Tumble Dryer Not Drying (why clothes are still damp & how to fix)

If your clothes are still damp after running a drying cycle don’t worry. Because we have found 9 easy fixes that might help you to get your tumble dryer working properly again.

Why The Tumble Dryer Isn’t Drying Laundry

The reason your tumble dryer isn’t drying your laundry is almost certainly to do with a lack of airflow.

What’s supposed to happen is the heated air gets mixed up with your tumbling washing. The moist air that’s created is then carried outside through the dryer’s vent pipe.

The problem is there are a few things that can prevent this from happening.

So, let’s look into what causes the airflow to become clogged and how to unclog it again.

Before we get started, let’s look at something obvious that could be preventing your laundry drying in the tumble dryer.

Check That The Dryer Isn’t Overloaded

Over-filling a tumble dryer is one of the main reasons for laundry not drying. Always be sure that you do not overfill your dryer, as this will prevent the laundry from drying.

This is because too many clothes in the dryer restricts the airflow which means the hot air is unable to pass through all of the laundry. 

If your laundry comes out of the dryer hot but not dry, it is more than likely that you have overloaded the drum.

Check Your Dryer Settings

We all live such busy lives nowadays which is probably why you bought a tumble dryer in the first place. The pressure of life can sometimes make us overlook the details that could make a difference.

Look at the settings on your tumble dryer, check that the dial isn’t set to fluff. If it is, select dry or very dry. Then set the dryer to a 30 minute drying cycle.

After 5-10 minutes open the door and check if the laundry has started to warm up. If not, then it’s not the settings – so you’ll need to move on to the next step.

Clean The Lint Filter (vented tumble dryers)

Remove the lint filter from your dryer and brush all of the lint from it. Then clean the filter with an old toothbrush using hot water and washing up liquid.

Ensure the lint filter is completely dry before returning it to the filter housing.

Clean The Filter Housing (vented tumble dryers)

With the lint filter removed (and drying), get a torch and check if there’s any lint at the bottom of the housing. There almost certainly will be lint in the filter housing.

This can be removed using a hook which can be fashioned out of a wire coat hanger using pliers. What you need to do is make a small hook at the end of the wire.

Using the torch to see what you’re doing, carefully hook all of the lint from the filter housing.

Check If The Filter Drawer Or Condenser Filter Is Clogged (heat pump or condenser tumble dryers)

Heat pump and condenser dryers have an extra filter behind the kickplate. This is called a filter drawer in heat pump dryers and a condenser filter in condenser dryers.

If the filter drawer or condenser filter becomes clogged, it could cause longer drying times than normal.

To clean the filter drawer or condenser filter, open the kickplate and remove the filter from its housing by unclipping the locks. 

Then you’ll need to remove any lint from the filter screens gently by hand or using a soft, lint-free cloth. It is also possible to use a vacuum cleaner at low suction to remove lint.

You then need to remove the thin piece of sponge between the filter screens. This sponge can be washed under a tap using warm water.

If you have a condenser dryer, the sponge can be washed under a more powerful water flow. The shower is the best way to wash this filter.

Ensure you spray water from all angles to be certain that you’ve removed all traces of lint.

Allow all of the filter items to fully dry before reassembly.

Give The Moisture Sensor A Clean

The moisture sensor is made from two parallel metal strips roughly 4 inches (10 cm) long. It is usually located on the drum side of the filter housing.

Using anti-static dryer sheets will coat the metal strips with a wax-like substance which can prevent the dryer from sensing whether the laundry is dry. 

This could lead to extended drying times, or the laundry not drying at all.

You can clean the moisture sensor using a paper kitchen towel and rubbing alcohol.

Check The Vent Pipe

Turn the dryer on and go outside and check the airflow from the vent pipe. It should resemble the air from a hairdryer. If the air is cold, it’s most likely the heater in the dryer that’s not working.

In some cases, the heater overheats and trips out. Sometimes it is possible to reset the machine but you should allow it enough time to cool down first.

The reset button is usually located on the rear of the machine. To reset it you just press the red button if it has tripped, you’ll hear it click.

Not all tumble dryers have reset buttons and the same issue could indicate that the thermal fuse has blown. If this is the case, you can sometimes reset it but you need to consider what has caused it to blow in the first place.

It might be that you need to contact the manufacturer if the dryer is still under warranty. Alternatively, you could call a qualified electrical engineer/appliance repairman.

If it is the thermal fuse, we’d recommend that you contact an electrical engineer just to be safe.

Clean The Vent Pipe

If the airflow from the vent is weak it’s probably due to a build up of lint in the vent pipe. The best way to do this is by using a  dryer vent cleaning kit.

Gbrand Washing Machine Cleaning Brush, Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit Dryer Lint Brush Vent Trap Cleaner Long Flexible Refrigerator Coil Brush Metal Materials 28.35 Inch
  • 🌻🌻---Improving cloth dryer working performance by using this brush to cleaning the trapped lint and dust in dryer gap and exhaust port
  • 🌻🌻---Flexible rod design, our cleaning brush rod is a flexible design that can be rotated to help you clean the inside of the washing machine, flexible operation, very practical

You’ll be surprised just how much lint collects in the vent hose. Once this has been removed, you should have the dryer working properly again.

Ensure The Dryer Is In A ventilated Space

Another reason that the dryer might not be drying your laundry is if it’s been installed in a cupboard. This could mean there’s not enough air flowing around the dryer.

The cupboard should have ventilation openings at the top and bottom of the door. Plus the dryer should have at least three inches clearance in the front and at least four inches clearance at the rear.

SEE ALSO: Tumble Dryer Alternatives: How to dry clothes indoors without a Dryer

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dryer take 2 hours to dry clothes?

If your tumble dryer takes 2 hours to dry clothes there could be a number of reasons which include; the drum is overloaded, the lint filter is clogged, the moisture sensor needs cleaning or the vent pipe is clogged.

Why is my condenser tumble dryer not drying?

The most common reasons why your condenser tumble dryer is not drying is because the condenser has become blocked or the filter is clogged.

Why is my dryer running but not heating?

If your dryer is running but not heating and therefore not drying your laundry, it could be caused by; overloading the drum, the filter is clogged or the moisture sensor needs cleaning.

Why is my dryer blowing cold air?

If your dryer is blowing cold air it is usually because it has overheated. Tumble dryer manufacturers have a legal requirement to have a fail safe system that prevents it from catching fire if it gets too hot.

How often should I clean my tumble dryer condenser?

It is recommended that you clean your tumble dryer’s condenser once a month.

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