The Mystery of the Stinky Laundry has been Solved!

Dryer Fires are All Too Common
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Your own safety is at stake when your neighbors wall is ablaze.
— Horace
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Last week, I noticed that when our clothes came out of the dryer, they had a strong stinky, organic burnt smell. I mean, it was gross and stunk up the whole house.
I thought maybe lint had built up, so I asked my son Eric to help me check the lint in the vent tube. I’m obsessive about clearing the lint basket, but that stuff can still build up.
But the vent was clear.
Obviously, something else was wrong.
I called Sears. They sent a repairman out, who checked everything out, but he found nothing definitive, just a burnt out bulb. He gave the innards of the dryer a thorough vacuuming and changed the bulb, which, by the way, had exploded, while he was fixing something else.
He said that perhaps a stink bug had gotten in and stuck onto the heating element, and it needed to burn off. He suggested that I run the dryer empty for about an hour. So that’s what I did.
I thought, “Great, now I can do laundry.” So I threw some whites in.
About 30 minutes into the drying cycle, that awful odor came back, and the new light bulb had gone out again.
I called Sears again, who, today, sent another guy out – Greg.
I explained what the other repairman had already done, so that he wouldn’t have to repeat checking for lint, etc.
Evidently, yesterday’s repairman had not checked the actual element, but Greg did, and found the problem right away.
What he found was totally gross.
Something – an animal, I think – had crawled in (perhaps through the vent) and taken residence in the element. Whatever it was, it was a clump like charcoal, very stinky charcoal. Not only was it unpleasant but also dangerous because it was shorting out a wire to the light, which explains why the bulb was blowing.
Greg replaced the element with a new one and changed the light bulb.
The best thing: it didn’t cost us a penny – last December, a Sears representative had convinced us to buy a repair policy for our 8-year-old dryer. I was dubious: I mean, who offers a service policy on an old dryer? I didn’t even think it was possible...
Usually, I don’t buy into these things, but something told me it was a good idea. A $200 policy has saved us over $400.
So mystery solved; I’m now rewashing our stinky clothes.
Such a domestic Goddess!
By the way, the image is not of our dryer, but it represents what could have been!

Lint fires are the most common.
This Today Show simulation shows how fast
these kinds of fires can spread.
But when something gets stuck in the element,
fires can start there as well.
It was a good thing that the bad smell
acted as a warning, albeit a stinky one!
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