Although they were invented earlier, clothing dryers became common place around 1960, and it sure has made laundry day a whole lot easier. 

Although dryers are convenient, they can breakdown easily if they are not maintained in the proper way. 

If your dryer is taking longer than usual to dry your clothes, it may be because there is a problem with the dryer. 

Continue reading to find out how long a dryer takes, as well as some of the common troubleshooting problems that you can check on to make sure your dryer is functioning as well as possible.

While you are at it, are you positive your washing machine is working efficiently: How Long Does a Washer Take?

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How Long Does a Dryer Take

How Long Does A Dryer Take?

A modern electric dryer should take approximately 30 to 50 minutes to dry a full load of damp clothes. 

The amount of time a dryer takes to dry clothes mostly depends on which kinds of fabrics are in the dryer. Lighter garments such as cotton t-shirts, or polyester underwear, will dry faster than a load of bath towels or quilts. Dryer loads containing thicker, heavier, and denser fabrics may take up to an hour or more to dry. 

If your dryer is taking longer than 50 minutes to dry a load of laundry, it may be time to look into some common issues and troubleshooting. If your dryer is taking a noticeably long time to complete a load, you may be paying extra on your electricity bill, so it is well worth it to try to identify and fix the problem. 

I would look at ways to dry your clothes without a dryer, until you figure out the issue. Line drying and dry flat are easy ways to start.

Common Dryer Issues And Troubleshooting

If your dryer is working too slowly it may be because its not hot enough (learn how hot does a dryer get.) Check for some of these common issues yourself before you call the technician. Read our article on how to use a dryer before you make that phone call, just in case you missed a an easy fix that you can figure out yourself.

1. Check the air vent

The air vent is a crucial component to efficacy of a drying machine. The air vent is where all the hot air produced in the dryer is able to funnel out towards an opening in the roof or the side of the building. If this vent is damaged, clogged, cracked, or shut in any way, this will cause problems for the dryer. 

The hot air will back up, which will cause a buildup of moisture in the drum of the dryer. This means your clothes will never fully dry and will always come out of the dryer feeling damp. Your dryer will continue, unsuccessfully, to dry your clothes until you manually stop the cycle. Some dryers will also shut down automatically if the unit suspects there is a problem with the air ventilation system.

2. Clear the lint trap

Allowing the lint trap to buildup and clog will have a similar effect to a damaged or compromised air vent. The hot air in the dryer will be unable to escape the drum, which will cause a backup of heat and moisture which will then lead to other problems. 

Be sure to constantly clear the lint trap. If you are unable to locate the lint trap on your dryer, try searching online for instructions relating to your specific dryer model. 

Clear the Lint Trap

3. Damaged or broken heating element

Its possible that the heating element, which is used to provide heat to the dryer, is broken or has burnt out

Check the instruction manual or look online to find out how to check this issue with your specific model. If you heating unit is broken or damaged, you will likely have no choice but to call a repair technician. 

4. Damaged sensors

It is unlikely that the moisture sensors on your dryer are broken, but it is possible. The moisture sensors help the dryer to know when to stop, and how much heat to use. If this sensor is broken, the dryer will not work properly.

Check your users manual to find out how to check for this issue. 

5. Human error

It is always possible that the reason an appliance or machine isn’t working well, is because of human error. Check your dryer’s user manual, and check for instructional guides online, to make sure you are drying your laundry using the right settings on the dryer. 

Having the settings adjusted to the wrong mode could be the reason your laundry is taking so long to dry, or not drying at all. Check to make sure you are using the tumble dry low setting (at minimum), and not the air dry setting. 


In the dryer, a typical load of laundry should take anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes to complete. Most modern dryers have moisture sensors. By using the automatic moisture sensor, you can be sure that the dryer will finish the cycle at the appropriate time, and that your clothes will not be over or under dried. 

The main reasons for dryers taking too long to dry clothes are: clogged air vent or lint trap, broken sensor, burnt out heating element, and user error. 

The dryer should heat up and start drying clothes almost immediatly once the cycle begins. The dryer cycle should take 30 to 50 minutes to complete. If your dryer is taking a longer time, it may be because there is an issue with your dryer.