Burning smells in your clothes dryer can signify a simple, easily-fixed problem, or something much more serious. In fact, problems with clothes dryers often start house fires, according to Dryer Help. For that reason, it is important to promptly identify and solve any problem that causes a burning smell in your dryer.
Lint can get trapped in the exhaust tube, drum, lint trap and even in the drum casing. If it gets too hot, it can scorch or even catch on fire, causing a burning smell. Empty the lint trap often, and make sure lint is not getting trapped or built up in the exhaust vent.
Dryers have motors, and as they age, they can burn out just like any other motor. This causes a very strong burning smell, and your dryer will either not run at all, or it will run poorly and with a lot of noise.
In some dryers, a belt turns the drum. This belt can slip off, which can cause it to start melting. Because it is usually made of rubber, it will then produce a very strong, unpleasant burning odor. If your drum is not turning smoothly or properly, and you notice a bad burning smell, your belt is probably damaged.
Sometimes, a small piece of clothing can get trapped between the outside of the drum and the wall of the dryer, where it can become scorched. This is infrequent and usually does not cause a strong smell, however.