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Should Dryer Rollers Be Lubricated?


Unless the manufacturer instructions or a company representative expressly says it is fine, dryer rollers shouldn’t be lubricated. It may work, but ultimately, lubricants attract more dirt and lint, interfering with the rollers. More importantly, adding flammable fluids to a high-heat appliance is dangerous.

If you’re sensitive to noises or prone to worry, an irritating noise can become the bane of your existence. I know I can’t stand when my car or one of my appliances begins making a new sound, and clothes dryers are no exception to becoming a noisy antagonist.

Dryer rollers are a likely cause for whatever squeaking or rattling you might hear when running your dryer. If you look up how to fix the problem, many people swear by oiling up their rollers, but that’s actually not a recommended practice. In fact, it can be dangerous.

Do Not Lubricate Dryer Rollers

Oiling Rollers Is Not in Care Instructions

There is a common belief that manufacturing companies provide their customers with faulty care instructions in order to wear products out faster.

Open door of a modern new front-load clothes dryer appliance machine with empty tumble

In theory, this would bring a company more profit by causing customers to purchase replacements sooner, or pay the company to perform repairs and maintenance.

However, the reality is that this is rarely the case. Most manufacturers genuinely want to provide their customers with the best care instructions and prefer to build a relationship of trust and reliability.

In the case of dryer rollers, you should check the product manual or call the manufacturing company to seek advice if you feel inclined to lubricate them.

While there may be exceptions, lubricating the rollers is not a normal maintenance task, and you should not attempt to do so without confirming that it is safe for your machine.

Lubricators Are Flammable

There is one major reason that lubricating the dryer rollers is not a common maintenance task, and it is because doing so is a fire hazard. Dryers are appliances that produce a large amount of heat, and many lubricants are combustible.

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Lubricants like grease or WD-40 are considered combustible because their flash point is higher than 100 °F. This means they don’t catch fire as easily as “flammable” objects do, but dryers are capable of reaching high temperatures.

Temperatures inside the drum of a dryer may only get to around 135 °F, but near the heating elements things can heat up to about 550 °F.

The flash point of grease lubricants varies depending on what they are made of, but even greases that are unlikely to catch fire can still burn without flames and create a thick, sticky, gunky residue that will further hinder your dryer rollers from doing what they are meant to.

It’s just not a good idea to add a combustible substance to a source of heat in general. On top of this, some models of dryers are gas-powered, which means open flames are already involved and can increase the risk of a fire starting.

As you’ll read in the next section, greasing your rollers also makes them more likely to gather lint, which is a very flammable material. Needless to say, that only adds fuel to the fire—pun intended—and it’s a big risk to take.

Lint Gets Stuck on Lubricants

Even ignoring the potential fire hazard, lubricating your dryer rollers can also be inconvenient. Dust and lint will stick to and collect on whatever oil or grease you apply.

This can lead to a build-up of dust, which will begin to cover and clump all over your rollers. Given enough time, this can compromise the function of your machine.

If you apply lubricant to your rollers, you will need to clean and reapply lubricant regularly in order to prevent this build-up from gathering and interfering with your dryer’s ability to work effectively. 

As it stands, lubricated rollers provide little to no benefit, and also increase the level of maintenance required on top of creating a potential hazard.

What to Do When Dryer Squeaks

Try Cleaning It

If you were wondering about oiling your rollers because of a squeaking or squealing sound, there are alternative solutions that don’t involve adding a lubricant.

It is possible that your noisy dryer can be caused by lint build-up.

While lint is more likely to build up quickly on greased areas, it can still occur even on non-greased rollers, especially if it has been a long time since you last cleaned them. (Or since you bought the dryer, if you have never cleaned them!)

Cleaning your rollers is thankfully a relatively simple process. Once you access them, simply use a soft, clean rag. Dip the rag in warm water with a small amount of dish soap mixed in, and you have yourself a safe, gentle, and effective cleaner for removing any old dust or oil that has accumulated on the wheels.

Replace the Rollers

If you have tried cleaning your rollers and they are still making noise, you may want to look into just having them replaced. If wear has created an uneven surface on the wheels, then noises become much more common.

If you want to do the job yourself, the cost of replacement rollers is likely to be around the $10-20 range depending on what kind you need and where you get them from. Rollers can be purchased from stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot.

Actually accessing your rollers for cleaning or repair involves being able to get to the interior of your dryer. This will vary from model to model, and you should look up resources for your specific appliance for clarity.

However, the job is relatively simple and similar for many makes, since dryers work in similar ways. This video should help you get a good idea of what you’ll need to do to replace your rollers.

Call in a Professional

You may not be that confident about replacing your dryer’s rollers on your own, and that’s perfectly fine. Alternatively, you may have already cleaned or replaced your rollers, and your dryer is still making noises that are driving you up the wall.

Thankfully you’re not out of luck, as you can always call in a professional to help get to the bottom of the issue.

A squeaky dryer may not just be caused by the support rollers. Other potential reasons for the noise could include problems with the dryer belt, the idler pulley, worn-out glide bearings, or even something else altogether.

You’ll want to call an appliance repair company or even the company that manufactured your dryer in order to locate a qualified technician.

Depending on what the issue with your dryer is, repair services are likely to cost you somewhere between $100-400. However, average costs mean you’ll more likely be paying something closer to $150.

Speak to Professional Regarding Roller Lubrication

While manufacturers tend not to recommend lubricating your rollers, you may still want to try and see if doing so will end the squeaking. Some people do swear by lubricating the rollers, so you might want to give it a shot before having to shell out more money for repairs or replacements.

If you still want to try lubrication, then be sure to call the manufacturer first. By doing this you’ll be able to confirm whether or not lubricating the rollers on your appliance is a poor idea. They may warn you against doing so, or they may say it is alright.

If the manufacturer does not strongly warn against lubrication, you can also ask about what products would be safe and effective.

Going Against Manufacturer Advice Voids Warranty

Regardless of all outside advice, what you decide to do with your own property is strictly your decision. However, you should be aware that in many cases, going against manufacturer advice may void any warranties that you have.

If you have a warranty for repairs or replacements, be sure to read over the terms on top of confirming care instructions with the manufacturer. 

While it’s possible that lubricating your dryer rollers can fix your problem, there’s also lots of room for something to go wrong. If that is the case and the manufacturing company does not support the actions taken, you could be held completely liable for the resulting costs on your own.

Are the Rollers the Problem?

I would like to propose an alternative theory for the dryer making noise. Perhaps the issue is not the rollers but rather the dryer belt. There are many reasons why a dryer belt can be making a noise and replacing the rollers will not help at all.

Sources

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/dryer-squeaking/

https://blog.puls.com/dryer-repair-vs.-replacement

https://www.homeserve.com/en-us/blog/cost-guide/dryer-repair-cost/

https://www.hwahomewarranty.com/learning-center/homeowners/how-hot-should-a-dryer-get

https://www.maytag.com/blog/washers-and-dryers/why-is-my-dryer-squeaking.html

https://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/31997/is-bearing-grease-flammable

https://www.whirlpool.com/blog/washers-and-dryers/clean-dryer.html

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