Dryer Sounds Like It Has Rocks in It? (How To Fix)

Dryers are supposed to be fairly simple machines. You load them up with wet clothes, set the timer, and voila! But sometimes, they can act mysteriously: Clothes get tangled, buttons break, and worst of all, they start making strange noises. 

A dryer sounds like it has rocks in it because it is not level. This can be fixed by leveling the dryer with appropriate tools. Another common cause is that the dryer vent is blocked due to lint build-up or other debris. The best way to fix this problem is to clean the dryer vent.

dryer sounds like it has rocks in it

In this article, I’ll explain why your dryer might be making this noise and what you can do to fix it. If you’re asking yourself, “why are there rocks in my dryer,” you’ve come to the right place.

1. Your Dryer Is Not Level

If your dryer isn’t level, it can make a banging noise, which sounds like there are rocks in your dryer. This is because the dryer is unable to rotate properly. When the dryer cannot rotate, it will cause the drum to bang against the side of the dryer, damaging both your appliance and the clothes in it. 

How To Fix

The best way to fix this problem is to level the dryer. Here are the steps you should take to do so:

  1. Place a spirit level on the dryer with its long axis oriented side to side. Make sure you remember where the bubble is. You can take a photo using your phone with notes for good measure.
  2. Set the dryer on a level surface. 
  3. Adjust the leveling legs. Ensure the bubble is located exactly in the middle of the two lines on the glass of the spirit level.
  4. Put the spirit level above the dryer with its long axis oriented front to back. 
  5. If necessary, level the leveling legs until the bubble settles in the middle of the two lines on the glass of the spirit level.
  6. If you can’t find a level surface at home, you can use wooden or concrete blocks to make up for the difference. 

Here’s a video to help you understand how to level your dryer:

2. Your Dryer Vent Is Blocked

Another possible reason your dryer sounds like it has rocks is a blocked vent. The dryer vent helps to circulate the air in the dryer. When that air is blocked, it can cause banging and rattling sounds as though there are rocks in your dryer.

lint trap

How To Fix

There are a few things you can do to prevent your vent from becoming blocked:

  • Clean the lint screen after each load of laundry.
  • Clean the vent regularly.
  • Ensure the vent isn’t kinked or bent.

If your vent is already blocked, you need to unblock it as follows.

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source. 
  2. Remove the lint screen. 
  3. Access the vent. 
  4. Carefully remove any blockages.
  5. Reconnect the dryer to the power source. 

If you’ve performed the steps above and your dryer still sounds like it has rocks in it, there may be another issue at play. 

3. The Idler Pulley Is Worn-Out

The dryer’s pulley is a small wheel that rotates the drum and prevents the drum belt from going off the drive motor pulley. Over time, the pulley can become worn down, creating a rattling noise that sounds as though rocks keep smashing against each other.  

How To Fix

If you think your dryer’s pulley may be the culprit, there are a few things that you can do to check. 

  1. Take a look at the pulley itself. If it looks worn or damaged, replace it. 
  2. Try lubricating the pulley with a dryer-safe lubricant. I recommend the Super Lube 21010 Grease (available on Amazon.com). It’s a multipurpose lubricant that won’t leave any unsightly stains on your machine and clothes. Plus, it’s non-toxic, so it’s safe to use. 

If neither of these solutions works, call a professional.

4. The Drum Glides Are Eroded

A drum glide is a small plastic or metal piece that helps the drum rotate smoothly. Over time, this piece can get worn down and eroded. When this happens, it can cause the dryer to make a loud, erratic noise that’s definitely not pleasant to the ears.

How To Fix

Check the drum glide for wear and tear. If it’s damaged, you need to replace it with compatible drum glides. You can find these glides by looking up the model number of your dryer online and its corresponding set of glides. The model number is usually indicated on the user’s manual that came with the dryer.

I recommend this Sikawai Dryer Drum Glide Replacement Kit (available on Amazon.com), which is compatible with most brands. It’s also easy to install and has a relatively long lifespan.

5. Blower Wheel Is Loose 

A blower wheel directs airflow through your dryer from the heating chamber to the drum and — finally — the exhaust outlet. The blower wheel can become loose, making your dryer sound like it has rocks. That’s because the screw that holds the wheel in place loosens as the dryer ages. The issue can also occur if the wheel isn’t installed correctly. 

blower wheel is loose 

Left unchecked, a loose blower wheel can also lead to premature wear on the motor. 

How To Fix

If your dryer sounds like it has rocks, check the blower wheel to see if it’s loose. If it is, try reinstalling it or replacing it with a new one. 

In case your dryer has a completely different issue, and it’s a Frigidaire dryer, I suggest you hop over to my other article, “6 Reasons Your Frigidaire Dryer Won’t Work.”


If your dryer sounds like it has rocks, the most likely cause is a non-leveled dryer. To fix this problem, use a spirit level and adjust the dryer legs to level it. If the noise persists, it could indicate more serious problems, such as a worn-out idler pulley, a loose blower wheel, or an eroded drum glide.

If, after doing the above fixes, the dryer is still making noises, you should get professional assistance.