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Can You Run a Dryer Empty? (Quick Answers)

Dryer machines are helpful for people who do not have space to dry their clothes under the sun or are in places where direct sunlight does not reach them.

Nowadays, washing machines come with built-in dryers, commonly known as all-in-one washing machines. If you want to find out if you can run an empty dryer, you will have your answer shortly.

Running a dryer empty

You can run a dryer empty without causing any issues. Some manufacturers recommend in the manual to run the dryer without anything the first time after installation. Running the dryer empty removes any debris that might have got in during delivery and any present harmful gases in the drum.

Dryers have sealed doors to prevent the hot air from going outside the machine. However, some dust particles and dirt can still get inside the dryer drum during delivery.

Besides, during installation, the door is opened and closed a few times, which allows dust to settle inside the drum.

Therefore, most people recommend running the empty dryer the first time after installation.

Running the dryer without anything will help remove the dirt inside the drum. The hot air will blow inside the drum, and the dust will leave the machine via the hot air vent.

Similarly, running the dryer empty at first will remove any gas buildup inside the roller drum.

Sometimes, various gas gets trapped inside the dryer drum because the door of a dryer is sealed to prevent heat loss. So, if you run the dryer without any contents, the gas will escape through the hot air vent.

A minor group argues that running an empty dryer is just a waste of energy and time as it consumes the same amount of energy when clothes are inside. However, this is not the case.

An empty dryer will not consume excessive power since there are no clothes inside to dry; it will only pull in a little amount of electricity to operate.

Moreover, some people share concerns that an empty dryer will cause house fires. Even though dryers are responsible for 92% of cases of a house fires in the United States, empty dryers do not pose any fire risk.

Running a dryer without any clothes will not cause any dangers or cause any electrical issues.

If you are curious, lint is the main reason behind house fires caused by dryer machines. So, you should always check and clean the lint filter and vacuum near the vent to prevent the buildup of lint.

It is a serious issue and can cause the temperatures to rise significantly, resulting in fires.

Is it required?

Running a dryer empty is not necessarily required. Some people have a regular practice of running dryers without putting any clothes in.

However, there are no disadvantages to running an empty dryer, and here are some points that encourage running a dryer without any clothes in it.

Firstly, dryers have sealed doors to prevent hot air from escaping outside the machine other than the exhaust vent. Still, dust particles and dirt may enter the dryer machine during the product delivery.

Running the vent empty before you dry your first load will remove all the dust inside the drum.

Secondly, some materials inside the dryer machine release gases that remain trapped inside the device because the door is air-tight.

So, you should run the dryer empty the first time after installation to help the gases escape through the dryer vent. Avoiding running the dryer empty after installation may cause the first load of clothes to absorb the mildly harmful gases.

Additionally, you should run the dryer without any clothes in it after you have dried a load of clothes. Doing so will make the hot air blow away any remaining lint or dust in the drum via the dryer vent to the outside of the house.

Regularly running the dryer empty after drying a load will help you maintain the quality of the dryer and keep it clean as new.

Should you run a tumble dryer empty?

Tumble dryers are common dryers that dry clothes by rotating them in hot air in the drum. You will see most homes have tumble dryers as opposed to electric dryers and ventless dryers.

Since most people own tumble dryers, the query, if they can run a tumble dryer empty, is common.

As tumble dryers have a rotating drum that moves the clothes around to allow hot air to pass through them, they can store a significant amount of lint in the lint filter.

Also, after drying a load, you will often see some lint stuck on the surface of the drum. You can run the empty dryer to rid the lint from inside the drum.

Additionally, after the installation of the tumble dryer, you can run the dryer empty to check for any issues.

Moreover, running the dryer empty will remove any dust particles that may have gotten in during the delivery process. Any stuck gas will also escape the machine.

What happens if you run a dryer empty?

Although it is not necessary to run a dryer empty, there are a few compelling reasons to do so. Read the points below to better understand the benefits.

Remove dirt and dust particles:

After a successful installation of your new dryer, you may find some dirt and dust particles. Although the door of a dryer is air-tight, tiny dust particles and dirt still manage to get inside the machine somehow.

So, you may see dust settled on the drum of the dryer. To remove any outside particles from the drum, close the dryer door and run the dryer empty.

The hot air inside the rotating drum will blow the particles out through the vent outside your home. Some manufacturers mention running the dryer empty the first time to ensure no particles get mixed with the first load of clothes you want to dry.

Remove lint:

Drying loads of clothes will make the lint filter full of lint and you may often see some lint stuck on the surface of the dryer.

If you are wondering how to rid of that stuck lint, turn on the dryer without anything inside it. The hot air will make the lint leave the surface of the drum and force it to move towards the exhaust.

Release trapped gas:

Sometimes, you will notice manufacturers suggesting in the manual that you run the dryer empty after installation.

The reason behind the suggestion is to release any gas that may have come from any materials inside the machine. The gas trapped inside the drum can be harmful. So, run the dryer empty to allow the gas to escape outside your home.


Most people regularly run their dryers empty for maintenance purposes. Running the dryer empty removes any stuck lint and dust particles that may have made their way inside in some way.

If you wish to keep your dryer as clean as new, run the dryer empty sometimes and you will see the benefits in the long run.

These are all the encouraging points why you should run a dryer empty. It is not necessary and completely depends on if you wish to do it.

How to run a dryer empty?

Running a dryer empty is a simple task and you can do it by following the easy steps listed below:

Ensure the dryer is on:

Before you try to run your dryer without any clothes in it, ensure that the dryer is on and the electricity connection is on. Otherwise, you will not be able to operate the dryer, let alone run it empty.

Close the dryer door:

You have to run the empty dryer with the door closed. If you run it while the door is open or you open it halfway through the cycle, you risk damaging the dryer machine. The thermostat will fail and the machine will overheat, resulting in fires.

Keep the dryer door closed while it is running to keep the hot air inside the machine. You do not want the hot air to leave the appliance.

Choose one complete cycle:

To effectively run the empty dryer, you will have to select one complete cycle. During the cycle, you should not interrupt the process and allow the dryer to keep running. Otherwise, you may damage the appliance.

Turn off the dryer and open the door:

After the dryer has completed a complete cycle, open the door to let the hot air out. Before you open the door, you should turn the dryer off.

Final Thoughts

It is not necessary to run a dryer empty. However, some reasons may compel you to do so. The only drawback of running a dryer without clothes will probably be additional electricity charges. On the bright side, you can easily remove dust and lint and keep your dryer looking new.