizing any smell that your dryer may produce.

Trust a deodorizer to get the job done. It doesn’t matter where or how the smell was formed. Also, most of the ingredients you can use are already in your kitchen cabinet.

These are the top 6 ways to deodorize your smelly dryer:

1. Bleach

Image: Richard Villalon

Bleach has potent ingredients that are imperative for killing bacteria and removing odor. All you need to do is;

  • Mix bleach or cleaning detergent with water in a bucket.
  • Use the solution created to wipe down the interior and exterior with an old cloth. Try and make sure you wipe down every possible surface as you never know where the bacteria are hiding.
  • Grab another towel, dip it into the same solution, and then plop it into the dryer.
  • Allow it to tumble dry on an air fluff setting to get the bacteria in the vents and pipes.

Your dryer should smell as good as new afterward.

2. Essential oils

Using essential oils has hundreds of benefits, including freshening up your laundry and deodorizing your dryer.

The best part is, a few drops of essential oils go a long way in achieving the desired effects.

What you need to do is;

  • Clean the lint filter by scrapping off any residue that might be stuck on it.
  • Sort out your laundry from the washer like you usually would and put them in the dryer.
  • Soak a clean cotton washcloth with a few drops of your preferred essential oil and put it in with the rest of the clothes.
  • Dry your clothes as usual, then switch to the fluff cycle towards the end for perfect results.

If you love a citrus smell, you can go ahead and squeeze a couple of drops of lemon juice on the cloth as well.

Your clothes and dryer should come out smelling like the essential oil with a hint of fresh citrus.

3. Baking soda

Baking soda for cleaning
Image: JPC

If your dryer only has a faint smell that is hard to detect, then a tiny amount of baking soda is all you need to get you back on track.

This method is also effective for those who want to deodorize a smelly tumble dryer.

Follow this procedure:

  • Get a clean cotton towel, soak it in water and gently rub it in with a generous amount of baking soda.
  • Place the wet cloth in the dryer and set it to the lowest cycle to allow all the baking soda to be absorbed into the machine.
  • Alternatively, you could sprinkle a little bit of baking soda into your already cleaned clothes before putting them in the dryer.
  • Afterward, it would be best if you brushed off the baking soda residue to avoid white particles sticking to your clothes.

4. White vinegar

White vinegar is excellent for anyone who wants to deodorize a smelly dryer. It deals with odor and leaves your appliances smelling fresh.

It is known to kill molds, break off hard water deposits, destroy greasy residue, and so much more.

Here is one way you can use a vinegar solution to deodorize your dryer:

  • Mix a few parts of vinegar with water to make a solution.
  • Soak two towels with the vinegar solution and toss them into the dryer. The solution kills any mold and bacteria inside the vents and dryer walls.
  • You could add a dash of vinegar when your clothes are in the rinse to help eliminate any odor that might be transferred into the wash.

5. Watch the lint

lint from a dryer
Image: Jodi Jacobson

Every time you run clothes in your washing machine, the dirt and loose fibers are removed from the cloth, but they still cling loosely to the exteriors of said cloth as they are wet.

So it is when the fabric goes into the dryer that the heat and friction rub them loose, and they end up at the lint trap.

In short, the lint trap is full of dirt, residual detergent, and fibers, which accumulate and start producing unwanted odors if not cleaned regularly.

To clean the lint filter, use the following steps;

  • Take out the trap from the dryer.
  • Grab a vacuum hose and vacuum the surface till every dirt you can see is gone.
  • Run the lint trap under warm water with soap and scrub the surface with a soft brush to dislodge any particles.
  • Put the lint trap out in the sun to dry.
  • Go back to the dryer and vacuum the lint filter place. Make sure to vacuum the corners, too, as a lot of residue hides there, causing odor.
  • Finally, dip a cloth in a mixture of white vinegar and water, then use the said cloth to rub-down the inside surface of the dryer. Leave it open for a while as you wait for the lint trap to dry.

6. Clean the vent hose

When the hot air is done with its job in the dryer, it usually exudes outside through a vent hose.

Considering the said hose carries dirty air and is situated outdoors, it is prone to collect dust, dirt, insects, rodents, and lint.

Sometimes, when the lint and residue get trapped on the vent, they become a breeding ground for mold, making your dryer smell awful.

Here is how to go about it;

  • Depending on the make of your dryer, use a screwdriver to detach the hose clamp from the exhaust hose vent.
  • Check whether any insects or rodents might have made a home for themselves in the hose. If so, take them out and clear out the nest if possible.
  • If you cannot see inside the hose vent, grab a toilet bowl cleaner and scrape off anything inside by pushing it back and forth and sideways. Afterward, move any debris it would have scrapped off to one end of the vent and collect the dirt with a dustpan.
  • Scrutinize your vent and make sure there are no cracks. You can remedy small gaps using duct tape. If the cracks are too severe, you might need to replace the whole vent hose.
  • Place the vent upright and pour in a handful of baking soda before returning it to its rightful place. The baking soda will help eliminate any unwanted smell and leave your vent smelling fresh after a few hours.

Additional tips

Sometimes your dryer smells funny because of how you generally use it.

Here are a few pointers on how to prevent your tumble dryer from smelling musty;

  • Do not leave wet clothes in the dryer too long before you start running them to prevent mold and mildew from growing inside it.
  • Use as little detergent as possible because the soap residue tends to accumulate in the vent, causing a foul odor.
  • Air dry your clothes sometimes to give the dryer a breather. This will save you energy costs and allow your dryer to rid itself of any moisture that might cause odor.
  • Try not to overload your dryer ever because when you overload it, the wash will take more time to dry and produce more lint than the lint filter can handle.

If you practise the above, then you won’t need to deodorize a smelly dryer anytime soon.

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