Dryer Not Drying Clothes? Common Causes and Solutions

Troubleshooting a Dryer That’s Not Drying Clothes

A dryer that’s not drying clothes properly can be a frustrating problem. It can lead to damp, musty-smelling clothes and even damage your dryer. But before you call a repair person, there are a few things you can check and fix yourself. In this article, we’ll go through some common causes and solutions to help you get your dryer back in working order.

Common Causes of a Dryer Not Drying Clothes

Here are some of the most common reasons why your dryer might not be drying your clothes effectively:

  • Clogged Dryer Vent: This is the most common reason for a dryer not drying properly. Over time, lint and debris can build up in the dryer vent, restricting airflow and making it difficult for the dryer to exhaust hot air. This can cause clothes to take longer to dry or remain damp.
  • Faulty Thermostat: The thermostat in your dryer controls the temperature of the heating element. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, it may not be reaching the correct temperature, resulting in clothes that don’t dry properly.
  • Broken Heating Element: The heating element is responsible for generating heat in the dryer. If the heating element is broken or faulty, it won’t be able to heat up the drum, and your clothes won’t dry.
  • Damaged Dryer Drum: A damaged or cracked dryer drum can allow moisture to escape, making it difficult for clothes to dry properly.
  • Overloading the Dryer: Overloading the dryer can prevent adequate airflow, making it difficult for the dryer to dry clothes efficiently. It’s important to only fill the dryer to about 75% capacity.

Troubleshooting and Solutions

1. Check the Dryer Vent

The first thing you should do is check the dryer vent. To do this:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. Remove the dryer vent hose from the back of the dryer.
  3. Inspect the vent hose for any blockages or kinks.
  4. If you find any blockages, use a dryer vent cleaning kit or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean them out.
  5. Check the vent outside your home for any blockages or obstructions.
  6. If the vent is clear, reconnect the dryer vent hose and run a test cycle.

2. Check the Thermostat

If the dryer vent is clear and the dryer is still not drying clothes properly, the thermostat might be faulty. To test the thermostat, you can use a multimeter. If the thermostat is not reading the correct resistance, it needs to be replaced.

3. Check the Heating Element

If the thermostat is working properly, the heating element might be broken. To check the heating element, you can use a multimeter. If the heating element is not reading any resistance, it needs to be replaced.

4. Inspect the Dryer Drum

If the heating element and thermostat are working properly, the dryer drum might be damaged. To inspect the dryer drum, look for cracks or holes. If you find any damage, the dryer drum needs to be replaced.

5. Avoid Overloading the Dryer

Make sure you’re not overloading the dryer. Overloading can prevent proper airflow and make it difficult for the dryer to dry clothes efficiently. Only fill the dryer to about 75% capacity.

Safety Precautions

When troubleshooting a dryer, it’s important to prioritize safety. Always disconnect the dryer from the power source before working on it. Never use water to clean the dryer vent or any other part of the dryer.


By following these steps, you can troubleshoot a dryer that’s not drying clothes properly and get it back in working order. If you’re not comfortable performing these repairs yourself, it’s always best to consult a qualified appliance repair technician.