dryer smells like burning

Why Does Your Dryer Smells Like Burning? A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever noticed an unpleasant burning odor emanating from your dryer? This alarming issue can cause concern for anyone, as it might indicate a potential fire hazard or damage to your appliance. In this article, we’ll delve into the various reasons why your dryer might emit a burning smell and provide practical solutions to address this problem. So, let’s get started and unravel the mystery of the “dryer smells like burning” dilemma.

What are the Dryer Components?

Dryer components refer to the integral parts and mechanisms within a clothes dryer that work together to facilitate the drying process. These components include but are not limited to the heating element, lint trap, ventilation system, belts, bearings, and various electrical and mechanical components.

Each plays a crucial role in ensuring the efficient and safe drying of laundry, making them essential elements of the dryer’s functionality. Understanding these components is key to maintaining and troubleshooting dryer-related issues.

1. Heating Element

The heating element is responsible for generating the heat needed to dry your clothes effectively. It consists of coils that can get extremely hot during the drying cycle.

2. Lint Trap and Ventilation

The lint trap collects lint and debris from your clothes, while the ventilation system expels hot, moist air from the dryer. Both play a crucial role in maintaining safe and efficient drying.

3. Belts and Bearings

The dryer belts and bearings are responsible for ensuring the smooth rotation of the drum inside the dryer. Any issues with these components can lead to friction and overheating.

What are the Reasons Behind Dryer Smells Like Burning?

Now that we’ve covered the dryer’s key components, let’s explore the possible reasons why your dryer may emit a burning odor. Also check electric dryer smells like gas guide.

1. Accumulated Lint

One of the most common culprits behind a burning smell is a buildup of lint within the dryer’s interior. Lint is highly flammable and can ignite when exposed to high temperatures.

2. Overheating Heating Element

If the heating element malfunctions and overheats, it can produce a burning odor. This often occurs due to wear and tear over time.

3. Friction in Belts or Bearings

As belts and bearings wear out, they can create friction, leading to a burning smell. Regular maintenance can prevent this issue.

4. Foreign Objects

Sometimes, foreign objects like coins or small items of clothing can get stuck in the dryer’s drum or vent, causing friction and emitting a burning odor.

dryer smells like burning

what are the Troubleshooting and Solutions?

Now that we’ve identified potential causes let’s explore solutions to eliminate the burning smell from your dryer.

1. Clean the Lint Trap

Regularly clean the lint trap before or after each use to prevent lint buildup. Additionally, vacuum the lint filter and the area around it.

  • Unplug the dryer from the power source.
  • Remove the lint screen and wash it with warm, soapy water. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
  • Employ a vacuum cleaner with a narrow attachment or a lint brush to clean inside the lint trap housing.
  • Carefully disconnect the vent duct connected to the back of the dryer.
  • Inspect the vent duct for lint buildup and remove any accumulated debris.
  • Thoroughly clean the interior of the vent duct using a vacuum cleaner or lint brush.
  • Reconnect the vent duct securely.
  • Reinsert the cleaned lint screen.
  • Plug the dryer back into the power source.

2. Check the Heating Element

If you suspect an issue with the heating element, it’s best to consult a professional technician for inspection and repair.

  • Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  • Remove the back or front panel of the dryer, referring to your dryer’s manual for guidance.
  • Locate the heating element, usually a coiled wire assembly.
  • Use a multimeter to perform continuity tests on the heating element. Lack of continuity indicates a faulty element.
  • Consult a professional technician if the heating element tests as faulty.
  • Reassemble the dryer by securing the panel back in place.
  • Plug the dryer back into the power source.

3. Lubricate Belts and Bearings

Apply appropriate lubrication to the belts and bearings according to your dryer’s maintenance manual. This can reduce friction and eliminate the burning smell.

  • Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  • Access the dryer’s interior by removing the front or rear panel (consult your manual for specific instructions).
  • Locate the drive belt and inspect it for wear and tension. Adjust the tension as needed per your dryer’s maintenance manual.
  • Examine the bearings for signs of wear, such as excessive noise or wobbling. Replace worn bearings.
  • Reassemble the dryer by securing the panel back in place.
  • Plug the dryer back into the power source.

4. Inspect the Drum

Check the drum for any foreign objects and remove them to prevent further damage or odors.

  • Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  • Refer to your dryer’s manual to learn how to access the drum and interior components.
  • Check the alignment of the drum. If it wobbles or appears misaligned, adjust it for proper alignment.
  • Remove the drum and inspect the interior components for lint, debris, or residue.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning of the interior, including components like the blower fan and motor.
  • Apply a deodorizing agent or dryer-specific cleaning solution to eliminate odors.
  • Reassemble the dryer according to your manual’s instructions.
  • Plug the dryer back into the power source.


A burning smell from your dryer can be concerning, but with proper care and maintenance, you can address this issue effectively. Regularly cleaning the lint trap, checking the heating element, lubricating belts and bearings, and inspecting the drum can help keep your dryer running smoothly and odor-free.

FAQ about Dryer Smells Like Burning

Is a burning smell from my dryer dangerous?

A burning smell can indicate potential issues, so it’s essential to address them promptly. While not always dangerous, ignoring the problem can lead to safety hazards.

Can I clean the lint trap less frequently?

It’s best to clean the lint trap before or after each use to prevent lint buildup, maintain dryer efficiency, and reduce the risk of a burning smell.

Can I fix a heating element issue myself?

It’s safer to have a professional technician inspect and repair heating element problems to avoid any electrical hazards.

How often should I lubricate belts and bearings?

Consult your dryer’s maintenance manual for specific recommendations. Generally, lubrication should be done periodically to keep the components running smoothly.

What should I do if the burning smell persists despite troubleshooting?

If the issue persists, it’s crucial to stop using the dryer and seek professional assistance to prevent potential safety risks.

Is it okay to smell a burn from the dryer?

It’s not okay to consistently smell burning from your dryer. While occasional odors during the first few cycles of a new dryer can be normal as it “breaks in,” a persistent burning smell may indicate a problem that needs attention. It’s crucial to investigate and address the issue to prevent potential hazards.

Why is there a weird smell coming from my dryer?

A weird or unusual smell from your dryer can be attributed to various factors. One common cause is a buildup of lint, which can catch fire if left unchecked. Overheating components, foreign objects in the drum, or problems with the ventilation system can also contribute to strange odors. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help mitigate these issues.

What to do if your dryer starts smoking?

If your dryer starts emitting smoke, immediately turn it off and unplug it from the power source. Smoking indicates a serious problem, possibly an electrical issue or a malfunctioning component. Contact a professional appliance repair technician to inspect and repair the dryer to avoid potential fire hazards.

Why is the belt burning in my dryer?

A burning belt in your dryer can result from excessive friction due to wear and tear or misalignment. It’s essential to stop using the dryer immediately to prevent further damage and safety risks. Have a technician inspect the dryer, replace the damaged belt, and address any underlying issues to ensure safe operation. Regular maintenance can help prolong the life of dryer components and prevent such incidents.

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