How to Get Rid of Odor in a Dryer

Sophie Levant

Dryer odor can be caused by many things, from food or another smelly substance slipping inside with the laundry to a household critter having made its way into the machine. As it certainly defeats the purpose of doing laundry to leave your dryer in such a state, here are ways to refresh it.


Unless you are absolutely confident about what you're doing, do not attempt to open and fiddle with the inner-workings of the dryer. Call for assistance.

Getting Rid of Dryer Odor

  1. Locate the source of the odor. Open the door and make sure no foreign substance is lingering within (note that it may have been something you left in a pants pocket). Check and clear the lint trap. If you cannot find the source itself, stop here and call a mechanic. A mouse or another creature may have crawled into the machine and died, a problem best handled professionally.

  2. Banishing surface odors tends to be easy. Empty the lint trap and clean its slots with a can of compressed air. The lint trap often captures odors along with clothing fuzzies.

  3. Prepare a solution of bleach and water. About one cup of bleach to a bucket of water should suffice. If you cannot stand the smell of bleach or are wary about using it in your home, diluted white vinegar or lemon juice will work as well.

  4. Grab some cleaning rags and get to work. Open the dryer door and clean the drum thoroughly, making sure to scrub off any residue or stains. Next, wipe down the dryer's surface.

  5. Once you've finished, run the dryer for an hour on its highest heat. Afterward, let the dryer stand with its door open for a few hours for a final airing out. By this point, you should have an odor-free machine.