Why Does My Clothes Dryer Smell Bad, and How Do I Fix It?

Have you ever experienced the disappointment of taking freshly washed clothes out of the dryer, only to be greeted by a musty or unpleasant smell that seems even worse than before they were washed? This frustrating and confusing situation can leave you wondering what went wrong in the laundry process. Fear not, as this comprehensive guide is here to help you understand the reasons behind your clothes dryer emitting such unpleasant odors and to offer practical solutions that will ensure your clothes come out smelling fresh and clean every time.

Always Wondered Why Your Clothes Smell After Drying? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons

  1. Overloading the dryer:Overloading the dryer can result in an inadequate flow of air and insufficient dryness throughout the load, leading to certain sections of the laundry remaining damp. When garments do not dry completely, it creates an ideal environment for the growth of mildew, which is responsible for producing unpleasant odors. This not only affects the immediate smell of the clothes but can also impact their overall cleanliness and wear 
  2. Residual lint and debris:Over time, the cotton collector and ventilation holes can become obstructed as lint and other debris gradually build up, reducing the efficiency of the dryer and increasing the likelihood of unpleasant odors lingering on your clothes even after they’ve been washed.
  3. Remaining detergent or fabric softener:Excessive use of detergent or fabric softener can result in the accumulation of a residue on clothing and inside the dryer. When this residue is heated during the drying cycle, it can emit an unpleasant odor, leaving your clothes smelling worse than before washing.
  4. Mold and mold growth:In environments where humidity is prevalent, such as inside a dryer, or when water remains after cycles of drying that aren’t thoroughly completed, conditions become ideal for the proliferation of mold. This growth of mold can lead to the development of persistent and unpleasant odors, which not only affect the smell of your clothes but also indicate potential health hazards associated with exposure to mold spores.
  5. Foreign objects in the drum:At times, during the operation of the dryer, tiny objects or materials contained within the drum may combust or emit a distinct smell, which can be particularly noticeable when the dryer is heating up or in use for extended periods.

Pinpointing the Culprit: What to Check When Your LG Dryer Smells

If you notice any strange odor emitted by the LG dryer, it is very important to quickly determine the source of the odor to avoid potential damage to electrical appliances or clothes. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you find the cause of the odor.

1. Lint Filter and Exhaust Hose

Always begin by inspecting the lint filter, ensuring it is cleaned after each use to prevent a clogged filter, which can result in inadequate airflow, leading to overheating and emitting a burnt smell. Additionally, check that the exhaust hose is not twisted or obstructed, as a constrained hose can trap moisture, potentially causing musty odors or even emitting burning smells if the dryer becomes too hot.

2. Ventilation System

It is crucial to ensure that the dryer’s air vent is not obstructed by lint or debris, as a blocked air vent can cause hot air and moisture to remain in the dryer drum, which can create a musty smell or increase the risk of fire. Furthermore, it is advisable to check the outside vent by going outside while the dryer is running to ensure there is good airflow; if the airflow seems weak, it might indicate that the vent needs to be cleaned.

3. Drum and Interior Cleaning

Sometimes, due to the nature of laundry, small items or substances can become stuck on clothing and bypass the lint trap, adhering to the drum instead, where they have the potential to burn and emit a foul odor. It’s important to regularly inspect the gaskets and seals around the drum for any trapped lint or debris that might be burning during operation. If you find any, clean the drum using a mild detergent or vinegar solution to remove the residue and eliminate the odor.

4. Mechanical Issues

If you detect a burning smell emanating from your dryer, it might indicate a problem with components such as the thermostat, heating element, motor, or belts, all of which have the potential to cause overheating and result in the emission of unpleasant odors.

Now that you understand why clothes stink after drying, follow my guide to avoid similar situations!

Ways To Prevent Your Clothes From Smelling After Drying

  1. Clean the lint trap: In order to keep the best air circulation and prevent a musty smell, it is very important to carefully remove the lint in the cotton collector before washing clothes every time.
  2. Ventilate the dryer:To prevent moisture buildup and the development of odors, it’s essential to clean the dryer vent and ensure that your dryer is properly vented outdoors, allowing the moist air and odors to escape outside instead of circulating back into your home.
  3. Clean the dryer drum:Regularly wiping down the inside of the dryer drum with a damp cloth or mild detergent solution can effectively remove any built-up residue, such as lint or fabric softener deposits, that has the potential to cause unpleasant odors in your clothes.
  4. Use the right detergent:To prevent lingering odors, ensure you use a detergent that is not only suitable for the fabrics of your clothes but also tailored to the water’s hardness in your area, as hard water can leave behind mineral deposits that contribute to unpleasant smells.
  5. Dry similar fabrics together:To avoid the transfer of strong odors from fabrics such as towels or gym clothes to other clothing items, it is advisable to avoid mixing them together during the drying process.
  6. Dry clothes immediately:it is important to promptly remove them from the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete to prevent clothes from sitting and developing odors, ensuring they are promptly folded or hung up.
  7. Use dryer sheets or balls:Add a dryer sheet or a few wool dryer balls to the dryer along with your laundry; not only will this help reduce static electricity, but it will also infuse your clothes with a delightful, fresh scent.
  8. Air out clothes:Hang your clothes outside on a clothesline or a drying rack to allow them to air out and benefit from the natural freshness of the outdoors before neatly storing them away, which can effectively eliminate any lingering odors that may have developed during the drying process.

Preventative Measures

To prevent bad odors and potential fire hazards in your dryer, it’s important to take proactive measures.

  1. Regular maintenance:Regularly inspect and clean your dryer’s lint trap, drum, and exhaust vent.
  2. Professional inspection:If you notice persistent odors despite regular cleaning, or if the dryer smells like burning, it may be time to call a professional for a thorough inspection and possible repairs.
  3. Proper ventilation:Ensure your dryer is properly vented to the outdoors. A clogged or restricted vent can lead to overheating and potentially cause a fire. Clean the vent pipe regularly to maintain good airflow.
  4. Avoid overloading:Overloading the dryer can prevent proper airflow and heating, leading to longer drying times and potential overheating. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for load sizes.

By gaining an understanding of the various causes of unpleasant dryer odors, such as lint buildup or poor ventilation, and proactively implementing these preventative measures, including regular maintenance, proper ventilation, and prompt removal of dried clothes, you can effectively ensure that not only do your clothes retain a fresh and pleasant scent, but also that your dryer operates efficiently and safely, minimizing the risk of fire hazards and prolonging its lifespan.


Understanding why your clothes might develop odors after drying is essential for maintaining your dryer’s efficiency and safety. Common causes include overloading, which can restrict airflow and lead to incomplete drying, as well as lint buildup, residue from detergents, mold growth in damp conditions, and even the presence of foreign objects in the drum. To prevent these issues, it’s important to regularly clean your dryer, including the lint trap, drum, and exhaust vent, to ensure proper airflow and reduce the risk of fire. Additionally, use the recommended amounts of cleaning products to avoid residue buildup, and ensure proper ventilation in your laundry area to prevent mold growth. By implementing these measures, you can help keep your dryer running smoothly and your clothes smelling fresh.