Why Is My Dryer Taking So Long to Dry Clothes?


In a recent survey, 83% of US homeowners stated that clothes dryers as an absolute necessity for saving hours in time. So if there’s anything you expect to save you on time, it’s the dryer.

But why could a dryer be taking too long to dry clothes? It could be clogged with lint buildup, restricting the airflow necessary to dry clothes. If you notice that the clothes come out cold even at the warm setting, it could be that you’re overloading it, choosing the wrong program to run, or it could also be a heating element (in case of electric dryer) or gas supply (in case of gas dryer) issue. 


How Long Does a Dryer Take and Why Is Mine Too Slow?

Dryers come in high-used appliances that help in drying your laundry within minutes. That’s why you will quickly realize when your dryer is losing efficiency and not performing well. 

In general, a good dryer takes up to 30 minutes to dry a handful of clothes, sometimes slightly longer. The time may vary between drying a dense fabric and thick wool or cotton. 

If you often see damped clothes in your dryer even after waiting more than the mentioned time, your dryer probably not working at its best and should be checked out. Below is a list of some commonly encountered issues that could be a reason why your dryer is taking so long to dry. 


What are Some of the Potential Dryer Issues?

  • Maybe You’re Using It Wrong

The set of features you select in your dryer determines its overall drying performance, including the time it takes to dry the clothes. Over time, dryers experience disturbances in their operation and need the correct adjustment in settings to keep the drying process smooth. 

Maybe you’re selecting the wrong program for your type of clothing. Maybe you’re overloading the dryer and the clothes haven’t fully spun down in the washing machine prior.


  • Lint Is Clogging It

Any problem in the lint filter directly impacts the drying cycle of your dryer. The fluff, fragments, or other material from clothes during drying may accumulate in the lint filter that needs to be cleaned from time to time.

Also, dust or debris in the filter may clog the lint filter and block the air passing through it. Due to an inadequate supply of heat, the dryer ultimately takes longer to dry the clothes. 


  • Blower Wheel

A blower wheel is a round rolling wheel that makes sure the air is circulated uniformly throughout the dryer. It is firmly attached to the end of the drive motor but often slips downwards after getting loose. Due to this, the air doesn’t blow efficiently and causes issues like over or under-heating, impacting the drying time of clothes. 


  • Coil 

This one is especially for gas dryers that have safety coils to balance the heat temperature while drying. A defective gas valve coil fails to produce heat at regular intervals and makes the drying process lengthy. The hidden fault can lie in any one or all the coils that you have in your dryer.  


  • Drum Seal

Drum seals are another important element that monitors the amount of heat entering the dryer. The felt present in the drum seal is very sensitive and may get damaged due to extreme wear and tear during drying. It can result in the dryer taking multiple gaps and causing scrumping sounds in between the drying process. 


  • Overloading the Dryer

When buying the dryer, the user manual helps you know the number of clothes you can dry in one go. However, overloading the dryer with more than recommended clothes eventually slows the drying process, resulting in longer drying times. You can easily find the correct laundry capacity in the user manual that comes along with the dryer. 


  • Impaired Thermostats or Sensors

Like other appliances, thermostats in dryers regulate the flow of heat transfer and shut off the dryer in case of overheating. An impaired thermostat or sensor does not work well in sustaining a balanced temperature during drying. As a result, some of your clothes remain damped even after operating the high heat setting in the dryer. 


  • Broken Heat Elements

Any broken, burned-out, or damaged heat element can also cause your dryer to take more time to dry the clothes. The issues may not be easily detectable in the first place but can show symptoms in drying after some time. Be observant to check all the parts of your dryer regularly and replace any of the impaired parts if necessary. 


How to Solve the Problem?

Before solving the problem, you need to understand why your dryer is taking so long to dry. 

Here is a list of some common solutions that can help you detect the issue and treat it right away. 

  1. Clean the lint filter from upward to downward with a soft-bristled brush. 
  2. Wash the removable parts of the dryer under the tap with warm water after every 3-5 uses.
  3. Maintain your dryer regularly by wiping it with a mesh fabric after every use. You can also vacuum the dryer at very low suction power to not hurt the sensitive parts of the dryer. 
  4. Always have a replacement bowler wheel for backup to not get interrupted in between the drying. 
  5. Test the thermostat separately on another appliance to check if it also works well on the dryer. 


Related Questions

How can I make a dryer dry faster?

If there is nothing wrong with your dryer, put a dry bath towel in the dryer along with your clothes. Your dryer will evenly throw the air while the towel absorbs all the moisture.


Does a dryer work faster with more clothes?

No, more and heavier clothes take longer to dry as they need more air to reach multiple layers of the fabric.