How to Remove Musty Smells from the Dryer

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Amanda asked: How do I remove a musty smell from a dryer? My friend is suffering from a smelly dryer. She says she cleans her clothes in her new washer and immediately puts them into the older dryer. After they get through drying, they have a musty/funky smell to them. How would one go about removing smells from the dryer? What would be the cause? Where could you clean?

Musty smells in the dryer can quickly ruin a nice, fresh-smelling clean load of laundry. Try these methods to locate and remove the problem.

Locate the Problem:

  • Remove the dryer vent and vacuum out any debris or lint that may have become trapped.
  • Check the area where the vent attaches to the dryer as well as the vent that connects to the outdoors.
  • Lint that becomes trapped in these vents can stay damp and hold the musty smell. As the dryer is running, the odor is pushed back into the laundry.
  • If the load is too large, it may be taking too long to dry. As the laundry sits in the warm air, the damp clothing creates the perfect environment for the musty smell.
  • Have your water checked. If your water is hard or has sulfur in it, it can lead to odors on the laundry. While the smells may be mild when wet, some minerals smell much stronger after being heated and “cooked” by the dryer. A water softener or filtration system may help.

If the Problem Still Remains:

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Vacuums with extender attachments make excellent cleaning tools for cleaning out the vents.
  • Long dusting tools can also be helpful.
  • Ensure the dryer has been turned off and had a chance to cool down before removing the venting. The heat may leave the metal areas hot, so proceed carefully.

Comments

  1. Howard says:

    Good info on potential sources, but now that I’ve identified it, what the heck can I do to clean it???

  2. Jaycee says:

    @Howard:
    Read the bit again about vacuum or dusting tools — you have to eliminate the musty lint. If that doesn’t work, run some hot water, white vinegar & baking soda through your washer — that may be where the bad odors start.
    “Vacuums with extender attachments make excellent cleaning tools for cleaning out the vents. Long dusting tools can also be helpful.”

  3. Leanna says:

    Thank you for the tip. It does work.

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