Why Does My Dryer Smell Like Burning and How to Fix It

Why Does My Dryer Smell Like Burning and How to Fix It

The smell of burning coming from a dryer is a fairly common problem among owners of this home appliance. Such an unpleasant smell may indicate a serious malfunction in the dryer, and also carry the risk of ignition and fire.

In this article, we will look at the most likely causes of a burning smell in a dryer and provide step-by-step instructions for fixing them. This will help dryer owners deal with the problem on their own, without resorting to expensive specialists.

1. Check the Lint Filter

Lint buildup in the filter is one of the main causes of a burning smell in the dryer. Regularly clean the filter after each drying cycle to prevent excessive lint accumulation. Also inspect the inside of the dryer drum and the ventilation holes to make sure there is no lint buildup.

Signs: Strong burning smell when the dryer is operating.


  • Unplug the dryer for safety;
  • Open the dryer door and locate the filter, usually in the bottom part;
  • Carefully remove the filter, trying not to spill the accumulated lint;
  • Thoroughly clean the filter with a brush, you can wash it with water;
  • Dry the filter and reinstall it;
  • Turn on the dryer and check if the burning smell is gone.

2. Check the Thermostat

A faulty thermostat can lead to overheating of the dryer and a burning smell. Use a tester to check if the thermostat is working properly. If it is defective - replace it.

Signs: The dryer overheats, strong burning smell.


  • Unplug the dryer and let it cool down;
  • Remove the cover for access to internal components;
  • Locate the thermostat (check your model's manual);
  • Disconnect the thermostat and test it with a tester;
  • If the tester shows a malfunction, buy a new thermostat and replace it;
  • Reassemble the dryer and test it.

3. Check the Drive Belt

If the drive belt has slipped or worn out, it may come into contact with the heating element. This causes a burning smell. Check the integrity of the belt, adjust tension or replace if necessary.

Signs: Burning smell, noise when the dryer operates.


  • Unplug and let the dryer cool down;
  • Remove the cover and locate the drive belt;
  • Check if the belt is cracked or worn;
  • If the belt is intact, check its tension;
  • Adjust or replace the belt as needed;
  • Reassemble the dryer and run it empty.

4. Check the Back of the Dryer

Sometimes lint accumulates in hard-to-reach areas at the back of the dryer and starts burning when heated. Carefully inspect the rear panel and remove any lint found.

Signs: Persistent burning smell from the back.


  • Unplug and let the dryer cool down;
  • Pull it away from the wall to access the back panel;
  • Remove the rear cover, if any;
  • Closely examine the rear panel and area behind the dryer;
  • Use a brush or vacuum to remove all discovered lint;
  • Reinstall the rear panel;
  • Turn on the dryer and check for smell.

5. Check the Electric Motor

Signs of electric motor failure include increased noise and burning smell. In this case, the motor needs replacement. Pay attention to noises when the dryer operates.

Signs: Increased noise, smell of burning.

  • Unplug the dryer for safety;
  • Remove the cover and locate the electric motor;
  • Disconnect and remove the motor. Inspect it;
  • If the motor looks faulty, buy and install a new one;
  • Reconnect the wiring and reinstall the cover;
  • Turn on the dryer and test operation.

6. Contact a Specialist

If the burning smell persists after all of the above checks and actions, contact a qualified technician for home appliance repairs. Attempting a repair without proper skills and knowledge could result in property damage and injury.


The main causes of a burning smell from the dryer include: clogged filter, thermostat or motor malfunction, drive belt issue, lint buildup in hard-to-reach areas. Follow our recommendations to fix the problem.

If the smell persists - contact professionals. We also recommend regular dryer maintenance to prevent breakdowns and prolong its service life.

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