17 answers

Stinky Dryer

My dryer has a terrible smell. It smells even when it is empty. I use Downy in my final rinse of washing, and the clothes come out of the washer smelling great. Then I put them in the dryer and they come out smelly. The smell is almost like when you have baby spit-up all over your clothes. Most of mine usually do have spit up on going into the wash, but I don't think that's it since they come out of the wash good. I clean off my dryer screen after each wash. How can I get the downy smell to stay and the musty old-dishrag smell to stay away?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

That is really funny that you posted this. today when I was folding the laundry I noticed the same thing. I've been reading the post and I was wondering how much vinegar do they recomend in the rinse cycle.

More Answers

Hi C.,
My husband suggested if it is a gas dryer it might not be venting properly. Like the other moms said there could be something that crawled into your dryer vent from outside. Do you use dryer sheets? Run some water over your lint catcher to see if it is clogged sometimes that gets clogged because the dryer sheets have softner on them too if it is clogged then you might have some gunk build up in your dryer too. Sometimes if you use to much softner it makes your clothes smelly especially towels because they need the extra rinse. I hope some of this might work. Good luck!!

Your Dryer vent, the hose that leads to outside, probably clogged. It needs to be snaked out. I had that problem and you wouldn't believe all the wet lint that was stuck in there. You wouldn't think a 4" vent would get clogged, but it does. Once you clean that out you will amazed at how fast your clothes dry again and saves you money!

I just had this problem with my towels. They were fine right from the washer but by the time we went to use them they smelled musty and gross. I was about to buy all new towels but decided to try Clorox OxyMagic powder for the washer. So far, so good! They smelled clean coming out and when we use them...even the next day when we re-use them. I could still smell my detergent on them too! What a far better result...3.99 for the Oxy vs. all new towels!!


Is there any chance a small animal crawled into your exterior vent and died? The reason I'm asking is that a fellow friend had a squirrel do just that and she said her dryer stank for a week before she figured it out and removed the animal. Hopefully, it's nothing gross or costly.

I probably wouldn`t use dryer sheets anymore! They are terrible on your dryer! Put some water in the lint trp and see if it drains out--if it doesnt thats from the dryer sheet build up. It`ll ruin your dryer.
Good luck

Hi C. - are you sure there is not a dead animal in the vent pipe to the outdoors? We had a dead bird in there once and it took us awhile to figure that out. Besides being smelly it can be a fire hazard, too. If that is it you'll want to be sure to put some sort of breathable trap or vent over the opening so it only opens when the dryer is on. The bird try every year to get back into our pipe!! Good luck, hope it's that easy to fix. Beth

I have the smell if I keep the washer door closed. Saw your question and I did a Google and this was the 1st hit. Common problem! http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf452244.tip.html

6 loads a day!!!???

i have the same thig to me happend. I saw it more in my towels and my jeans. I found this product that you put in your washer. You let it sit in washer over night. it might take a couple washes to get all fungus out. I have used it and it workeds. The Fungus is cause from over uses of the detergent and fabric softner. we should only be useing a 1/4 cup of detergent. we have notice a big differens in the clothes. let me know if you want the info where I got this stuff at.

Hi C.,

Check the vent in your dryer, it is attached from the back of the dryer to the outside. Follow it through with a vent brush, and then check the outside to make sure a small animal didn't get in there. Groos, yes, but it does happen. If the vent is clean, I suggest you contact Joe Gagnon, appliance doctor, a columnist with the Eccentric Newspaper (in SE Michigan), and he also has a Saturday Morning Radio Show based in Ann Arbor, Am dial 1600. You can call him now, he is amazing, his role is to help people fix their own appliances. He calls himself the appliance doctor. Good luck!

That is really funny that you posted this. today when I was folding the laundry I noticed the same thing. I've been reading the post and I was wondering how much vinegar do they recomend in the rinse cycle.

Make sure you don't put laundry into the basket or whatever you do wet. Don't let them just set neither. That is how they get the musty smell. You also may want to try putting a little liquid bleach in the wash as well before adding clothes.

We try to hang stuff that is wet if we don't wash it right away. Hope this helps!

M. H.

Use Febreze? After that, I'd call the manufacturer, or email them, and see what they have to say.

I have the same problem. Its not your dryer. Its the washing machine believe it or not. My clothes smell good while they are wet, but once dried they have a funky smell. Someone told me to add vinager to the rinse cycle and IT WORKS. Your clothes will not have that awesome downy smell as strongly, but will not smell of vinagr either. Its the over use of soap in the water, and it builds up creating that mildewy smell.

all of your laundry probably has detergent buildup. One way to find out for sure is to run a wash cycle without adding any detergent at all. If you still get soap bubbles, you know you have buildup. Let the wash cycle finish and then, if you feel the need to rinse with vinegar you can do that, too. I would recommend doing this for every load you put in until you don't get that smell anymore. I had to do this to all my cloth diapers because the detergent buildup contributes to ammonia buildup. If you want to defunk your machines without using any weird chemical concoctions, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle of water and mist into your dryer, let air dry. Tea Tree Oil is a natural anti-fungal/anti-bacterial. You can also wipe down your washing machine with the same solution. I know in my washing machine there tends to be lint buildup at the top of the spinner and that starts to smell musty if I don't clean it up often enough.

Good Luck!

Check your dryer hose and the opening to the outside of your hoouse.

I have heard of critters getting in there and dying. My neighbor had a opossum in hers.

Also, don't let wet laundry sit overnight.

I saw a response about vinegar in your washer to help clean ( I do that too occasionally) , but have you tried setting a bowl of vinegar in the dryer overnight? I haven't had this problem, but I have used it in my microwave because it seems like the heat/steam generated almost can "bake" a bad smell into it. This may have happened if you dried colthing that had some mildew(?). Good luck!

Ok this may be silly, but.......... can you smell the bad smell outside and around the dryer too? Maybe a critter has made it's way inside somewhere and then went on to greener pastures!!! I live in the country, critters are always around us here!

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