Dryer Smells like Lighter Fluid: Causes & How to Fix

It is not unheard of to have lighter fluid smells emitting from your dryer. The offensive lighter fluid smell can be investigated, corrected, and fixed without hiring a technician.

Sometimes the butane smell may even get into your clothes after drying them, causing you some discomfort during use. In this guide, we will examine the causes and solutions to a lighter fluid smell (and maybe, other kinds of smells) in your dryer.

dryer smells like lighter fluid

Dryer Smells Like Lighter Fluid: Common Causes

1. Flammable chemicals

Your gas dryer produces a flame that is very strong to burn flammable chemicals such as varnishes, stains, and paint among others.

While your dryer is in use, it generates strong heat that burns the chemicals in the appliance, and the process produces vapors that smell like lighter fluid. When the heated vapor enters the dryer’s vent, it penetrates the clothes in the drum and the clothes begin to smell like lighter fluid too.

2. Gas additives

If your dryer just began to smell like lighter fluid after months of use, it is possible that the gas it runs on is tainted with chemical additives.

Some gas companies add additives to the gas so that users can perceive distinguishable smells if there’s any gas leakage; such additives may saturate clothes and emit from the dryer during and after use, giving the impression of a lighter fluid odor. To be sure, ask your gas supplier if new chemicals were added to the gas or switch to your former supplier.

3. Chemical contaminants

If you began to notice the offensive lighter fluid smell after running a laundry load, it is possible that the laundry was contaminated with solvents or lighter fluid.

To get this in perspective, if you wash clothes contaminated with lighter fluids or solvents or other chemicals before drying them, the dryer will give off the contaminating odors if they were not effectively washed out in the laundry machine. Dryers have a way of intensifying odors in clothes washed and unwashed.

4. Gas leakage in dryer

You may not like the thought, but gas leakage could occur in your dryer without you knowing; the only indication might be the lighter fluid smell you perceive. If you smell gas or smoke emitting from your appliance, it is likely that the vent or filter is bad and should be looked into.

Sometimes, a dirty filter or exhaust system breach may cause ventilation problems that produce a bad odor; and it is also a good idea to ascertain if the gas valve is shutting off properly.

5. Mildew, burnt rubber, and dead animal smells

While the focus in this guide is on dryers that smell like lighter fluid, it is also possible to experience offensive smells related to mildew or mold, burnt rubber, and dead animals in your appliance. These might be due to the buildup of lint, accumulation of mold or mildew, blocked ducts and vents, clogs in pipes, and trapped dead rodents. If you suspect any of these to be the case, you must contact a professional technician to help deal with the situation.

Dryer Smells Like Lighter Fluid: How to Fix

The best way to fix dryer odors depends on the cause of the odors. You must first ascertain the causes of the offensive odors before proceeding with corrective repairs.

  • If you perceive that your clothes smell of lighter fluid after drying them in the machine, you may get rid of the odor by running your dryer on “Air Fluff” mode for at least 10 minutes. But if this does not work, then rewash the clothes and redry again to solve the problem.
  • If the odor is from the dryer, you can attempt to eliminate the smell by placing wet towels in the dryer and then operating the machine on high heat until the towels are dry. This activity will cause the towels to absorb the lighter fluid smell in the drum of the dryer and rid the machine of the odor.
  • Check for clogged vents and filters. Clean out all lint buildup and remove all blockages in the ducts and vents for effective ventilation. Clean the filter and ensure that the exhaust system is working perfectly. If you are not sure how to proceed then it is advisable you contact a licensed technician to help.
  • Repair any gas leaks. If you suspect that the gas in your dryer is leaking or the gas valve is not shutting off completely, you must hire a professional repairman to check it out. The technician may repair or replace faulty components and any leakages will be stopped. Please be aware that gas leakage is dangerous for anyone and is a major cause of house fires and property damage.
  • If you smell dead animals in your house, check the vents of the dryer since rodents and mice are often attracted to the heat emanating from there. Remove any trapped and dead animal and the offensive smell from your dryer will stop. If you smell molds in your dryer, remove all lint and clean out mildew by washing the affected areas with a mixture of water and bleach or vinegar or with baking soda.
  • Check and repair or replace the igniter in your dryer if it is bad. A bad igniter will cause gas leakage and you don’t want this to happen – a gas leakage from a faulty igniter will cause the clothes to smell like gas and may cause fire hazards in serious cases. An accredited technician may be able to help if you don’t know how to proceed with this.

It is always a good idea to clean the components of your dryer every month. This will prevent a buildup of lint, mold or mildew, and dirt that could clog the vent. It is also best to check for leakage of gas – and that is why chemical additives that give a distinctive smell to gas is good – and contact a professional to repair or replace faulty gas valves, breached exhaust vents, and faulty igniter among others.