Short answer: Clean the dryer drum and lint trap thoroughly with vinegar or baking soda to remove the mildew smell. Ensure proper ventilation and regular maintenance to prevent future odors.
If you’ve ever opened your dryer and been greeted by an unpleasant, musty odor akin to mildew, you’re not alone. A dryer that smells like mildew can be frustrating and concerning, as it can transfer the unpleasant odor to your freshly laundered clothes. Fortunately, there are effective solutions to tackle this issue and leave your dryer smelling fresh and clean.
Why Does My Dryer Smells Like Mildew?
A mildew smell in your dryer can occur for several reasons:
Dryers are designed to remove moisture from clothing. If there’s excess moisture in the dryer drum due to not allowing it to air out properly after use, it can lead to mildew growth and a musty odor.
Lint and Debris:
Lint and debris can accumulate in the lint screen, exhaust vent, and even the drum itself. When combined with moisture, this can create an environment conducive to mildew growth.
Dirty Door Seal and Interior:
The door seal and other interior parts of the dryer can collect lint, dirt, and moisture over time. These can be ideal conditions for mildew to develop.
If the dryer’s exhaust vent is blocked or clogged, it can lead to poor ventilation. This can cause moisture to linger inside the dryer, promoting mildew growth.
Leftover Damp Clothing:
If you leave damp or wet clothes in the dryer for an extended period, it can create the perfect environment for mildew to thrive.
How To Clean A Dryer That Smells Like Mildew?
1. Clean the lint trap or tray:
Cleaning the lint trap or lint screen in your dryer is an essential step in removing the mildew smell. Here’s how you can do it:
Steps to Clean the Lint Trap or Lint Screen:
- Safety First: Ensure the dryer is turned off and unplugged to prevent any accidents while cleaning.
- Locate the Lint Trap or Lint Screen: Typically, the lint trap or lint screen is located either on top of the dryer or inside the door rim. It’s a mesh or screen-like filter.
- Remove the Lint Trap or Lint Screen: Gently pull out the lint trap or lint screen from its designated spot. It should come out easily.
- Remove Visible Lint: Use your fingers to pick off any visible lint or debris that you can easily access. Dispose of this lint in the trash.
- Brush or Vacuum: Take a soft brush or use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner. Insert the brush or hose into the lint trap area and carefully clean out any remaining lint or debris. Pay close attention to the nooks and crannies where lint can accumulate.
- Inspect the Lint Trap or Lint Screen: Check the lint trap or lint screen for any damage or wear. If it’s damaged or has holes, it may need to be replaced to effectively trap lint.
- Reinsert the Lint Trap or Lint Screen: Once cleaned and inspected, slide the lint trap or lint screen back into its place securely.
- Run a Test Cycle: Before resuming regular dryer use, it’s a good idea to run a test cycle with a few dry, clean towels to ensure the lint trap is properly seated and there are no obstructions.
2. Clean dryer Using a bleach:
Cleaning your dryer with bleach can be an effective way to remove stubborn odors, including mildew smells. Here’s how to do it safely:
Materials You’ll Need:
- A bucket or container
- Rubber gloves
- A cloth or sponge
- Ventilation mask (optional, but recommended for safety)
Steps to Clean Your Dryer Using Bleach:
Prepare a Bleach Solution: In a bucket or container, mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. For example, you can use 1 cup of bleach for every 10 cups of water.
Remove Clothes and Debris: Empty the dryer of any clothes or items, and check for any loose lint or debris in the drum.
Wipe Down the Drum: Dip a cloth or sponge into the bleach solution and wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping. Wipe down the inside of the dryer drum thoroughly, making sure to reach all areas, including the back and sides. This will help remove any mildew or odor-causing residues.
Clean the Door Seal: Use the bleach solution to clean the door seal and any other areas inside the dryer that may have visible mildew growth or residue.
Vent Cleaning: If possible, remove the dryer vent cover on the outside of your home and inspect it for lint and debris. Clean it if needed to ensure proper ventilation.
Allow to Air Dry: Leave the dryer door open and allow the inside to air dry completely. This will help remove any remaining bleach fumes and ensure the dryer is completely dry before using it again.
Run a Test Cycle: After the dryer is thoroughly dry and you no longer smell bleach, you can run a test cycle with a few dry, clean towels to ensure there is no residual bleach odor.
Dispose of Bleach Solution: Safely dispose of any leftover bleach solution according to local regulations. Rinse the bucket or container thoroughly after use.