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Tumble Dryers: Condenser Drawers Explained

Tumble dryers are popular household appliances that work to remove moisture from clothes, allowing them to dry. They usually fall into two categories, vented and condenser, which use different technology to dry the clothes. Vented tumble dryers remove hot air through the vent, whilst condenser dryers convert the hot air into water. In this article, we look at condenser tumble dryers and their water tanks.

How to condenser tumble dryers work and what is the condenser drawer?

Condenser tumble dryers work by heating up the clothes by circulating hot air inside. As a result, the moisture leaves the clothes and collects in a water tank known as the condenser drawer. The condenser drawer may be found near the bottom or top of your tumble dryer. This is an area which water accumulates inside of during the drying process.

Does the condenser drawer need to be emptied?

Depending on the set up, the tumble dryer may have an optional drainage hose connected which will automatically drain the water. However, if this is not connected then the water will need to be drained manually. The unit itself will need to be emptied regularly, or whenever the drawer appears full. The appliance is likely to have an ‘Empty’ indicator which will light up to inform that it needs emptying. To empty this, simply remove the unit, empty out the water, and refit it.

Does the condenser drawer need to be cleaned?

Like any other part of an appliance, the condenser drawer should be cleaned and maintained. It is recommended to clean it after every 30 drying processes, once a month, or if the appliance flashes a cleaning warning light.

The cleaning instructions for a condenser vary by model. Generally, the steps to cleaning a condenser drawer will involve pulling out the unit, cleaning with a shower head, draining the water out, and then refitting. This allows the removal of any dirt and avoids abrasives that may scratch the surface.

Why is it important to empty and clean the condenser drawer?

The main reason why it is important to clean this unit is to prevent issues with drying times. If the unit is not emptied or cleaned, the appliance may struggle to reach the desired temperature to complete a drying cycle. This is because water that should be collecting during the drying process will not have room in the drawer, so will remain in the drum itself and not allow the clothes to fully dry.

It is also significant in cleaning to keep smelling fresh. If the water is left in the drawer, it may develop a smell over time which could linger on clothing. By emptying and cleaning the drawer, it prevents this from happening and keeps your clothes smelling fresh when drying them after a wash.


It is beneficial to know how your condenser tumble dryer operates so you know how to empty and clean the drawer if necessary. You can view all tumble dryers here.