September 17, 2019

Dryer takes a long time to dry

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Dryer takes a long time to dry.
Dryer takes a long time to dry.

If your patience is running low because your dryer takes too long to dry a load of laundry, there are a few easy things you can do to help your dryer—and yourself—operate more efficiently.

For step-by-step instructions for repairing your dryer, check out our dryer repair help or our laundry center repair help for laundry center dryers.

Get rid of lint everywhere it collects

Your dryer exhausts moist, warm air outdoors through a vent pipe. A lint clog anywhere in the venting path makes your dryer work harder and take longer to dry a load. A really bad clog can make your dryer overheat and shut down. And because lint is flammable, lint buildup is a fire hazard that causes almost 1000 house fires each year.

To keep your dryer working at peak efficiency, follow these tips to make sure it can vent moist air easily.

  • Clean the lint filter after every load. While you're at it, check the filter housing for lint buildup.

  • Check your dryer’s vent hose for any pinches, crimps or other restrictions. Refer to your owner's manual for venting instructions.

  • Remove buildup from the vent hood or damper outside, and make sure the flapper door opens all the way when the dryer is running.

  • At least once a year, use a soft, nylon brush to clean the inside of the vent hose.

Clean the sensor bars

Most newer dryers have moisture sensor bars behind the lint filter housing. Dryer sheets can leave a film on the sensor bars that decrease the bars' accuracy, so if you use dryer sheets, wipe the bars with a clean rag dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove the residue.

Don't overload the dryer

Only dry one washer load of clothes at a time. Don’t combine wash loads to make one large load for the dryer. Overloading your dryer wastes energy because it takes longer to dry the load. Overloading causes laundry to wrinkle, too.

As strange as it might sound, not putting enough laundry in the dryer also can lead to longer drying times because there’s not enough weight to ensure the proper tumbling. Make sure you have enough items in the dryer so the load tumbles.

Check wash cycles and settings

Clothes wetter than normal from the washer increase the drying time. Check that the washing machine cycle is set correctly. Some fabrics will feel wetter when rinsed with cold water. Your owner’s manual lists what cycle to use with different types of clothes. Reduce the load size in the washer, especially for towels or heavier items.

Improper sorting of laundry can lead to laundry taking too long to dry, so you should separate heavy items from lightweight items in the dryer. Generally, a well-sorted washer load is a well-sorted dryer load.

Also, make sure the dryer’s heat setting matches the load you’re drying. If you try to dry heavy towels on the same low-heat setting you use for delicates, it’s going to take a lot longer for the towels to dry completely.

Symptoms common to all dryers

Choose a symptom to see related dryer repairs.

Main causes: door switch failure, lack of power, broken belt, blown thermal fuse, bad drive motor, control system failure
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, blown thermal fuse, bad door switch
Main causes: bad drum support roller, damaged idler pulley, broken blower fan blade, worn drum glide bearing, bad drive motor
Main causes: bad gas valve coils, broken heating element, tripped safety thermostat or fuse, bad operating thermostat, control failure
Main causes: bad timer or electronic control board, door switch failure
Main causes: clogged exhaust vent, bad motor relay, loose dryer door catch, bad door switch, control system failure, faulty drive motor
Main causes: damaged door strike, worn door catch
Main causes: clogged exhaust system, heating system failure, deposits on moisture sensor, control system failure

Repair guides common to all dryers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dryer.

How to install a thermal cut-off fuse kit in an electric dryer

The thermal cut-off fuse shuts off the heat if the dryer overheats when the high-limit thermostat fails. Install a thermal cut-off fuse kit to replace both parts.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to install a thermal cut-off fuse kit in a gas dryer

The thermal cut-off fuse shuts off the heat if the dryer overheats when the high-limit thermostat fails. The thermal cut-off fuse kit includes both parts.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
August 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer door switch

The dryer won't start if the door switch isn't working correctly. You can install a replacement dryer door switch in less than half an hour, following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all dryers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dryer.

August 4, 2020

Dryer not drying clothes? Could be fabric softener!

By Sears PartsDirect staff

If your dryer isn't drying clothes, it could be the lint screen is clogged with fabric softener. See how to wash the lint filter to get your dryer drying again.

January 22, 2020

How to clean your dryer

By Sears PartsDirect staff

This easy-to-follow advice helps your dryer run efficiently, so you spend less on energy and your clothes dry faster.

October 26, 2016

How to repair broken or damaged wires video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to repair broken, frayed or damaged wires in your appliances.