Easy fixes for a dryer that won't dry

Failures in the motor, heater or the machine's electronic controls will need professional repair, but many problems that affect dryers are the buildup of fluff or lint in the machine. This is easy to clear and prevent.

Easy fixes for a dryer that won't dry

The clothes get warm but don’t dry

Sort your loads

Don't exceed the maximum recommended load for your dryer — check the user's manual to find out the weight of laundry it can handle. Clothes that tumble freely will dry faster and with less creasing.

  • Always spin dry your clothes in the washing machine before putting them into the dryer, and if possible, separate heavy items (such as towels and jeans) from lighter ones and dry them in separate loads.
  • Try saving up two or three loads of laundry and dry them one after another in the machine. The dryer will remain warm and get through your laundry more quickly and efficiently.

Make your dryer last

Clean out the lint and clear the vent

Your dryer has one or two mesh filters that catch the lint released from clothing. Simply slide out the plastic tray that holds the mesh and regularly pick off the layer of lint; if the mesh is dirty, clean it with some warm, soapy water and allow to dry before replacing it.

  • If your dryer vents hot, moist air to the outdoors, lint can accumulate within the duct between the dryer and the vent flap. This can block the flow of air and prevent your laundry from drying.
  • Check the vent flap or hood on the outside of your house. Can you feel a flow of air when the dryer is running? If not, use a length of stiff wire to clear away any dust buildup around the vent.
  • Switch off the dryer and unplug it. Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent duct from both the dryer and the wall — you may need to unscrew a couple of clamps. Remove any obvious clumps of lint, then use the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner to suck out particles deeper within the pipe. Vacuum inside the opening of the dryer, too, before replacing the duct.
  • If the duct is too long, it may kink and impede the flow of air within. Try compressing the hose and securing it with duct tape.


A buildup of lint in your tumble dryer is dangerous because it can start a fire. Clean your lint filters after every load and inspect the dryer's vent or condenser unit every few weeks.

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