What To Do If Your Laundry Or Dryer Starts Giving Off A Burnt Smell

There's nothing better than the smell of freshly washed and dried laundry. However, if you notice your laundry smells burnt rather than fresh, you should conduct further checks to discover the problem. A burnt smell originating from your clothes or the dryer itself could be caused by a minor issue such as lint build-up or bigger ones like a worn-out dryer belt or a motor past its prime.

A burnt smell could be just as simple as putting too many clothes in your dryer at a time. Whatever the reason, it's best to err on the side of caution when it comes to appliances such as your dryer. Issues like a lint build-up can become dangerous over time and may even cause a fire, so noticing irregularities is key. If you have detected a burning smell, don't worry – most dryer problems can be repaired by a professional or, in some cases, by yourself.

Determining the root cause of the smell will let you know what needs fixing

One of the easiest things to check is if you need to clean lint from your dryer. If the lint trap is full, empty it thoroughly and see if this makes a difference to the burning smell. Check the vent to see if lint has built up along the way. Another quick fix you can try is putting less clothes in your dryer. When it's overly full, a dryer can't distribute heat properly, meaning some clothes remain damp while others get too hot and smell like burning. 

If neither of these options makes a difference, it's likely there is a deeper issue at hand. Check the dryer belt next. Not all dryers have this feature, but it's more prevalent in older models. The belt should fit well around the drum, so if you notice any signs of wear and tear, such as a loose fit, cracking, or even melting, it's time to replace it. You can buy a new belt at a hardware store, but you might consider hiring a professional to ensure the replacement is fitted correctly. 

The motor could be causing problems

If it isn't the dryer belt nor a build-up of lint, and you have established that you're not overloading the drum, the burning smell could be due to a motor that's too old to function properly. The motor spins the dryer and the blower wheel, which circulates the hot air that dries your clothes. A good way to tell if your motor isn't working well is to listen for any noise.

A dying motor is usually loud and gives off an unpleasant burning smell. The sound might be similar to a buzz or growl, but sometimes, no sound is made. Another sign to watch out for is if your dryer stops before it is meant to — this, in tandem with a burning smell, is likely to be a motor issue. It may be tempting, but don't try to mend the motor yourself. In this instance, calling a professional will ensure your dryer is fully restored with no more blips down the line. It also means the job will be carried out safely.