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We all love the convenience of a dryer, especially when it comes to fluffy towels and warm jammies. But what happens when your trusty appliance goes from hero to horror, emitting an odor that could rival a week-old gym bag?

Fear not, because we’ve got your back with a comprehensive guide on how to clean a dryer that smells. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll soon be enjoying the sweet scent of success in your laundry routine.

First Things First, Diagnose the Stink

7 Steps to Tackle the Odor

Now that we know the potential sources, let’s get down to business and make your dryer smell fresh again.

Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Arsenal

Before embarking on your cleaning journey, you need to gather the following supplies:

Step 2: Empty the Lint Trap

This little guy is a magnet for fluff and forgotten dryer sheets, creating the perfect breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.

Start by removing the lint trap from your dryer, discard the lint, and wash it with warm, soapy water. For stubborn grime, use a toothbrush or a vinegar soak. Don’t forget the hidden crevices around the trap opening.

Pro Tip: Make it a habit to clean the lint trap after every drying cycle to prevent future odors.

Step 3: Clean the Drum

Wipe down the interior of the drum with a mixture of mild detergent or dish soap and warm water. Be thorough, paying special attention to any sticky or stained areas. For stubborn stains, a paste of baking soda and water works wonders. Scrub gently with a soft brush or cloth.

Step 4: Tackle Mold and Mildew

If you suspect mold or mildew growth, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, dampen a cloth or sponge, and thoroughly wipe down the interior of the drum.

Don’t forget the door gasket! Mold and mildew love to hide in those folds. Scrub them gently with a toothbrush and the vinegar cleaning solution. Vinegar’s natural antibacterial properties will help eliminate any unpleasant odors.

Step 5: Check the Ventilation System

A clogged dryer vent is a major contributor to smelly dryers. Unplug the dryer, disconnect the vent hose, and inspect it for lint buildup. You might be surprised at what lurks in there!

Use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle attachment to remove any lint from both ends of the vent hose. While you’re at it, clean the vent opening on the exterior of your home.

Pro Tip: Consider investing in a vent brush to reach deep into the vent and clear out stubborn lint.

Step 6: Clean the Moisture Sensor (If Applicable)

Some modern dryers come equipped with moisture sensors to detect when clothes are dry. Over time, these sensors can accumulate residue from fabric softeners. Locate the sensor (usually near the lint filter) and clean it with a soft cloth and a bit of white vinegar.

Step 7: Wipe Down the Exterior

Don’t neglect the outside of your dryer. Wipe down the control panel, buttons, and any other accessible surfaces with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains, a mixture of baking soda and water can work wonders.

Scent-sational Tips

Remember: Regular maintenance is key to preventing funky smells from returning. So, clean your lint trap religiously, vent occasionally, and give your dryer a good wipe-down every few months. With a little TLC, your clothes will always smell fresh and fabulous!


1- Is it normal for dryers to smell?

It’s normal for dryers to have a slight smell when new. However, persistent odors may indicate issues; ensure regular cleaning of the lint trap, vent, and drum or consult professionals for an inspection if the issue remains unresolved. 

2- How to clean a dryer that smells like mildew?

To combat mildew odors in your dryer, wipe the drum with a mixture of white vinegar and water, and ensure proper ventilation by cleaning the lint trap and vent thoroughly. Run a no-heat cycle with a damp cloth to eliminate lingering mildew smells.

3- How to clean a dryer that smells like pee?

To rid your dryer of pee odors, wipe the drum with a mixture of white vinegar and water, then run a hot cycle with baking soda. For persistent issues, consult professionals for specialized cleaning services.

4- How to clean the inside of a dryer that smells like fragrance?

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can leave a residue on the lint trap, causing a synthetic, unpleasant sweet fragrance. Clean the lint trap thoroughly with warm water and mild detergent. Consider using a vent brush to clean the exhaust vent.

5- How can I make my dryer smell nice?

For a spa-like experience, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar or baking soda solution during your deep clean. Lavender, lemon, and tea tree are popular choices for their natural deodorizing and calming properties. You can also toss a dryer sheet infused with these essential oils into your next load for a delightful finishing touch.

With these tips and a little elbow grease, you can successfully banish the stink from your dryer.

To ensure a thorough and expert solution for your mildew-infested dryer, contact our professionals in Atlanta, GA, specializing in comprehensive dryer repair services—breathe fresh again into your laundry routine!

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