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Why Is My Dryer Burning My Clothes?

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Dryers are a staple of modern conveniences, but when they malfunction, they can cause significant problems. One of the most alarming issues is when your dryer starts burning your clothes. This can be a serious issue leading to damaged clothes, and in worst-case scenarios, can even pose a fire risk. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the reasons behind this problem and how to prevent it from happening.


Your dryer may be burning your clothes due to insufficient airflow, malfunctioning internal parts like the thermostat or heating element, incorrect temperature settings, or overloading the dryer. To prevent this, ensure proper airflow by cleaning the lint screen and dryer vent regularly, avoid overloading, use the correct temperature settings, and consider getting malfunctioning parts repaired or replaced.

Common Causes of Clothes Burning in Dryers

There are several reasons why your dryer might be burning your clothes, and they are all related to heat and airflow within your dryer.

Insufficient Airflow

The most common cause of clothes burning in dryers is insufficient airflow. A dryer works by circulating hot air around your clothes, and if this air can’t escape, the dryer will overheat, leading to scorched or burnt clothes. This can be caused by lint buildup, incorrect installation, or blocked vents.

Malfunctioning Internal Parts

Internal parts of the dryer, such as the thermostat or the heating element, can malfunction, leading to overheating and subsequently burning clothes. The thermostat regulates the temperature inside the dryer, and if it malfunctions, the dryer may overheat. Similarly, the heating element heats the dryer air before it enters the drum. If it buckles or dislodges, it can cause the element to overheat, leading to burnt clothes.

Incorrect Temperature Settings

Using the wrong temperature setting for the type of fabric being dried can also lead to burnt clothes. Different fabrics require different heat levels, and using a setting that’s too hot for the fabric can cause scorching or burning.

Overloading the Dryer

Overloading the dryer can restrict airflow, causing the dryer to overheat and burn clothes. It also prevents clothes from tumbling freely, causing them to be in extensive contact with the heated drum, which can result in burn marks.

Preventive Measures

To prevent your dryer from burning your clothes, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Clean the lint screen before each load to ensure proper airflow and prevent overheating.
  2. Don’t overload the dryer. Overloading can cause poor airflow and longer drying times, increasing the risk of burning clothes.
  3. Regularly clean the dryer drum to remove any residue or stains that could damage clothes.
  4. Inspect and clean the dryer vent to ensure it’s free from lint, debris, and any obstructions that could restrict airflow and cause overheating.
  5. Check for proper installation to make sure the dryer is installed correctly and that the venting system is in good condition.
  6. Use automatic temperature control if your dryer has this feature. This can help prevent overheating and burning clothes.


A dryer burning clothes is a serious issue that needs immediate attention. However, it can be prevented by ensuring proper airflow, regular cleaning and maintenance, and using the correct temperature settings. If the problem persists despite taking these precautions, it’s advisable to consult a professional technician to diagnose and fix the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lint screen and where can I find it in my dryer?

The lint screen, also known as a lint trap or lint filter, is a component of your dryer that catches and collects lint from your clothes during the drying process. It’s typically located on the inside of the dryer’s door or on the top of the appliance. Always refer to your dryer’s manual for the exact location.

How frequently should I clean my dryer vent?

It’s recommended to clean your dryer vent at least once a year. However, if you use your dryer frequently or dry clothes with more lint, you might need to clean it more often.

How can I tell if my dryer is overheating?

There are several signs that your dryer might be overheating. These include clothes that are extremely hot to the touch after drying, a burning smell, or the dryer itself feeling hot to the touch. If you notice any of these signs, stop using the dryer immediately and seek professional help.

Can I fix a malfunctioning thermostat or heating element myself?

While it’s possible to replace these parts yourself if you’re handy, it’s generally recommended to hire a professional. These are complex repairs that involve working with your dryer’s electrical system, and incorrect installation can lead to further damage or potential safety hazards.

What is automatic temperature control in a dryer?

Automatic temperature control is a feature in some dryers that uses sensors to monitor the temperature inside the dryer and adjust it as needed. This prevents the dryer from overheating and can help protect your clothes from damage.

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