How to make your dryer smell better

Your dryer won’t always smell as fresh as when you bought it because of the tonnes of laundry loaded in it.

But that doesn’t mean that it should carry a bad smell. If anything, you shouldn’t have a smelly dryer.

You can take several actions to remove a bad smell from your dryer and leave it smelling better.

However, it’s important you first know what causes the bad smell and then the steps you can take to make a smelly dryer smell better.

What causes a bad smell in the dryer?

These are the main causes of bad smells in a dryer:

1. Build-up of lint in the exhaust vent

Failure to clean the dryer vent at least annually leads to the accumulation of lint in the exhaust vent, limiting the flow of air in the dryer.

Odorous mold and mildew then begin to grow due to poor air circulation. You may also find that the dryer isn’t drying as quickly as it should be because of insufficient airflow.

2. Smelly clothing

Sweaty clothes or items with odors don’t always come clean when loaded in the dryer.

This is because when the dryer is operating, the bad smell from the clothes is often carried by warm airflow and left in the washing machine or dryer.

If you don’t perform a deep clean, you will be left with a smelly dryer.

A dryer
Image: Sana Saidi

3. Pest infiltration

If you’ve always wondered why your dryer smells like something died in it, then a household pest likely intruded on your dryer.

Animals can enter the exhaust vent through the exterior vent opening. Some might even build a nest in the hose.

Your drier doesn’t have habitable conditions; therefore, the chances the pest can survive in there are close to zero.

Once it dies, it will emit a horrible bad smell, leaving your dryer smelling like something died in it.

How to make the dryer smell better

Now that you’ve learned the possible causes of smells in your dryer, here’s a guide for getting rid of those odors.

Keep a clean lint trap

Removing lint collected in the mesh screen of your lint trap is vital to remove the smell from a dryer. A dust-free trap allows for greater airflow.

It is also a good idea to remove the lint trap and vacuum the area with a vacuum attachment while cleaning your dryer to prevent dust and debris from the trap.

Use vinegar

Vinegar is such a lifesaver when dealing with a smelly dryer. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Cleaning surfaces with white vinegar is a great idea. It removes oily residue while also killing mold and mildew.

Fill a bottle sprayer halfway with vinegar and wet a couple of old towels on both sides with the liquid.

Place the towels in the dryer until they are completely dry. As the fabric tumbles about on the inside of the drum, the vinegar will destroy mold and mildew.

Use baking soda

baking soda

Baking soda is an alkaline powder that absorbs smells and other cleaning chemicals from the dryer.

Wet a cloth and sprinkle baking soda generously over the material’s surface. To eliminate smells and residue from the cloth, place it in the dryer and dry it on the lowest setting.

Clean the drum

Cleaning the interior of the drum is another way to deal with a stinky dryer.

Fill a spray bottle with filtered white apple cider vinegar and spray clean the interior of the drum after removing your dryer from the electrical outlet.

Allow it to rest for around 5-8 minutes before wiping it off. The apple cider vinegar will kill the odor-causing bacteria, leaving your dryer smelling fresh and clean.

Do regular clean-ups

An easy way how to make your dryer smell better is by doing regular clean-ups.

Frequent cleaning of your dryer vent pipes and outlets will help prevent build-up and blockages.

Clean with bleach

Bleach is another product that is great for counteracting odors. Adding it to your cleaning will help eliminate bad smells and leave your dryer smelling better.

Wipe out the dryer using a soft cleaning cloth with a bleach solution from a cup of bleach and a gallon of cold water.

Clean the exterior of your dryer

It’s just as important to keep the outside of your dryer as clean as the inside. Lint can gather behind a dryer’s knobs, so keep an eye out for these everywhere in your dryer.

It’s simple to clean the exterior as you only need to dip your soft cloth in white distilled vinegar and wipe off the dryer thoroughly.

Install an exhaust fan

What better way to make your dryer smell better than installing an exhaust fan in your laundry room?

Having this appliance will prevent bad smells from accumulating in the room and dryer. The main aim of the fan is to eliminate moisture and aid in managing and eliminating odors.

Air-dry your clothes

clothing line
Image: Eli Pluma

Sometimes it’s good to give your dryer a break, especially if you have a clothesline.

You can choose to hang your clothes and let them dry in the sun instead of a dryer. Remember, the less the dryer is used, the less it will likely be smelly.

Reduce the amount of soap used

While it’s nice to have clean and fresh laundry, ensure you keep track of how much and what kind of detergent you’re using in your washing.

It is best to avoid too much soap because some soaps and cleaning chemicals leave a residue that invites dirt and odors

Always have a dry drier

You will never have to worry about a smelly drier if it is always dry and free of moisture. Don’t leave wet clothes in the dryer because mildew will grow.

The musty odor might travel to the dryer when you dry mildewed items. So, avoid doing these two things to keep the appliance dry.

Your dryer must remain fresh and free of any odors. Any of the ways mentioned above can help you deal with a smelly dryer.

They will also help if you’re looking to make your dyer smell better without necessarily having to remove any smell.

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