How To Clean Your Dryer’s Moisture Sensor

moisture sensor

Making sure your dryer’s moisture sensor is clean and working properly is a great way to ensure your dryer is using energy efficiently. The moisture sensor does what it’s name implies–senses moisture. If you use the “auto-dry” setting on your clothes dryer, this sensor will keep tabs on when your clothes are dry, and turn the dryer off automatically. This can save you a lot of money and reduce carbon emissions substantially.

How it works:

Typically, the moisture sensor in your dryer consists of two metal bars mounted on a black plate. The two metal bars will protrude into the dryer’s drum. When they come into contact with wet clothing (as the clothing is tumbling by), it temporarily creates a closed circuit, allowing a brief electrical impulse to pass through. As the moisture dissipates, the current becomes weaker. When the sensors can no longer detect moisture in the clothes in the drum, the dryer automatically turns off. Cool, right?

However, over time, things like dirt, lint and even dryer sheets can coat the sensor, preventing your dryer from being able to accurately sense when the clothes are dry. This will result in either under or over drying. To help keep your dryer working efficiently, simply follow these steps to clean your unit’s moisture sensor.

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • A Damp Rag
  • A Brillo Pad
  • A Dry Rag

Instructions: how to clean your dryer’s moisture sensor

1. Locate your dryer’s moisture sensor. In older dryers, this sensor is typically found on the back wall of the dryer drum.

Clothes dryer moisture sensor

In newer dryers, typically, the moisture sensor is located on the front, often mounted to the lint filter housing.

2. Take your fine sandpaper and scrub the moisture sensor. All you should need to clean the sensor is a piece of fine grit sandpaper, a rag, and a little bit of elbow grease. Sand the moisture sensor, especially if you see white stuff caking up on it. This should be more than enough to remove any dirt or lint that has been caked onto the sensor.

3. Take your dry rag and polish up the moisture sensor. Now, take your dry rag and wipe off the moisture sensor completely. Giving the moisture sensor a good scrub with the dry rag should polish up the metal bars and have it looking as good as new.

4. Test your dryer to be sure it’s working properly. To do this, next time you do laundry, make sure the auto-dry setting is “On”, and periodically check your clothes to see if they’re still damp. If your dryer’s moisture sensor is working properly the dryer should stop once the clothes are dry. If this is true, your dryer and its moisture sensor are working properly. If not, you may need to have the sensor replaced. Contact your dryer’s manufacturer to find out how to go about doing so.

Another great way to save money on your monthly electric bill is to search your home for “phantom loads“. In some cases, eliminating these phantom loads can save you as much as 10% on your monthly electric bill! A good place to start looking for these is with your washer and dryer.

Also, be sure to check out more of our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photo courtesy of Just Answer.


About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

4 comments

  • There is quite alot wrong with this article. Firstly, the moisture sensor is 2 pieces. there is a wire going from the main board to one of the sensor bars. The other bar has a wire going to ground. The “wet” clothes rub across both bars causing a momentary closed circuit and the board reads this as an indicator that the clothes are still wet.
    Secondly, most of the sensors nowadays are mounted at the front of the dryer on the lint filter housing.
    Third, I’ve been told, as a repair tech, by several mfr’s tech support lines, to use a fine sand cloth to gently buff the sensors. Then, use a dry rag to wipe away any residue.
    I’m not being critical of the author, I’m just getting some of the facts right for him.

  • My model number is aed4475tq1. My auto sensor cycle don’t dry clothes. The other cycles work. Unable locate the moisture sensor. It is not inside the drum area. Presently using the high temperature 30 minute timed cycle.

    • hi Gerald. Sorry you’re having issues with your dryer. We’ve tried to share the best information, but we are not dryer experts. I would consult with the manufacturer of the dryer to see if they could help. Good luck!

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