When my 10-year-old Frigidaire clothes dryer started leaving friction marks on clothes, I was afraid it might be time to start shopping laundry appliances. Fortunately, I was able to fix the dryer myself for far less than the cost of a service call or a new appliance. In fact all it took was $50 in parts and an hour or two of my time.
Diagnosing the Problem
A quick Google search identified that the mysterious rusty brown marks on my laundry were caused by worn out drum glides. The broken glides create a gap at the front of the dryer drum where clothes can get stuck and then marked by friction during the dryer operation. When the glides are severely worn, there may be also be a grinding sound when the dryer spins, though that wasn’t a symptom for me.
Making the Repair
Begin any appliance repair by unplugging the power cord, and–if applicable–turning off the gas supply. After I powered down the dryer, I removed the top panel and opened the front of the appliance to access the drum glides.
Yikes! With the cabinet opened, I found that in addition to repairing the drum glides, I also had to clean out a decade’s worth of errant lint. I always clean the lint screen between loads and have even vacuumed out the exhaust duct a couple times, including after the incident with the rabbit, so I was surprised to find this much lint in the cabinet. Considering the fire risk posed by dryer lint, I’m glad this repair allowed me the opportunity to clean out the cabinet. It really would have been worth opening up the dryer just to do this cleaning.
With the front panel of the cabinet opened, the worn out drum glides were easy to spot. Of the plastic glide plates attached to the felt gasket, two were very worn down and one had broken off altogether. Friction from the dryer drum had also discolored the felt to the same rust color I had found on my clothes.
To begin the part replacement, I removed the felt gasket from the flange on the front panel using a stiff putty knife. The gasket on my dryer consisted of two pieces, an upper felt that was grey, dense, and held the plastic glides, and a lower felt that was white and slightly less dense. After I had scraped off the felt and adhesive as well as I could with the scraper, I used a steel wool pad to take off the rest of the old adhesive to ensure a solid repair.
With the glide flange prepared, I could install new upper and lower felt gaskets that I bought from a local appliance parts supplier. The kit included adhesive, so there were no worries about picking the right glue for the job. I glued and positioned the upper felt with the drum glides first, using several clamps to fix the gasket in place. Once the upper felt was set, I glued and clamped the lower felt. Taking pictures throughout this process was helpful as a reference for installing the new parts exactly as the old had been.
After giving the adhesive time to firmly set, I reversed my disassembly steps to put the dryer back together. Before I put the top panel back in place, I took a picture of the drum glides properly mated to the dryer drum.
The dryer runs perfectly after reassembly and I have stopped finding friction marks on my clothes. The low cost and simple repair steps made this a great DIY repair project– one I think many people could undertake. I also know now that it is relatively easy to open up the dryer cabinet for periodic cleaning, so I should be able to keep cabinet lint accumulation under control and safe. To remind me about this periodic service need, I used my labelmaker to create a “Cabinet interior last cleaned” date label which I attached to the front of the dryer.
Now if only the laundry would fold itself.