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: clogged exhaust system, heating system failure, deposits on moisture sensor, control system failure
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: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, blown thermal fuse, bad door switch
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

Repair guides common to all dryers

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

August 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer blower wheel

A rattling noise or lack of air flow through the dryer could indicate that the blower wheel is damaged. Follow the steps in this repair guide to replace the blower wheel in your dryer.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
August 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to install a dryer gas valve coil kit

If the dryer heats initially but then stops heating, the problem is usually the gas valve coils. This step-by-step guide explains how to replace the gas valve coils in a gas dryer.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 90 minutes or less
August 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer drive belt

If the drive belt breaks, the motor runs but the drum won't rotate. These step-by-step instructions guide you through the repair process.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 90 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.

November 4, 2016

Electric dryer won't heat troubleshooting video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

These easy tests will help you check the heating element, high-limit thermostat, timer, thermal cut-off fuse and operating thermostat.

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.

June 20, 2016

Electric dryer won't start troubleshooting video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn what four things to check if your electric dryer won't start or run.