Dryer smells like smoke

Updated February 21, 2017

The smell of smoke coming from a clothes dryer typically means clothing lint has become trapped in the exhaust vent, the lint screen or within the vent hose itself. Hot air from the dryer can quickly raise the temperature of lint, causing it to smoke and smoulder. Aside from the unpleasant smell, smoking lint also presents a fire hazard and should be corrected immediately. Try cleaning the dryer parts affected by clogged lint and test the appliance. If the smell persists, unplug the dryer and call for repairs.

Slide the dryer away from the wall and unplug the 240-volt power cord from the round electrical socket.

Remove the dryer's lint screen, which may be accessed by a flip-up door on the top of the appliance or inside the bottom frame of the drum door. The wire lint screen is attached to a plastic handle that pulls out of a slot in the appliance.

Pull the lint off the screen and replace the part in the dryer.

Unscrew the two clamps that hold the vent hose to the back of the dryer and to the round port in the wall, using the screwdriver.

Carry the hose outdoors with the two ends held upright, and then lower one end to shake loose any clumps of lint or clogs inside.

Remove any clogs or obstructions in the round vent on the back of the dryer. You may need to shine a flashlight in the vent to check for clogs.

Reconnect the vent hose and plug in the power cord. Test the dryer on the high-heat cycle for 10 minutes to determine if the smell of smoke persists. If you can still smell smoke, stop the appliance and unplug the power cord until you can arrange for a service technician to inspect the machine for possible repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.