Why Does My Dryer Take Several Cycles To Dry Clothes? – Troubleshooting Guide

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A clothes dryer only needs one complete cycle to remove all moisture from your laundry. Of course, some cycles are longer than others, depending on the moisture content inside. But if it takes several cycles to dry the same load, you’ve got a problem.

When a dryer takes several cycles to dry your clothes, it’s because hot air can’t flow through the appliance and out of your building smoothly. Airflow restrictions are caused by an overloaded dryer, dirty lint trap, obstructed exhaust tubing, or an external vent flap stuck closed.

Keep reading to discover why these problems happen and how you can correct them as soon as possible.

Why Does My Dryer Take Several Cycles To Dry My Clothes?

When you find that your dryer takes more than one cycle to dry completely, the overall cause is this: hot air isn’t flowing smoothly through your dryer and out the back.

Here are the most likely reasons that are happening in your dryer and how you can resolve them quickly:

Overloaded Dryer

What it is: All dryers have a limited capacity. That means you can only fit a maximum number of items inside if you want the appliance to dry them thoroughly.

The best way to find out your dryer model’s maximum capacity is to refer to the user manual. The manufacturer would have included information in there, as well as guidance on how to best load your dryer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your user manual, though. You can rely on the general rule of thumb of loading your dryer up to two-thirds (2/3) of its maximum capacity.

That way, your clothes have enough room to tumble naturally and get exposed to the hot air that will remove moisture from the fabric.

What happened: The first possibility that your dryer takes several cycles to dry your clothes is that the appliance is overloaded.

When there are too many items inside the dryer’s drum, the items cannot tumble freely. That prevents hot air from flowing smoothly through the drum.

As a result, the dryer fails to remove all the moisture in one cycle and must go through a few cycles to get the job done.

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How to correct it: You can solve this issue by dividing your dryer loads into smaller bunches. Follow any recommendations the dryer manufacturer provides you, or keep your dryer loads to 2/3 of the machine’s maximum capacity.

Read: Why Dryer Smells Like Sewage?

Dirty Lint Trap

What it is: Wherever hot air flows, dirt, and debris will follow. When it comes to driers, that also includes lint which consists of fibers from your laundry items.

That’s why all dryers come with built-in lint traps. The traps remove lint and other impurities from the air to prevent them from clogging up your dryer exhaust tubing and any other components where air flows through and out of your dryer.

What happened: Lint traps can become dirty very quickly. When that happens, lint, dirt, and debris will build up on the lint trap and prevent air from passing through smoothly.

That restricted airflow will trap heat and moisture inside your dryer drum.

Since little or no moisture can flow out of the dryer, your clothes will remain wet until you run them through several dryer cycles.

How to correct it: You can fix this problem by cleaning your lint trap thoroughly. The lint trap in a dryer is removable, allowing you to take it outside and dispose of the lint quickly.

The problem is also preventable. Ideally, you should clean the lint trap each time you use your dryer.

At the very least, you should clean the lint trap once every few days.

Read: 5 Reasons Why Fisher Paykel Dryer Is Not Heating

Obstructed Exhaust Tubing

What it is: At this point, it should be clear that a dryer’s proper functioning depends on smooth airflow. The dryer’s hot air begins its journey by flowing through the dryer and your wet clothes inside.

Then, the air exits the dryer and flows outside the building toward the atmosphere.

The exhaust tubing is what carries the hot air that exits your dryer and helps its flow straight outside the building. Typically, that exhaust tubing is flexible, allowing you to arrange it as needed.

What happened: Smooth airflow will also become restricted when the exhaust tubing is obstructed.

Firstly, the obstruction could be physical. For example, flexible exhaust tubing gets pinched, kinked, or squeezed between the dryer and the wall behind it.

Besides that, the obstruction could also be internal. Lint, dirt, and debris that makes it past the lint trap (mentioned earlier) will get stuck inside the exhaust tubing.

How to correct it: Thankfully, dryer exhaust tubing is detachable. So you can remove it to clean away any internal obstructions.

You can also prevent physical obstructions by ensuring the tubing is kept as straight as possible without any kinks or folds.

Read: Do All Dryers Need A Vent?

Stuck External Vent Flap

What it is: The hot air from your dryer flows through many sections before being released into the environment outside your building. The final section of that journey is the external vent flap.

Outside your building is an external vent that connects to the dryer exhaust tubing mentioned earlier. 

That vent comes with a flap that opens and closes automatically to allow hot air out while preventing animals and dirt from coming in.

What happened: The external vent and flap are easily overlooked because they’re outside and rarely checked. However, the flap can get rusted after many years, causing it to be stuck in a closed position.

So, even though hot air flows smoothly through your dryer and its exhaust tubing, a stuck external vent flap can restrict that airflow.

As a result, your clothes fail to dry with just one cycle and will need a few more cycles to dry normally.

How to correct it: You can fix this issue by applying oil or lubricant to the stuck vent flap. If necessary, you’ll have to replace the vent flap to ensure it works correctly.

Remember: when the external vent flap can open and close correctly, your dryer will work efficiently again. You won’t need to run multiple cycles to dry a load of laundry.

Read: Why Bosch Dryer Beeps Twice And Won’t Start – Troubleshooting Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are a few more questions and answers that you’ll find helpful when troubleshooting your dryer:

How Long Should A Dryer Cycle Take?

A typical dryer cycle takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. However, some dryers can automatically sense the moisture content of their loads and adjust the cycle duration as needed.

Read: Bosch Dryer Troubleshooting Guide

How Do You Fix A Dryer That Takes Too Long To Dry?

If your dryer is hot but takes too long to dry your laundry, it’s because that hot air isn’t flowing through the appliance as it should. Check and clean common points where air restrictions form, like the lint trap, exhaust tubing, and external vent.

How Full Should You Load A Dryer?

You should only load your dryer a maximum of 2/3 of its drum capacity. There must always be enough room for your laundry items to tumble freely as the drum turns. If that doesn’t happen, it means your dryer is overloaded.

How Can I Speed Up My Dryer?

The most important way to speed up your dryer is to clean its lint filter, exhaust tubing, and external vent. Additionally, you can shorten the exhaust tubing to minimize the distance the air must travel from the dryer to your building’s outside. Lastly, minimize your dryer load. When there are fewer items in a dryer, each one driest faster.

Is It Okay To Stop A Dryer Mid-Cycle?

You should try to avoid stopping a dryer mid-cycle as much as possible. Doing so can be dangerous because it will stop the dryer’s fans, even though the appliance’s temperatures remain high. If you must stop a dryer mid-cycle, keep the door open so excess heat can escape the appliance.

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