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Tumble dryers are possibly one of the most useful home appliances, but they definitely make quite a bit of noise. If you’ve ever thought your dryer is making a lot of noise and wondered what to do about it, then you’ve come to the right place.
The first thing to do if a dryer is making noise is to identify the source of the noise and confirm it’s not a sign of a bigger problem. Providing it’s not, soundproofing solutions such as sound deadening mats can make a substantial difference to the dryer’s noise levels.
Making a dryer quieter isn’t a particularly difficult task, but it’s always worth troubleshooting any potential problems first. In this article, I’ll go through the most common sources of noise from a dryer along with the best ways to make it quieter.
How to Make a Dryer Quieter
Providing you’re happy your dryer is acting normally, then there are things you can do to make it quieter. However, if you’re not completely sure, it’s worth calling in a professional to check it over before you continue.
Below is my list of top suggestions for how to quiet a noisy dryer. When applying soundproofing solutions on or near your dryer, be conscious of any air vents on the appliance itself. Dryers create quite a lot of heat and the last thing you want to do is break it by causing it to overheat.
1. Ensure the floor is level
A surprising amount of noise can be caused by the dryer being on an uneven surface. The dryer’s movement can create vibrations that easily resonate into the floor, particularly if its feet are wobbly.
The first thing you should do is check all the feet are correctly extended. Almost all dryers will have adjustable feet, which can be changed using either a wrench or screwdriver depending on the model.
Doing this is fairly easy and you should find more information in the instruction manual. The easiest way to check it’s level is to simply wobble it. If there’s any kind of movement, adjust the feet until there isn’t.
If for some reason you’re unable to solve the problem by adjusting the feet, put a block of wood or something under the shorter leg. I’d avoid using anything soft to do this because it won’t solve the problem to the extent you need.
2. Always check the clothes
This might seem like a fairly obvious tip, but you should always check your clothes before putting them in the dryer. Something as seemingly harmless as a rogue coin can not only be loud, but it can also cause a surprising amount of damage to the drum.
The best way to check your clothes is to put them in the dryer individually, rather than throwing in a massive lump of wet clothes. This will allow you to check the pockets where necessary and remove any unwanted items.
Similarly, it’s always worth doing up zips and trouser buttons. These are more likely to be noisy than cause damage, but you can never be too careful. Plastic buttons are less of an issue but can also be done up if needed.
3. Put the dryer on a mat
As mentioned, one of the more common sources of noise is the dryer vibrating on an uneven surface. Aside from adjusting the legs, the next best thing to do is to put the dryer on some anti-vibration pads (Amazon link).
These come in the form of either individual foot cups or a larger mat. Realistically either is fine, but the foot cups are certainly easier to apply. However, the mats are a good choice if you’re soundproofing the room because they save you having to apply more materials to the floor.
I’d definitely recommend using these mats on both your washer and your dryer because they make a big difference. In fact, you might find adding a few of these to your dryer is enough to solve the problem.
4. Replace any worn parts
Although I’ve covered this above it bears repeating: replace any potentially worn parts on your dryer. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a new idler pulley or drive belt can really make to a noisy dryer.
Most manufacturers have spare parts available, either through their own websites or third-party sellers. Either way, ensure you’re getting the right parts for your model and make sure you’re confident with how to replace them.
5. Soundproof the room
If your dryer is in its own room and you have the resources, possibly the best way to solve the problem is to soundproof the room the dryer is in. This could end up being a fairly expensive task and definitely requires some planning to reach the best solution.
Because a dryer will produce both impact and airborne noise, it’s worth tackling both of these issues with your soundproofing solutions. Impact noise requires mass, whereas airborne noise requires sound attenuation.
Adding mass to the walls is fairly simple, but the best product you can use is mass loaded vinyl (Amazon). It’s dense, heavy, and doesn’t resonate when it comes into contact with sound waves. A layer of these applied directly to the walls is a great start.
For sound attenuation, you want something that can trap sound waves, which reduces their resonance. Acoustic panels (Amazon) are a fairly good start, as their open-celled structure is specifically designed to trap sound waves and to prevent them from bouncing off a hard surface.
If you don’t fancy using the stuff they use in recording studios, then try something like this dense acoustic insulation panel (Amazon). It does a great job in this kind of situation and is really easy to install.
My final suggestion is to use something like Rockwool (Amazon) which is essentially an acoustic version of fiberglass thermal insulation. What’s more, this product is fire retardant, making it ideal for use around something like a dryer.
You can apply any of these products directly to the wall with nails, screws, or spray adhesive. Alternatively, you could try building your own acoustic panels (read my guide), which you can then hang from the wall using clips or brackets.
6. Soundproof the door
As you may already know, interior doors are a big problem in the soundproofing world because they have a hollow core. If your dryer room has its own door, it might be worth soundproofing it as much as possible.
Your options here are to either build an acoustic panel the same size as the door, which you can then hang on the inside when the dryer is in use, or replace it with a solid interior door.
Solid doors are fairly expensive but will make a massive difference to sound leakage. Also, many come with fire safety features, which is always a bonus.
Whichever you choose, consider trying to reduce the gap around the door with some weather stripping. This stuff is designed to keep out drafts but is equally effective at blocking noise too.
7. Move the dryer elsewhere
If you don’t have the ability to soundproof the room your dryer is currently in, consider moving it to a different room if possible. It might be obvious but put it in a room far away from where you’ll be when it’s in use. Alternatively, move it to a room that can be soundproofed, and then give that a go.
About dryer noise
It’s perfectly normal for a dryer to make some kind of noise. After all, it’s got plenty of moving parts, and even the clothes being tossed around inside can be fairly noisy if there’s a rogue zip or button in there.
However, if your dryer is being particularly noisy then it’s understandable to try and make it quieter. Before you start covering it in soundproofing materials though, it’s worth confirming that the noises aren’t a sign of a bigger issue.
Although you might be fairly confident in troubleshooting any problems with your dryer, it might not be possible to fix them yourself. This will entirely depend on your DIY skills, and whether your machine is still under warranty.
If it is, and you believe it has a problem, then the best thing you can do is call in a professional to fix it. Not only will they have access to all of the correct parts, but they’ll be able to fix it and not void the warranty.
That said, I’ve always been a big believer in learning by doing. If you feel confident in your fixing ability and don’t have a warranty to worry about, then you could learn a lot by trying to repair your own dryer.
Even if your dryer appears to be functioning normally it can still be a loud machine. The heating element and drum are both fairly noisy components, and if yours has an outlet hose then this can also be a source of noise.
So whether your dryer is functioning properly or not, soundproofing might be the way forwards. Before we look at the best options for soundproofing your dryer, though, it’s worth going through the most common noises and their causes.
Common noises from a dryer
Whirring and clanking are fairly normal noises from a dryer. After all, it has a spinning drum (the whirring) and clothes moving around inside it (the clanking). Aside from this, you can expect some level of noise from the heating element and outlet hose, if you have one.
If you use your dryer on a regular basis then you should hopefully notice any changes to the noise it makes. Below is a list of the most common unusual noises for a dryer to make, along with their most likely causes.
Squeaking definitely isn’t a healthy noise for a dryer to make. There shouldn’t be anything inside the dryer that squeaks when functioning normally, as this is usually a sign of something being worn or rubbing against another component.
In most cases, a squeaking dryer is a sign of damage to something called the idler pulley. An idler pulley is a component found in many machines and its purpose is to stop the drum belt from slipping out of place while in use.
Over time this pulley can become worn because it’s constantly under tension. It’s designed to be a less sturdy part for this exact reason: if it’s going to wear out anyway then it might as well be made from a low-cost material.
The first sign of a worn pulley is the drum moving but squeaking while it does so. If it’s more damaged, the drum might not move completely, or at all. However, don’t take an immobile drum as a sign of a broken pulley, as this could be something else.
Diagnosing a damaged or broken idler pulley isn’t too difficult because it can be accessed fairly easily from the front panel. Again, this is because the part wears out quickly, so should be easy to access. If you’ve diagnosed this as the problem then your next step should be to replace it.
A squealing dryer shouldn’t be confused with a squeaking dryer, as these noises indicate different problems. I’d classify squeaking as an intermittent noise, whereas squealing would be a more consistent noise.
Either way, a squealing dryer will usually be a sign of a damaged or worn drive belt. Like in many other devices, the function of the drive belt is to turn the drum by connecting it to the motor.
Like the idler pulley, the drive belt will be one of the first pieces to wear out. It’s usually made of rubber and so can crack under the heat and strain. If it has worn out, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem because it’s another fairly easy part to replace.
However, squealing could also be a sign of damage to the motor. The easiest way to diagnose the problem is to turn the dryer off, open the panel, and spin the drum. If it still squeaks, it’s likely to be the drive belt and not the motor.
Luckily it’s fairly easy to replace the drive belt, but not as easy to replace the motor. If you think it’s the motor then the best thing you can do is call in a professional engineer. They’ll have access to a new motor and can install it for you.
Next on our list of unusual dryer noises is grinding. A grinding noise will sound like 2 parts rubbing against each other and will most likely be caused by the drum support bearing.
The purpose of the drum support bearing is, unsurprisingly, to support the drum. It sits at the back of the drum and can either be a ball and socket or a shaft and sleeve.
As is becoming a common theme, the drum support bearing gets a lot of use every time the machine is turned on. This means it can wear out over time and need replacing.
The easiest way to diagnose this problem is to disconnect the machine from the power, remove the panel, and drive belt. Next, try turning the drum by hand, and if it’s difficult or makes the same grinding sound, then you’ve likely got a damaged support bearing.
Luckily this is another part that’s fairly easy to replace. The parts are readily available online from a number of retailers and should only take a few minutes to install.
The final unusual noise we’ll look at is a thumping dryer. This is usually caused by damage or wears to the drum seal, which is designed to create padding between the drum and the rest of the machine.
The thumping noise itself is caused by air getting into the drum through the broken seal. Over time, this problem can damage your clothes if they get caught in the seal and can cause major damage to your dryer.
To diagnose a damaged drum seal, open the dryer up and take out the drum. If there are cracks or signs of wear on the felt seal around its edge, then it’s time to replace.
Replacing your dryer’s drum seal is fairly straightforward but the area will need a good cleaning first to remove any remnants of the old seal. Also, if your dryer appears to have more than one seal, then replace all of them at the same time.
Some final thoughts
You shouldn’t worry too much if your dryer is making noise because it’s often fairly easy to solve. Providing you’ve gone through the potential issues I’ve listed above, your next best step is to try and soundproof the space around the dryer.
However, as I mentioned, this should never come at the expense of safety, particularly around something like a dryer. Also, if you’re ever in doubt about anything, be sure to give a professional engineer a call before proceeding.
Thanks for reading! Here are my recommended products for soundproofing.