Why Does My Dryer Keep Tangling Laundry

Paradise Appliance
August 17, 2020
Dryer Repair

On the long list of potential problems that your dryer can manifest, a dryer tangling laundry is not often considered a huge one that needs immediate professional intervention. It is really just more of an annoying problem that some feel they need to deal with, but it is a problem none-the-less. You could certainly live your life opening your dryer mid-cycle to untangle your clothes or run longer cycles because the tangled clothing did not dry properly, but that is so disruptive to your everyday life and an unnecessary waste of energy. Furthermore, this issue is often a symptom of a deeper problem, the longer you ignore it, the bigger the potential is that the problem will become a more disruptive one. After all, problems in appliances don’t heal like a wound, they only really get worse.

When laundry is tangling up, it is first important to consider what you are drying at the time. For example, sheets and blankets are the most common culprits for this problem because they are long and large. They just naturally twist up in the drying process. If this is only happening to those items of clothing, then there is likely not a problem. However, if you notice it with items of clothing outside of sheets and blankets, then you will want to investigate the following problems and plan on how to best address them.

Static Electricity

This is the most innocent and easily fixed problem that causes your clothing to get all tangled up, but it is also a problem that is not as easily fixed. Static electricity is caused by two fabrics rubbing against each other. There is quite a lot of that going on in your dryer. This static electricity causes clothing to cling together and get tangled up. Fixing this issue is more about choosing what items to wash. Synthetic clothing is much more likely to generate static electricity when in contact with other clothes. If you are washing a lot of synthetic fabrics, it may be best to spread out the loads more or intermix more non-synthetic in to prevent tangling. You can also look into mesh bags to separate your synthetics from the rest of the load to prevent everything tangling together.

There is one small trick to deal with static electricity. You can toss a ball of aluminum foil inside the dryer drum. However, this needs to be used on a medium to low heat. Aluminum does attract and absorb static electricity, but obviously it can also get hot. While it likely won’t be in contact with your clothes long enough to do damage, there is the potential for it and you want to avoid that.

The Drum is Turning Incorrectly

The motion of your dryer drum is integral in ensuring proper drying for your clothing. If your dryer drum isn’t spinning correctly, then the clothing is not being rotated correctly. This not only makes it more prone to tangling, but it will result in poorly dried clothes as well. The rotary motion of the drum varies in speed depending on the cycle, but it does provide constant ventilation and prevents clothing from excessive rubbing. In its own way, a static electricity problem mentioned above could also be caused by this as well.

The only way to really check for this is to look and listen. Does everything look normal when spinning, or does everything sound normal if you cannot see inside? If you have observed the dryer drum and it is not spinning correctly, your examination should first start with a physical check for items blocking the rotation. This can often be caused by smaller items, like underwear, becoming wedged in the dryer, and preventing motion. However, if this is the case, you will likely hear it before you see it as the dryer struggles to turn.

Dryer Belt

The drum in your dryer is turned by a sturdy rubber belt attracted to a motor. If your dryer drum is spinning incorrectly or not at all, then the dryer belt is an excellent place to check in order to quickly fix that. Most often, you will find that the belt looks okay, but the problem is that it has too much slack to it and causes improper drum turning. If you press it down and find that it gives more than half an inch to pressure, then this is a problem. You will want to tighten it up.

When checking the belt for tightness and ensuring it is actually on the track, you will also want to check for wear. If there are worn or brittle looking areas, it is best to replace the belt. In truth, if your belt has manifest any issues, including just getting slackened, it may be better to replace it. A problem occurring once is even more likely to come back if not replaced. Dryer belts are both cheap and easy to replace.


If you can wedge it into your washer, you want to wedge it into your dryer so it is just all done, right? Unfortunately, as an overloaded washer can have its own problems, so too can an overloaded dryer. Not only can a dryer with too many clothes in it be damaged by those clothes, but they won’t dry very well. Air simply will not be able to circulate as it needs to. It results in damp clothes and clothes getting all tangled up with each other. Furthermore, a dryer that has to run more than one cycle or work harder because it is overfilled uses a lot more energy. You may think it saves time, but it doesn’t and you will pay extra for it.

It is worth noting that the dryer cavity is much larger than the drum in your washer, so it is an impressive feat to overfill a dryer. Yet, if you have this problem with no obvious causes, it is worth cutting your dryer load down a little bit just to make sure that this is not the issue.


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