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4 reasons why your dryer isn’t drying your clothes

A dryer that isn’t drying your clothes may create a backup of chores but doesn't have to dampen laundry day. This guide can help you discover whether it’s a simple fix, like a lint screen that needs cleaning or requires a service professional, such as a heating element malfunction.

Read on to troubleshoot your dryer issue and find possible solutions to get laundry day back on track. You’ll also want to consult your dryer’s user manual for model-specific instructions.

What to check if your dryer isn’t drying well

Improper airflow in your dryer can lead to improper drying, longer than expected drying times or wet damp loads at the end of a cycle. The following steps can help you troubleshoot the issue if your dryer isn’t functioning properly.

It’s also important to check your user manual for troubleshooting tips. To learn more, you can follow this guide on how to troubleshoot a dryer.

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1. Blocked lint screen

If your laundry is coming out of the dryer damp, it could be that your lint screen needs cleaning. It’s recommended that you clean your lint screen before every dryer load. You can also check your lint trap as it may need a deep cleaning.

What to do: Clean the lint screen

Remove the lint screen from your dryer and pull the lint towards you with your fingers to clean it. If your screen has laundry detergent or fabric softener residue build-up after removing the lint, you can use a nylon brush with hot water and liquid detergent to gently scrub both sides. Consider deep cleaning your dryer lint trap on an as-needed basis when you notice lint build-up.

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2. Crushed vent hose

Check the vent hose behind your dryer to make sure it’s not crushed or kinked. A crushed vent hose can restrict airflow. When steam is produced during a dry cycle, it’s released through the vent hose ensuring that your clothes can dry properly.

What to do: Remove the kinks

If you notice that your vent hose is crushed, fix the kinks or obstructions. You may want to check that your vent hose is made of rigid or flexible metal venting because other materials, such as aluminum foil or plastic, can easily collapse or be crushed.

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3. Improper vent hose installation

A vent hose that has been improperly installed can block adequate airflow necessary for  a load of laundry to dry. You can learn more about how to install a dryer vent with this guide.

What to do: Check the vent hose

The vent hose behind your dryer should be a material that’s rigid or flexible metal, not aluminum or plastic. The hose should usually have a 4-inch diameter for maximum airflow. Check that the vent hose is short, supported and has very little slack with no more than four 90° bends. Keep in mind that 45° bends can provide even better airflow.

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4. Clogged dryer exhaust vent

Your dryer duct and outside exhaust vent may be clogged with lint or other debris. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, your dryer may have restricted airflow.

What to do: Clean the dryer exhaust vent

You can follow these step-by-step instructions on how to clean a dryer vent as it’s a task that may take less than two hours to complete. If it's difficult to find or access your dryer duct and outside exhaust vent, you may want to schedule an appointment with a service professional.

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Why is my dryer taking too long to dry?

If you notice dry times are slower, or your clothes remain damp after a cycle, make sure your lint screen is clean and that the vent hose behind your dryer isn't crushed. Keep in mind that larger laundry loads can take longer to dry, depending on the size of your dryer.

A laundry load that’s too large for your dryer drum may not allow proper air circulation. If clothing is soaking wet going into the dryer, this can create excess moisture, making it difficult to dry. You may also want to check that your dryer is plugged into a compatible outlet. Check your installation instructions for power supply requirements.

How to tell if your dryer’s heating element is bad

The heating element in an electric dryer heats air in the drum, while a gas dryer utilizes a burner. If your dryer isn’t getting hot, you may have a damaged heating system. It’s recommended that you contact a service professional for this repair. Discover more troubleshooting options if your dryer isn’t heating.

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Why is my dryer not drying clothes but getting hot?

A dryer that heats but doesn’t dry clothes may indicate a dirty lint screen. If you clean out the lint but your clothes are still not drying, check if your dryer is spinning. You can follow this guide on troubleshooting a dryer that’s not spinning. Make sure that you consult your user manual for model-specific information.

Does your dryer need to be replaced?

With regular maintenance and proper care, a dryer can last many years, giving you value and reliability load after load. If your dryer is an older model and needs replacing, a repair specialist may be able to help you decide if it’s time for a new one. 

When you’re ready to replace your dryer or simply want to upgrade your laundry room, this guide can help you find the right appliance.

Explore Whirlpool® dryers

If your dryer needs to be replaced or you’re ready to upgrade, Whirlpool brand has both gas and electric dryers with several options to help simplify laundry day. From the energy-saving EcoBoost option to the AutoDry drying system that senses when clothes have reached the right moisture content, select Whirlpool® dryers offer a variety of features designed to help you properly care for your family’s laundry.

Discover more laundry maintenance tips from Whirlpool brand

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