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Tumble Dryer Smells Like Burning: What’s Happening?

Dryers create a lot of heat. They have their own heating element inside. The heat is necessary to evaporate the water from the clothes, but too much heat is definitely bad. We, as humans, have a way of identifying when something gets dangerously hot: our sense of smell. The burning smell of burning gas coming from the dryer is always a bad sign.

If we smell something burning or burnt in the house, that’s cause for alarm. We walk around the house, sniffing around, checking outlets and electronics looking for a flammable or damaged item. If the tumble dryer smells burning, we can help you identify the problem and ways to fix it. 

dryer smells like burning

Dryer Smells Like Burning Plastic Or Rubber: Common Problems

A properly functioning dryer should never smell like burnt rubber, or plastic, or cause any burning odor. If you notice the dryer smells like burning and won’t start its work, stop using the appliance until you determine the cause. When your dryer smells like burning, it’s a good reason to contact High-End service!

Our experts identify the main causes of unpleasant odors:

1. Burnt clothing

When the clothes dryer smells like burning, you should follow the care instructions on the clothes labels. Some synthetic fabrics, such as lycra, do not handle high temperatures as cotton, and drying them at high temperatures can cause the clothes to burn. If the garment burns, it may emit a strong smell similar to burnt rubber. Reduce the dryer’s temperature setting when drying several garments of different fabrics to avoid burning them.

2. The drum does not rotate

The dryer drum is designed to rotate when hot air is blown into the dryer. The rotation allows the clothes to move continuously so that the hot air dries the clothes evenly and the clothes do not become stagnant on the hot surface. 

If the clothes stagnate, the very hot air can burn the clothes in certain areas and create a burning odor. Make sure the fuse has not blown or the safety device that prevents the dryer from overheating has not tripped. Both types of malfunctions can cause the dryer to work partially but not be completed until the parts are replaced.

3. Shorted wire

Inspect the main power cord of the dryer for defects. A frayed or bare power cord can give off a burnt rubber smell when the dryer is turned on. When electricity flows through a cord with a defective wire, it can melt the rubber protective clothing that surrounds it. Replace the faulty power cord with a new one. To avoid electric shock, stop using the dryer until the power cord is replaced.

4. Lint buildup

A buildup of lint in the dryer exhaust system can cause small fires inside the dryer when the dryer is on. The heat from the dryer gets hot enough to ignite the tiny pieces of fabric trapped in the exhaust system. As soon as you notice a burning smell coming from the dryer, stop it mid-cycle and turn off power to the appliance. 

If a fire is visible, use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. In most cases, small fires in the dryer or exhaust system will go away on their own after the lint has completely burned off. Refer to your dryer repair manual for instructions on how to thoroughly clean the dryer exhaust system.

Ways Of Troubleshooting Smelling Dryer

If a tumble dryer smells of burning, stop using it immediately. Nearly 3,000 home fires every year are caused by dryers. The smell of burning should always be taken seriously. If your clothes aren’t on fire, but you can still smell burning:

  • Check the lint net. You should clean the lint net every time you use the dryer, but the net may not catch all the lint. Inspect the lint net cavity. If you find a lint buildup, clean it inside with the vacuum cleaner attachment. 
tumble dryer smells of burning

If the lint buildup is severe, you may need to remove the dryer housing and clean the internal components. The dryer repair experts at High – End service will be happy to help you if needed, and we can come out the same day, when you call. Contact us today, say that my dryer smells like burning and schedule an appointment.

  1. Inspect your dryer vent connections. For safety, use only metal in your dryer vent system. Plastic or vinyl parts will not withstand the heat output of the dryer. Replace all non-metal parts with the best quality metal parts you can afford.
  2. Inspect the dryer vent hose. Its position is important for the dryer vents. If the dryer vent hose is kinked, folded, or compressed, it can lead to lint buildup and improper airflow. If a lot of lint accumulates inside the hose, replace the hose. Position the hose so that it is not kinked, abruptly bent, or compressed. The clearance from the back of the dryer to the wall should be four to six inches.
  3. Inspect the outside ductwork of the dryer. A buildup of lint inside the duct that carries heat from the dryer to the outside can cause overheating and a fire. Use a flashlight to check for buildup or clogs on both the inside and outside. If you see a clog, you may be able to clean it with a specialized duct cleaning tool, but if you smell burning, we recommend contacting a professional duct cleaning service to make sure it’s safe to use.
  4. Inspect the electrical cord and outlet. If a short circuit has occurred, it may cause the smell of burning rubber. You may notice blackened or burnt marks on the outlet or electrical cord. If you see signs of a short circuit, do not attempt to repair the appliance. Unplug the outlet through the circuit breaker and contact a professional appliance repair service, such as It Is Fixed.
  5. Inspect the dryer components. If the dryer’s high-temperature safety switch has failed, the dryer may be overheating. Signs of overheating include burned clothes, melted gaskets, or burn marks. If that is the problem, High-End can repair your dryer. Contact us for a service call.

If you are reading this article without any problems with the dryer, you will find the following information about how to avoid possible problems in the future. There are only 4 simple steps:

1. Start with dryer maintenance

Make sure you are already taking these steps to keep your dryer in perfect condition.

2. Don’t overload it!

Laundry may seem like a job that can’t be finished fast enough, but if you rush it, it can get loaded twice, only adding to the frustration. Give your dryer the best chance to prove itself – load it and use it according to the instructions in the manual.

3. Give your dryer a break

If you have a large family or do a lot of laundry, spread out your load by the hour to avoid hours of machine interruption. Not only will this reduce the sudden pile of clothes waiting to be folded, but it will allow you to use your dryer for years to come.

4. Check how the dryer works

Air flow is critical to the proper operation of the dryer. If the airflow is restricted, there is an increased chance that your clothes will not be clean, dry, or fresh, and there is an increased risk of electrical wiring fires. 

When buying a dryer, pay attention to reliable brands such as Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, etc. When a new dryer smells like burning, contact the store or call a specialist to determine the cause. At the first sign of any malfunction(the dryer smells like burning plastic or dryer smells like burning rubber) – contact a technician on time! That will save you a considerable amount of money and your nerves. The High-End company will help you with it!

  • Why does my tumble dryer smell like burning?
    A burning smell in a dryer can be caused by a variety of issues, including a blocked vent, a worn drum belt, or faulty heating elements
  • Is it safe to continue using my dryer if it smells like burning?
    No, it's not safe to use a dryer that emits a burning smell. Turn off the dryer and contact a professional for repairs.
  • How can I prevent my tumble dryer from smelling like burning in the future?
    Regularly cleaning the lint filter, ensuring proper ventilation, and having the dryer serviced regularly can all help prevent burning smells.

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