Why Are My Clothes Coming Out of The Dryer Wet?

Fred's Appliance
March 19, 2014

A dryer is supposed to take the burden of drying recently washed clothes off your shoulders. Rather than hanging them on a line to air dry, you can toss your clothes into the dryer and press the “on” button. Not only is this a more effective way to dry clothes, but it’s also faster. However, it’s not uncommon for clothes dryers to lose their drying ability. You might hear the buzzer indicating the dryer has finished, but when you attempt to pull out the clothes you notice they are still soaked in water.

So, what causes a dryer to lose its drying ability? There are a couple of different possible scenarios, one of which is a full or partial blockage in the exhaust duct. If a buildup of lint and debris accumulates in the exhaust duct, it will prevent the moist hot, humid air from escaping; thus, resulting in wet clothes. You can perform a quick visual inspection of the duct by unplugging your dryer and pulling it away from the wall. Use a flashlight to look down inside the dryer portion of the exhaust and the duct running through the wall to see if there’s any debris blocking it.

Longer dryer exhausts are more susceptible to blockages since the lint and debris is forced to travel over a longer period of time. If the dryer exhaust is just 3-4 feet, the chance of a blockage is fairly low. On the other hand, exhausts over 5 feet in length tend to have a high chance of lint blockages.

Of course, a faulty heating element may also reduce the drying ability of a clothes dryer. As the name suggests, the heating element is responsible for converting electricity into thermal energy. If this element is broken or damaged, the dryer will no longer be able to heat up. You can usually determine whether or not the heating element is to blame by turning your dryer on and letting it run for a couple of minutes. If it’s working, the inside of the dryer should feel hot. If it’s not working,  it will remain the same temperature as before.

A third possible reason why your dryer is no longer drying clothes is a broken drum belt. The drum is the interior basket of the dryer. Normally, it spins throughout the cycle to literally push water out of the clothes. In the event that that there’s a broken drum belt, the drum will cease to spin and the wet clothes will be left sitting in the dryer.

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