Promo Code Today: Book Online and Save $35

What to Do if Your Dryer Smells like Burning?

Oleg Chudnovski, CEO

Technically Reviewed by Oleg Chudnovski, CEO on Apr 09, 2024 | Written by Olga Larina

Authorized repair service for most home appliance manufacturers

When there’s a burning smell coming from your dryer, your dryer should be unplugged and stopped using immediately. Look for smoke or discoloration, which are obvious indicators of burning or overheating. Allow it to cool completely before examining it more. The scent is frequently caused by electrical issues, overheated components, or lint accumulation. Inspect the drum and heating element for any debris or damage, then thoroughly clean the vent and lint trap. Get an expert to look it over if you are unable to resolve the issue.

So, let’s explore more about the potential causes of that burning smell and how they can be fixed from the view of our experience.

What Does it Mean When Your Dryer Smells Like It’s Burning

If your dryer smells like it’s burning and won’t start, we recommend unplugging the appliance immediately and calling Fix Appliances CA. In most cases, though, the dryer will still work fine when your dryer smells burnt. Usually, the issue can be resolved with some basic maintenance.

Reason 1: Lint Trap

One of the most common reasons for that dryer burning smell is a lint build-up in your lint trap. We’re often surprised to discover how many homeowners aren’t aware that the lint trap on a dryer should be emptied after every use. It only takes a few seconds, but it will keep your machine operating well, and you’re less likely to experience that burning smell.

Reason 2: Lint in The Ventilation Hose

Your lint trap isn’t the only possible cause of a burning smell coming from your dryer. Lint can also build up in the vent hose that leads from your dryer to the outside of your house. This usually happens over an extended period.

The best way to avoid this is to create a regular cleaning schedule for yourself. If you clean the pipe at least once a year, you’ll likely avoid excess build-up that can cause that burning smell and a potential fire hazard. If you want to be safe, consider cleaning the vent pipe every 6 months.

Reason 3: Vent Pipe Exterior

If you’ve ever sat outside on your patio on warm summer nights and been overwhelmed by the smell of freshly washed clothing, there’s a good chance you’re sitting close to a vent pipe cover on the exterior of your home. Lint also tends to build up at this exit point as well. You can clean it out with a small brush in a few seconds — just be sure to watch for any insects, wasps, hornets, or other creatures that might be living there. If you clear this exterior section of the vent pipe every couple of months, you should be fine.


Do I Need A New Appliance If There’s a Burning Smell From My Dryer?

How Old is Your Dryer?

If you’ve cleared away all of the lint from the vent pipe and lint trap and you can still smell smoke when you turn your dryer on, you may have some more problems to worry about. First, consider the age of your dryer. All appliances have a shelf life. If you’ve been using the same dryer for 5 to 10 years, it may just be nearing the end of its life cycle. When that happens, its moving parts may begin to wear, and it can become too expensive to fix.

Has Your Dryer Ever Been Serviced Professionally?

Before you do throw in the towel on your old dryer, you may want to consider a service call first. A qualified professional can quickly identify the problem, and it may not be as expensive as you expected. At worst, they can tell you if it really is time to purchase a new appliance after troubleshooting all potential reasons why your dryer smells like burning.

Are there External Issues that Might Be Causing the Dryer Burning Smell?

One more avenue you may want to investigate before giving up on your older dryer is to look at any potential external causes that could be why the dryer has a burning smell. Be cautious. If you see any sign of smoke anywhere, unplug your appliance immediately and consult a professional. You may be dealing with a faulty electric outlet, and that’s when it’s time to call in an electrician.

5 Common Problems That Can Cause a Burning Smell in Your Dryer

Problem 1: Dryer Smells Like Burnt Plastic

If your dryer emits an odour reminiscent of burnt plastic or rubber, inspect the power cord linking your dryer to the electrical outlet closely. If the protective covering over the cord has worn through, that smell may be the outer layer of the cord burning. This is both a fire hazard and a safety issue. Turn off the dryer, disconnect the power to the outlet, unplug the cord, and seek professional assistance.

Problem 2: The Clothes You’re Washing May Have Gas On Them

One thing that may be causing a burning smell that isn’t often considered is the clothes you have in the dryer. If you have gasoline or other flammable chemicals on that clothing, the heat from the dryer could react with it to create the strong smell you’re being exposed to. It’s probably best to consider hand washing those clothes and air drying them outside.

Problem 3: The Belt Might Be Slipping

Inside every dryer is a motor that turns the dryer drum using a thick belt. Dryer belts don’t last forever. As they begin to wear over time, they may start to slip. This is one of the most common causes of that burning smell you may face. If the drum in your dryer stops spinning, there’s a good chance that a worn belt is a reason.

Problem 4: It Could Be the Motor

So, just what causes a dryer to smell like smoke? If you’ve looked at all other options, such as a build-up of lint, a potentially frayed power cord, or a faulty electrical outlet, it could be the dryer’s motor overheating. A professional technician may be able to replace it for you, but it could be cheaper and easier to buy a new dryer at this point.

Problem 5: Have a Professional Check the Thermostat

Most of us are familiar with what a thermostat does. There’s one in every modern home that regulates the temperature inside. Your dryer also has a thermostat that performs the same function — it regulates heat in your machine.

If the internal temperature of your dryer becomes too hot, the thermostat sends a signal for the dryer to shut down. If there’s a burning smell and you can’t identify any other causes, then it may be the thermostat. You should consult a professional before attempting to use your dryer again.

Contact FIX Appliances CA for Help With That Burning Smell From Your Dryer

If you’ve done all of your due diligence and checked every obvious reason for that burning smell from your dryer and you’re still scratching your head, call Fix Appliances CA.

We’re a trusted and reliable company with over 18+ years of experience in Toronto appliance repair and the GTA areas. We’re always honest and fair, and we’re available when you need us. Call today, and we’ll send a factory-trained technician to your home for a reliable estimate before we begin any repairs. We offer both residential and commercial appliance repair services, whether you prefer to call us at 888-242-0777 or use our online service request form for your dryer professional consultation.

Date of page creation: October 01, 2020

Page update date: April 09, 2024


What Our Customers Say About Us

Discover how Fix Appliances maintains a 5-star service record since day one.

Dima was very knowledgeable and a good worker. Explanation of what was not working and why some parts had to be replaced. Dryer sound and how it now works hasn’t been this good for a while. Same day service was great. Thanks, fix appliance and Dima!

rating  acaughlin, Barrie
acaughlin, Barrie
February 16, 2024

“Very responsive and honest. Unfortunately, my gas dryer could not be repaired, but expert from Fix Appliance CA was very upfront about the situation and advised me appropriately. I will definitely use them again.”

rating Margaret, Oshawa
Margaret, Oshawa
Gas Dryer
October 30, 2023

FAQ: Top Frequently Asked Questions

If you notice a burning smell coming from your dryer, the first step is to unplug the appliance and assess the potential causes. It's essential to remain calm and identify the issue before taking any action.
A burning smell from your dryer is often caused by lint build-up in the lint trap, vent hose, or vent pipe exterior. In most cases, it's safe to continue using the dryer after addressing the issue through basic maintenance.
The decision to replace your dryer depends on factors such as the age of the appliance and whether it has been serviced professionally. It's advisable to consider a service call before concluding that a replacement is necessary.
Before considering a new dryer, investigate potential external causes, such as faulty electrical outlets or a worn power cord. It's important to unplug the appliance immediately and seek professional assistance if you suspect external issues.
Common issues include a frayed power cord, clothing with flammable substances, a slipping dryer belt, an overheating motor, or a malfunctioning thermostat. If you've ruled out other causes and continue to experience a burning smell, professional assistance is recommended.

More Problems & Solutions from Our Blog

Why is My LG Dryer Not Heating?

Why is My LG Dryer Not Heating?


Several users may wonder why their LG dryer is heating up. The problem may be a clogged vent that needs cleaning so a...

How to Fix LG Dryer Error Codes D80, D90, and D95?

How to Fix LG Dryer Error Codes D80, D90, and D95?


LG dryers are premium-quality devices that provide superior safety features. Their key safety feature is to identify ...

What does dc Mean on Samsung Dryer?

What does dc Mean on Samsung Dryer?


Have you ever been in the middle of laundry day, only to be halted by a perplexing Samsung dryer DC code flashing on ...