Drying Heavy Blankets & Damaging the Dryer
While many dryers have large capacity drums and might even have specific cycles for large, bulky items, not all blankets are meant for drying in a residential unit. If your blanket is extremely large or extremely heavy, it is best to take it to a Laundromat or dry cleaner for cleaning and drying, otherwise it may damage the clothes dryer.
Blankets that are too large or too heavy for the dryer can cause the unit to overheat, which can affect or even break the motor. While many dryers have an automatic thermal protection sensor that will shut the dryer off when it is overheating, the damage might already be done. Turn off and unplug the dryer and wait 30 minutes. If after restoring power, the dryer does not work, unplug the unit and contact a service professional.
Drying large, heavy items such as blankets regularly might eventually cause the heating element to burn out. This is particularly likely if the blankets are dried at a high temperature and the blankets exceed the capacity of the dryer drum. Once the heating element has burned out, it will need to be replaced.
Like the heating element, overuse of the dryer, overheating or exceeding the capacity of the dryer can cause the thermal fuse to blow. The thermal fuse cannot be reset but it can be replaced by a professional.
Overloading the dryer with a large, heavy basket can force the belt that turns the tub to slip. If this happens, the dryer will not be able to spin and may make some screeching or whining noises. Try to redistribute the blanket evenly in the tub and restart the dryer, but if this does not work, contact a repair technician for assistance. The belt may need to be fixed or even replaced.
A system of drive and transmission belt pulleys turn the drive belt. If these pulleys get worn, cracked or damaged because of the weight of the heavy blankets, the belt will no longer be able to turn and the pulley will not function. This will require professional repair and assistance.
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images