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How Long Can a Dryer Sit Unused?

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Dryers are an essential household appliance that many of us rely on for our laundry needs. But what happens when a dryer sits unused for an extended period? How long can a dryer sit unused? In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore these questions, provide practical advice, and offer maintenance tips for ensuring your dryer’s longevity.


A dryer can sit unused for several months or even years, just like a washing machine, as long as it’s properly prepared and stored. However, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain the dryer even during periods of inactivity to prevent issues like rust, dust and lint accumulation, mechanical wear, and electrical issues. Before using the dryer again after a long period, a thorough inspection and cleaning are necessary.

The Lifespan of an Unused Dryer

While there isn’t a specific time frame for how long a dryer can sit unused, it’s generally safe to assume that if a washing machine can sit unused for several months or even years when properly prepared and stored, a dryer can also sit unused for a similar duration. However, proper preparation and storage are crucial to avoid any potential damage or issues.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of an Unused Dryer

Several factors can affect the longevity of a dryer when it sits unused for extended periods:

  1. Humidity: High humidity levels can cause rust and corrosion in the dryer’s components, leading to reduced efficiency and potential breakdowns.
  2. Dust and lint accumulation: Dust and lint can accumulate in the dryer’s vent system, lint trap, and other components, reducing airflow and efficiency. This can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards.
  3. Mechanical wear: Dryers have moving parts, such as the drum and motor, which can wear out over time. If the dryer is not used regularly, these parts may not receive the necessary lubrication, leading to increased wear and reduced lifespan.
  4. Electrical issues: Prolonged periods of inactivity can cause electrical connections to corrode or become loose, leading to potential malfunctions or safety hazards.

Preparing a Dryer for Long-Term Non-Use

If you plan to leave your dryer unused for a long time, it’s essential to take some maintenance measures to ensure its proper functioning when you need it again. Here are some steps you should follow:

  1. Clean the lint trap and the interior of the dryer to remove any dust or debris.
  2. Inspect the dryer for any visible damage or loose parts.
  3. If possible, store the dryer in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and rust.
  4. Cover the dryer with a breathable cloth or tarp to protect it from dust and dirt.

Potential Risks and Damages

Leaving a dryer unused for a long time can potentially lead to some risks and damages. Some of the possible issues that may arise include:

  1. Accumulation of dust and lint: Over time, dust and lint can accumulate in the dryer, which can pose a fire hazard if not properly cleaned before using the appliance again.
  2. Pest infestation: Pests such as rodents may find their way into an unused dryer, causing damage to internal components or creating nests with the lint inside the dryer.
  3. Deterioration of internal components: Long periods of inactivity may cause some internal components, such as rubber seals or belts, to deteriorate, which could lead to malfunctions or leaks when the dryer is used again.
  4. Mold and mildew growth: If the dryer was not thoroughly dried before being stored, moisture trapped inside the appliance could lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause unpleasant odors and potential health risks.


In conclusion, a dryer can sit unused for several months or even years, provided it is properly prepped and stored. Regular maintenance and cleaning, even when the dryer is not in use, can help prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal performance when it is eventually put back into service. Remember to inspect and clean your dryer thoroughly before using it again after a long period of inactivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I notice mold or mildew in my unused dryer?

If you notice mold or mildew in your unused dryer, it’s important to clean it out thoroughly before use. You can use a mixture of water and bleach to clean the interior of the dryer. Make sure to let it dry completely before using it again to prevent further mold growth.

Is it safe to use a dryer that has been unused for several years without any maintenance?

Although a dryer can sit unused for several years, it’s not recommended to use it without proper inspection and maintenance. Over time, dust and lint can accumulate, and internal components might deteriorate. Always clean and inspect your dryer thoroughly before using it after a long period of inactivity.

Can I use any type of cloth to cover my dryer during storage?

It’s best to use a breathable cloth or tarp to cover your dryer during storage. This allows for airflow, preventing moisture buildup which could lead to rust or mold growth.

How often should I clean my dryer, even if it’s not in use?

Even if your dryer is not in use, it’s a good idea to clean it at least every six months to prevent dust and lint buildup. This will also help keep the internal components in good condition.

Can I store my unused dryer outside?

It’s not recommended to store your unused dryer outside. Exposure to the elements can lead to rust, corrosion, and damage to the electrical components. If possible, store the dryer in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area indoors.

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