Why Does My Steam Dryer Leave My Clothes Wet?

Steam dryers offer plenty of advantages over regular models. However, they also face the occasional problem of leaving clothes wet even after a complete drying cycle. So, why does this happen?

Overloading your dryer or putting clothes in soaking wet could reduce the dryer’s ability to dry your clothes thoroughly. It’s also possible that some parts are faulty, namely the moisture sensor or a leaking steam valve. Lastly, restricted airflow by a dirty lint filter or clogged vent line can also keep your clothes wet.

In the following sections, we’ll take a deep dive into each of these possible reasons.

Related: Whirlpool Washer Not Spinning And Clothes Are Still Wet?

Overloaded Dryer

When a steam dryer leaves your clothes wet, one of the first things to troubleshoot is whether or not you’re loading it correctly . You should never fill the entire drum of the steam dryer with clothes, as that’s considered ‘overloading, and it will result in the dryer working less efficiently.

For starters, putting too many clothes inside the drum will add too much weight.  Excess weight can be quite bad in the long run as it stresses the motor and other components in the appliance. 

More importantly, the clothes in an overloaded dryer will not be able to tumble freely. That means they won’t be exposed to enough heat to remove all of the moisture completely.

How to fix:

To maximize your steam dryer’s ability to remove moisture, be sure to only fill the drum up to three-quarters of the space inside.

That way, the clothes will have enough space to tumble freely and get complete exposure to the dryer’s heat.  As a result, moisture will be able to escape the fabric, and all of your clothes will be dry by the end of the cycle.

Clothes Were Put In Soaking Wet

Another reason that your steam dryer is leaving your clothes wet could be the way that you load the laundry in the first place. 

Steam dryers, just like regular dryers, are designed to remove moisture from clothes that are damp after going through the washer’s spin cycle. They are not designed to work with clothes that are soaking wet.

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So, if you’ve placed dripping wet clothes into your steam dryer, it’s possible that they’ll remain wet even at the end of the drying cycle. 

Sure, some models might sense that the clothes are extra wet and react by extending the drying cycle. However, those dryers will still stop automatically before they overheat, even if your clothes are still wet.

How to fix:

To fix this, be sure only ever to load damp clothes into your steam dryer. The most effective way to do this is to run those clothes through a spin cycle in your washing machine. That will squeeze out most of the water, leaving your clothes with the ideal amount of moisture for you to load them into your steam dryer.

Faulty Moisture Sensor

Inside your steam dryer is a moisture sensor. As the name suggests, the dryer uses that sensor to detect if the clothes are still wet or if they’ve been dried enough. 

Once the clothes are dry, the sensor will communicate to the machine that it’s time to stop the drying cycle.

Why it fails:

A faulty moisture sensor will not be able to accurately detect how wet or dry the clothes are inside the drum. 

Related: Common Dryer Moisture Sensor Problems

For example, the sensor might mistakenly detect that the clothes are dry and end the drying cycle. As a result, the cycle will end while your clothes are still wet inside.

How to fix:

To fix this, you’ll need to replace the faulty moisture sensor. Depending on your dryer model and its design, the moisture sensor might be located towards the back of the drum or right around the appliance’s door area.

You’ll need to remove the screws that hold it in place and remove the electrical connectors. Then, you can remove the assembly and put the new moisture sensor in.

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If you’re unsure at any step of the way, you can refer to the user manual or technical sheet for your steam dryer.

Faulty Steam Nozzle or Valve

Steam dryers have one component that regular dryers do not: a steam nozzle (sometimes called a steam valve). 

The function of the steam nozzle is very straightforward: it sprays a fine mist of water into the drum while the dryer is in operation. That water mist will instantly get heated up thanks to the heat in the dryer and convert into steam.

From there, the steam will penetrate through the tumbling fabrics to remove wrinkles and odors while sanitizing them as well.

Why it fails:

The steam valve will open and close as needed, each time releasing a fine mist of water to generate steam. Unfortunately, a faulty valve will not be able to close correctly, causing water to drip or leak into the dryer’s drum.

As a whole, the dryer might do a fantastic job of drying your clothes. Still, a faulty steam valve could undo all of that by leaking water all over your dry clothes, leaving them wet at the end of the cycle.

How to fix:

Fixing this requires you to replace the faulty steam nozzle. For starters, you’ll want to disconnect the machine from its power supply. 

Don’t forget:

Unlike regular dryers, steam dryers are also connected to a water supply. So, you’ll need to disconnect that water supply from the machine as well before you replace the faulty steam nozzle.

Once that’s done, you can use a wrench to unthread the faulty steam nozzle and replace it with a new one.

Dirty Lint Filter

Much like standard dryers, steam dryers also have a lint filter located inside the drum. The lint filter is located in the lint trap, and you can usually remove it very easily by gently pulling it out of its place.

As your clothes tumble around in the dryer, the high temperature and repeated movements will cause the fabrics to lose some of their fibers. If those fibers were to find their way into the dryer vents and create a blockage, that would make the dryer a lot less efficient at its job.

So, dryers are equipped with lint filters to remove as much lint as possible from the air before it’s vented out.

Why it fails:

These filters get covered in lint very quickly. That’s why it’s recommended that you clean them before and after each time you use the dryer. Unfortunately, many people don’t do that, which is why the lint builds up to the point that it restricts airflow through the filter.

Restricted airflow is very bad for a steam dryer. Proper airflow is crucial in a steam dryer so that the moisture from your clothes can escape and flow out of the vents efficiently. Without that proper airflow, a lot of the moisture will remain trapped inside the dryer’s drum, leaving your clothes still wet even at the end of a drying cycle.

How to fix:

Fixing this is incredibly straightforward. All you have to do is remove the lint filter and clean it thoroughly. More importantly, you must clean the filter before and after each use to ensure that airflow is always at its best.

That way, the steam dryer will have no problems removing all the moisture from your laundry.

Vent Is Clogged or Too Long

As mentioned in the previous section, the most crucial aspect for a steam dryer is to have proper airflow. When combined with the heat inside the dryer, excellent airflow ensures that the moisture can be removed from clothes and pushed out of the vent to the outside of the building.

For that to happen efficiently, the steam dryer must have unrestricted vents that are correctly installed to let air flow away from the dryer and out of the building. That’s especially true in steam dryers, as they actively generate additional steam inside the drum.

Why it fails:

If you find that your clothes are left wet in a steam dryer, the problem could be with the vent. Firstly, it’s incredibly common for dryer vents to be clogged by lint, dirt, and other kinds of debris. 

Besides that, some people make the mistake of having a dryer vent that’s far too long between the machine and the outside of the building.

In both cases, moisture will not be able to flow out of the steam dryer efficiently. As a result, your clothes will remain wet even after a drying cycle.

How to fix:

To resolve this issue, you must clean out your dryer vents regularly. Besides that, the length of your vent should be minimal. You can achieve that by terminating the vent at the closest wall rather than stretching to a wall that’s much further.

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