Why Does My Hair Dryer Smell Like Fish?

Have you ever plugged in your hair dryer, ready to dry your luscious locks, only to be greeted by an unpleasant fishy odor wafting through the air? If so, you’re not alone in this peculiar experience. A hair dryer emitting a fishy smell can be both perplexing and concerning. Understanding the possible reasons behind this unexpected phenomenon is essential to maintain a safe and pleasant hair care routine. This article will answer your question: “Why does my hair dryer smell like fish?”

Why does my blow dryer smell like fish

Why does my hair dryer smell like fish?

The smell of fish coming from your hair dryer could be attributed to several factors. Here are some possible explanations:

Trimethylaminuria (TMAU)

Trimethylaminuria, also known as “fish odor syndrome,” is a rare metabolic disorder that causes a person’s body to emit a strong, unpleasant odor resembling rotting fish. While TMAU primarily affects breath, sweat, and other bodily fluids, it’s possible that the smell could transfer to objects like a hair dryer if it comes into contact with those fluids. If you suspect you have TMAU, it is recommended to consult a medical professional for diagnosis and further guidance.

Electrical problems

If your hair dryer is old or faulty, it may emit a fishy smell due to electrical issues. In this case, it is advisable to discontinue using the hair dryer for safety reasons and consider replacing it.

Lint and dust buildup

Over time, lint and dust can accumulate in a hair dryer, particularly on the heating element. This buildup can cause overheating and produce a fishy smell. Cleaning the hair dryer thoroughly, including the lint trap and heating element, might help eliminate the odor.

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How do I get the fish smell out of my dryer?

To get the fish smell out of your dryer, you can follow these steps:

Clean the lint filter and trap

The accumulation of lint on the lint filter can cause a fishy smell in the dryer. Remove the lint screen and manually remove lint from it. Use a vacuum cleaner or lint trap brush to clean any remaining lint and debris from the trap.

Check the vent area for lint buildup

Lint can also accumulate in the vent area of the dryer, leading to unpleasant odors. Regularly clean the vent to ensure proper airflow and prevent the smell from circulating back into the dryer.

Remove wet clothing promptly

Leaving damp clothing in the dryer for an extended period can contribute to a strange odor. Make sure to promptly remove clothes from the dryer once they are dry to avoid any lingering smells.

Wash clothes frequently

If the fishy smell persists, consider washing your clothes more frequently. Washing clothes with a suitable detergent can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria and prevent them from transferring the smell to the dryer.

Clean the dryer

Give your dryer a thorough cleaning to eliminate any remaining odors. Wipe down the interior surfaces, including the drum, with a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. You can also use vinegar or baking soda as natural odor-neutralizing agents.

Air out the dryer

After cleaning, allow the dryer to air out by running it empty on a no-heat cycle for a few minutes. This can help remove any remaining odors from the machine.

Following these steps, you should be able to get rid of the fish smell in your dryer and ensure your clothes come out fresh and odor-free. Remember to perform regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent future odors from developing.


If your hair dryer smells like fish, it is likely due to the accumulation of bacteria or mildew in the appliance. This can happen when moisture gets trapped inside the hair dryer, providing a suitable environment for microbial growth. The fishy smell is often associated with the release of certain compounds produced by these microorganisms. To address this issue, it is recommended to thoroughly clean and dry your hair dryer, paying special attention to the filter and any areas where water may have accumulated. Regular maintenance and proper storage can help prevent the growth of bacteria and eliminate the unpleasant fishy odor from your hair dryer. Hope this article “Why does my hair dryer smell like fish?” help you.

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Can the fishy smell from my hair dryer be harmful?

No, the fishy smell itself is generally harmless. However, if the odor persists even after cleaning and maintenance, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance to identify any underlying issues.

Can I use air fresheners or perfumes to mask the fishy smell?

It’s not recommended to use air fresheners or perfumes directly on your hair dryer, as these substances may interfere with the functioning of the appliance or cause further unpleasant smells. It’s best to focus on proper cleaning and maintenance to eliminate the fishy odor.

How often should I clean my hair dryer?

Cleaning your hair dryer at least once a month is a good practice. However, if you use it frequently or notice any unusual odors, it’s advisable to clean it more often.

Can I use water to clean the inside of my hair dryer?

No, it’s not recommended to use water directly inside the hair dryer. Instead, focus on cleaning the detachable parts, such as the filter, and wiping down the exterior with a damp cloth.

What should I do if the fishy smell persists even after cleaning?

If the fishy smell persists, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance from a technician or appliance repair service. They can inspect your hair dryer for any underlying issues and provide the necessary repairs or recommendations.

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Nala Hale
Nala Hale
Hi there! I'm Nala Hale, an African American woman who wears many hats. I'm a hair stylist, blogger, and proud mother of three amazing kids. In addition to my work as a stylist, I'm also the owner and content writer for Thevenusface.com, where I share my passion for beauty, fashion, and lifestyle with the world.