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Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Terry Spencer


Four things that hurt your dryer

1. Not cleaning the lint filter

People often ask, “Are fabric softener sheets bad for my dryer?”

No, fabric softener sheets are not “bad” for your dryer. However, chemicals from the sheets may leave residue on the lint filter (a.k.a. lint screen). If the lint filter is not cleaned off from time to time, it may become partially clogged and restrict proper air flow. The residue could also coat the electronic moisture sensor, which has the important job of sensing moisture in clothing. If this sensor is damaged, it will send inaccurate messages  about the presence of moisture and disrupt drying time, leading to big problems. Tweet this tip.

You can clean the filter using a little bit of detergent and a soft-bristle brush. You can wipe off the sensor with a cotton ball and a small amount of rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning out lintCounting sheets
Sometimes softener sheets lodge themselves within the lint filter and the lint filter housing or over the vents on the inside of the dryer. Pay attention when you remove a load of clothes from your dryer. If the sheets are missing, find them. Tweet this tip.

How often should you remove lint from the lint filter?

You should remove lint after every load. As your dryer’s owner manual will emphasize, this step is extremely important to its proper functioning.

A few times per year, it’s also wise to clean lint from the chute that houses the lint filter. Pieces of lint inevitably settle in there as you remove and replace the filter. This long-handle brush works well for this. You can also use this long vacuum hose attachment to do the job fast, too.

2. Overloading it.

Read your dryer’s owner manual for specific information about load sizes. Overloading your dryer can cause damage to the drum, bearings and other important components. Additionally, an overloaded dryer will not properly dry clothes. You’ll find that the clothing may be overly dried in some spots and damp in other areas. Tweet this tip.

3. Keeping it level

All appliances in your home should be level in order to work effectively. Having an unlevel dryer may lead to premature wearing of critical parts. Place a bubble level on the dryer to check this.

Follow your dryer’s owner manual for instructions on how to properly and safely adjust the dryer’s feet to attain the most level position possible. Most laundry room floors are, unfortunately, rarely level themselves.

4. Leaving lint buildup in venting tube

Lint, dryer venting system blockage and heat are a lethal combination. Every year, clothes dryers cause thousands of major residential fires in the U.S.

So, we’re not exaggerating when we tell people that it’s a serious necessity. A venting system should be cleaned out from inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap at least once per year. Our bestselling 20-foot cleaning brush enables you to easily remove lint buildup from within the entire tube. If you have a gas dryer, consider  Lint Alert. It monitors for lint build-up and other blockage and alerts you if there is a fire risk with your gas dryer. Does it work? Consumer Reports says yes.

Lint Alert

Lint Alert monitors gas dryers for lint build up and alerts you so that you can check the buildup situation.

Pieces of lint inevitably settle in there as you remove and replace the lint filter. This long-handle brush works well for this.  It’s extremely common for lint to build up within the dryer, too. You should disassemble the dryer and remove the lint from the dryer’s interior using a vacuum. You can also use this long vacuum hose attachment. Tweet this tip.

Long-handled bristle brush

Our bestselling long-handled bristle brush makes cleaning out a dryer’s lint filter chute a quick and easy job.

Related helpful information

7 dryer care facts to keep your home safe and save you money

How to prevent pilling on your clothing

9 tips for washing machine care


Maintenance tips

Learn something from this post? Share it! Tweet this.

Something broken? We’ll help.’s free online repair help system will help you find the most likely causes of dryer problems as well as the correct, recommended replacement parts. There you’ll also find how-to repair help information with 1,000+ expertly-produced videos. has replacement parts for  dryer, washing machines, refrigerators, ice machines, ranges, stove tops, ovens, dishwashers, lawn mowers, chainsaws, furnaces and more.


Since its founding in 1999,® has helped three million do-it-yourselfers save 225 million dollars in repair costs by successfully repairing appliances and outdoor power equipment on their own.

RepairClinic’s free online repair help system empowers do-it-yourselfers to fix common problems associated with major home appliances, outdoor power equipment, HVAC equipment, water heaters, floor care, and more. DIYers can enter a model number to choose from a list of common symptoms for that particular model to then troubleshoot and watch expertly-produced videos to learn the most likely causes and conditions and purchase the correct, recommended part. stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, snowblowers, leaf blowers, edgers and many other products.

Since 1999, the company has served more than three million customers including homeowners, first-time and beginner DIYers, advanced DIYers, appliance repair professionals, small engine repair shops and landscaping and lawn care business owners. RepairClinic orders are backed by a 365 Days. Period.® return policy that enables customers to return any part. Of the more than one million parts available on the website, 95 percent of parts ordered are in stock and guaranteed to ship the same business day. RepairClinic ships within the United States and Canada.

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About the Author

Terry Spencer is an in-house appliance and HVAC expert for He has 29 years of expertise in appliances and HVAC equipment repair. Prior to joining RepairClinic in 2011, Terry was a respected, well-known technician at one of metro Detroit’s top residential appliance and HVAC repair businesses. Enthusiastic about fixing things and helping people, Terry enjoys his position with RepairClinic. He has a leading role in the development of RepairClinic’s how-to repair videos and repair help content. He’s also frequently called on for technical advice and press information for journalists and bloggers. He regularly completes extensive manufacturer training for appliances, HVAC equipment and outdoor power equipment. Terry has a refrigeration license and holds multiple certifications for an array of products. As a child, Terry was known to take appliances apart simply to see how they worked. While growing up on a farm, he taught himself how to repair small engines. Terry enjoys creating content that reaches and helps so many people solve problems on their own. In collaboration with colleagues, he develops and leads frequent Customer Care staff training programs for appliances, HVAC equipment and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not at RepairClinic, Terry spends time with his wife and children. An avid outdoorsman, Terry also enjoys Michigan’s seasons. He and his family reside in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area.

12 Responses to Four things that hurt your dryer

  1. Erin Walsh says:

    I love all of the tips, but if you could help me figure out why my dryer door keeps popping open in the middle of a load I would love you forever.

    • Jody Lamb says:

      Hi Erin, thank you for the comment! It sounds like your dryer’s door catch is worn out and needs to be replaced. With your dryer’s model number handy, head to and check out our repair help information. We wish you a fast and successful repair! Thank you!

  2. renae Petersen says:

    Very helpful info! We need to get the long brush to get inside the vent andwash off the filter. We remove the lint but I don’t think we have ever washed it!

    • Jody Lamb says:

      Thanks for reading, Renae! Yes, if you take a close look at the filter, you’ll note that the tiny holes can get easily clogged by residue. Cleaning it will make a big difference.

  3. shay says:

    I’m sharing this info with my college grads who’ve returned to the nest while looking for employment. They do their own laundry, but don’t understand why they can’t superload the washing machine and dryer like they did the commercial appliances at school. Well said – thank you very much!!

    • Jody Lamb says:

      Great idea! Yes, home washing machines are very different from their commercial counterparts! Have a great summer with your fresh college grads!

  4. paul says:

    This a great site to check for all your appliance parts or search for repair suggestions before tearing down your machines. I tell everyone of this site and give out the extra magnet cards to my friends.

    Thanks for such an easy to read and follow up service you have..


  5. Kelli says:

    I consistently clean out the lint trap and try to not overload it, but I’d never heard of the tip about making sure it’s level. I’m going to check mine today!

  6. Shaun Mclain says:

    This is nice information site. Thanks for Sharing.

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