7 Reasons Why Your Dryer Damages Clothes

When using a dryer, it’s only natural to expect that your clothes come out fresher than when they went in. Yet, some people experience burn marks, stains, and tears on their clothes after the drying cycle. But why would a dryer damage clothes in this way?

A dryer can damage clothes by causing tears, burns, as well as grease and rust stains. Those are symptoms of existing problems in the dryer itself. Tears happen when clothes tumble against sharp edges inside the drum or on a misaligned lint trap. Grounded heating elements or faulty cycling thermostats can lead to burns. Stains happen when clothes get pinched in gaps between the drum and the dryer.

To understand why your dryer is damaging your clothes, keep on reading! This guide will show you specific reasons why your dryer is tearing, burning, or staining your clothes.

Related: Why Does My Steam Dryer Leave My Clothes Wet?

Why Is My Dryer Tearing My Clothes?

If your dryer is causing tears on your clothes, then it’s likely there are sharp edges inside the drum. In some cases, the sharp edges causing those tears might be the lint filter or trap that’s not placed in its housing correctly.

1. Sharp Edges Inside Drum

For your clothes to become dry, they must be able to tumble freely inside the dryer’s drum. Unfortunately, any damage to the drum could cause it to develop sharp edges that snag and tear those clothes as they try to tumble around.

If this is the case, you’ll often find the sharp edges on the inside of the door or the drum’s paddles. Plus, any other metal parts such as the heater outlet (where hot air is forced into the drum) could also have sharp edges that cause the same kind of damage to your laundry.

Related: Why There Is Water in the Washing Machine Drum When Not in Use?

Steam dryer models, in particular, also have a water sprinkler within the drum that could also develop sharp edges that will tear the fabrics tumbling inside. 

What to do about it:

The most straightforward way to fix this problem is to replace the damaged part that has sharp edges, whether that be the water sprinkler or any other dryer part.

Attempting to fix individual sharp edges using DIY methods (like covering sharp edges with epoxy putty) are effective, but only in the short term. 

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So, to prevent any more of your clothes from getting torn, simply replace the dryer’s damaged parts.

2. Lint Trap Out Of Place

There is a possibility that the sharp edges damaging your clothes aren’t in the drum. Instead, they could be at the lint trap, which isn’t placed correctly. When this happens, the edges of the lint trap will stick out and likely scratch or tear into any fabrics that brush against it.

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What to do about it:

Firstly, always make sure that you’re replacing the lint trap correctly after you’ve cleaned it. If the lint trap doesn’t fit correctly, there may be some lint or dust buildup in the lint trap housing that prevents it from going all the way in.

So, remove the lint trap and clean the housing thoroughly. Then, replace the lint trap and inspect it closely to ensure that none of its edges is sticking out.

Why Is My Dryer Burning My Clothes?

There are times when your dryer might also burn your clothes. One reason could be user error, where the user selects the wrong temperature settings for the fabric types inside the appliance. However, it’s also possible that a heating element is grounded or the cycling thermostat is faulty.

1. Incorrect Temperature Settings

A dryer that’s in perfect working condition might still cause burns on clothes. That happens when the user doesn’t follow the care instructions on the clothes and sets the dryer temperature too high. 

The same could also happen if the duration of the drying cycle is too long for that particular type of clothing material.

What to do about it:

To prevent this from happening, you must identify the different types of fabric in your laundry. Then, refer to each of the clothes’ care instructions to determine if you should dry them separately using a different set of dryer settings.

2. Grounded Heating Element

The heat inside your dryer is generated by a heating element. When an electrical current passes through the heating element, it will begin heating the air around it. A blower forces that hot air through the drum to remove moisture from your laundry. 

Whirlpool Heating element is burnt

That heating element isn’t meant to stay on permanently. Instead, it will turn on and off to maintain the dryer’s set temperature. Doing this will prevent the dryer from overheating while also reducing its energy usage.

How it fails:

A dryer’s heating element is an electrical component. In some cases, it might get damaged and come into contact with other metal parts inside the dryer, causing a ground fault. 

Ground faults can cause the heating element to stay on even when it shouldn’t, generating far too much heat for the clothes inside the drum. That excessive heat could result in burn marks on some of your clothes.

How to fix:

To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the damaged heating element:

  • Firstly, you must always disconnect the dryer from its power supply when attempting a fix like this. 
  • Using the technical sheet or user manual, locate and identify the heating element. Then, remove the necessary panels to gain access to it.
  • Remove and disconnect the heating element, and replace it with the new part. Then, work backwards by replacing any parts or panels that you removed earlier.
  • If you’re unsure about performing a repair like this, it’s best to hire a qualified professional to do it for you.

3. Faulty Cycling Thermostat

As mentioned in the previous section, the dryer’s heating element doesn’t stay on permanently. Instead, it turns on and off when necessary, all to maintain the dryer’s set temperature. But how does the dryer know when to turn the heating element on or off?

Related: How To Fix Frigidaire & Electrolux Dryer Error Code E63 E64

That’s where the cycling thermostat comes in. This thermostat senses the temperature inside the dryer and turns the heating element on or off as needed.

How it fails:

Cycling thermostats can also become faulty over time, often because of wear and tear. When that happens, the thermostat will mistakenly sense the dryer’s temperature. 

For instance, it might continually sense that the temperature is too low and respond by keeping the heating element running far longer and hotter than it should. That excess heat will cause burns on your laundry.

How to fix:

Fixing this will require a replacement of the cycling thermostat:

  • Before doing any kind of repair, always disconnect the power supply to the dryer. 
  • Typically, you can access the cycling thermostat by removing the back panel.
  • Once you’ve located it, remove the screw or bolt holding it in place. Then, disconnect all of its electrical connections.
  • Replace the faulty cycling thermostat with the new one, and replace the electrical connections and mounting screw.

Why Is My Dryer Staining My Clothes?

Dryers are also known to damage clothes by staining them with anything from grease to rust marks. These are caused by a problematic drum felt seal or faulty drum supports.

1. Drum Felt Seal

The drum felt seal is designed to seal any gaps between the drum and the dryer’s panels. Doing that serves to retain heat within the drum and prevent clothes from slipping into those gaps.

At the same time, the drum felt seal also reduces friction between moving dryer parts and indirectly helps the moisture sensor accurately measure how wet the clothes still are.

How it fails:

The drum felt seal could get worn out over time. When this happens, clothes tumbling inside the dryer could get pinched inside any unprotected gaps. That will cause any grease or rust stains from other parts of the dryer to stain the fabric of your clothes.

How to fix:

To fix this problem, all you need to do is replace the drum felt seal. The process is very straightforward, though a lot of time is spent removing the drum from the dryer entirely.

Once that’s done, you can remove the worn-out felt seal and use sandpaper to remove traces of its adhesive.

Then, you can use a new adhesive to attach the replacement felt seal. When complete, you can reattach the drum inside the dryer.

2. Drum Supports

When the dryer drum spins, it’s being supported by drum supports. These are essentially small wheels or bearings which allow the drum to spin smoothly, even at high speeds.

The drum supports are located inside the dryer, directly underneath the drum.

How it fails:

The problem arises when the drum supports have started to wear out over time. When that happens, the supports will not be able to keep the drum in place effectively. So, the drum could shift positions as it spins, creating gaps that even a brand new felt seal couldn’t cover.

As a result, clothes get pinched in those gaps and suffer from grease, rust, or other stains.

How to fix:

Fixing this problem requires a replacement of the drum supports. Doing that involves removing the dryer’s panels and the drum to gain access to the drum supports. Next, remove any screws or bolts holding them in place and replace them with the new drum supports.

Then, place the drum back and ensure that it is aligned perfectly with the drum supports.

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