Why Does My Dryer Mangle the Laundry?

Jul 25, 2023, 15:07pm

If your dryer is tangling and you find your clothes in balls or clumps after a drying cycle, there are several things you can check to resolve your problem:

  • Check drum rotation and belt
  • Check the dryer belts
  • Check the laundry load in the dryer

Finally, it is also possible that the friction between the clothes (especially those made of synthetic fibers) that you have put in the dryer is charged with static electricity. They will then tend to tangle. To avoid this, put a kitchen aluminum ball in the drum of the appliance: it will absorb the static electricity of the laundry and your clothes will no longer be stuck together.

Having fresh, clean laundry is a weekly necessity, if not a daily one for larger households. But what happens when your trusty dryer starts delivering crumpled, twisted, and seemingly mangled clothing? It’s frustrating to find your freshly washed clothes in less than ideal condition, necessitating a time-consuming ironing or steam session.

It’s important to note that while dryers are designed to make our lives easier, they’re not magical devices. Certain usage habits and technical issues can result in a dryer that doesn’t treat your clothes with the care they deserve. So, what are the main reasons why your dryer might be mangling your laundry? Let’s find out.

Why Does My Dryer Mangle the Laundry?

Overloading the Dryer

Possibly the most common reason your dryer is mangling your clothes is overloading. A dryer needs space to effectively tumble clothes, allowing hot air to circulate and evaporate the moisture. When you stuff the drum to its maximum capacity, clothes can’t move freely. The result is twisted, crumpled, and wrinkled clothing that looks like it’s been through a wrestling match.

Tip: Make sure you’re not filling more than three-quarters of your dryer’s drum. This leaves adequate space for clothes to move and dry evenly.

Incorrect Dryer Settings

Dryer settings aren’t just for show. Different fabrics require different heat levels and drying times. Using the wrong setting can cause your clothes to bunch up and wrinkle. For instance, heavy fabrics like jeans or sweatshirts require higher heat and longer drying times than delicate items like lingerie or fine knitwear.

Tip: Always sort your clothes according to fabric type and dryness level before loading them into the dryer. Make use of the specific fabric settings on your machine.

Damaged or Worn Out Parts

If your dryer is older or hasn’t been maintained regularly, worn-out parts could be causing your laundry problems. A faulty or broken drum seal, for example, can snag clothes as they tumble, causing them to twist or tear. Similarly, if your dryer’s drum isn’t spinning correctly because of a worn-out belt, it might not be tumbling the clothes properly, leading to mangled laundry.

Tip: Regular dryer maintenance and timely replacements of faulty parts can prevent damage to your clothes and extend the life of your appliance.

Absence of Dryer Balls or Fabric Softener

Dryer balls are a great tool for preventing clothes from tangling and wrinkling in the dryer. They work by separating clothes, allowing them to dry more quickly and evenly. Similarly, fabric softener can reduce static cling, which can otherwise cause clothes to stick together and wrinkle.

Tip: Add a couple of dryer balls to each load or use a fabric softener to help reduce wrinkles and prevent clothes from sticking together.

No Cool-Down Period

Most modern dryers have a “cool down” or “wrinkle prevent” period at the end of the cycle, where the drum continues to tumble as the air cools. This helps clothes to relax and release wrinkles. If your dryer doesn’t have this feature, or if you’re not unloading your clothes promptly at the end of the cycle, they can continue to sit, hot and crumpled, leading to set-in wrinkles.

Tip: Try to unload your dryer as soon as the cycle ends, or make sure the cool-down feature is activated if your dryer has one.

Why Does My Dryer Mangle the Laundry?


If your drum is not spinning, the drum belt may be broken or removed. The drive belt runs around the drum and connects to the engine.

  • Remove one of the side walls of the device, then inspect the condition of the belt: it should not be cut, split or crumbled. If so, replace it.
  • Rotate the drum by hand: if you feel no resistance, you need to replace the belt.

You can also check the drive belt that runs from the engine to the pulley to make sure it doesn’t look too stretched or damaged.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why a dryer might mangle your clothes, from overloading to incorrect settings, and from worn-out parts to the absence of a cool-down period. However, most of these issues can be solved with a little extra attention to how you’re using your dryer. With a few tweaks to your laundry routine, you can ensure your clothes come out of the dryer looking fresh and wrinkle-free.