4 Reasons Your Hair Dryer Won’t Stay On (Solved)

Hair dryers not only significantly decrease the amount of time needed to dry your luscious locks, but they can also help with hair styling.

So when you notice your hair dryer starting to malfunction and not staying on, it’s no wonder that your morning routine becomes a little stressful.

Read on to learn about the most common reasons as to why your hair dryer may be switching itself off and how to solve them.

Beautiful woman with amazing curls in white shirt holds styling accessories in hand. Hair styling set with curling accessories

Your Hair Dryer Is Shutting Down Because It Has Overheated

The majority of well-made hair dryers on the market predominantly have in-built automatic switches (circuit breakers).

These switches prevent damage to the electrical circuits inside the hair dryer when they are subjected to an overload in electricity or when overheating is detected.

This will present itself as your hair dryer switching off suddenly.

As annoying as it may be for your hair dryer to switch off all of a sudden, it is a brilliant protective mechanism that will prevent the intricate parts of the hair dryer from melting due to unusually high temperatures.

If the circuit breakers weren’t in place, you may be faced with a non-repairable hair dryer and a dent in your bank balance when you have to run out to buy a replacement.

Overheating can be caused by the following:

  • Repeated excessive-use
  • A clogged internal filter
  • A blocked external grill

To prevent overheating due to over-use, try to limit the length of time you use the hair dryer for.

If you absolutely need to use it for a prolonged period, simply give it a rest every 10 or so minutes to allow for it to cool before continuing.

If you can smell burning, or the outer shell feels too hot to the touch, it is likely the grill is clogged with hair or dust.

The grill is the vent at the back that pulls the external air inwards to be heated and then expelled; this suction makes it easy for the grill to become blocked with hair and dust.

The grill should be cleaned regularly (once a month depending on usage) to prevent overheating and prolong the life span of your product.

You should also always make sure you are not blocking the back vent of the hair dryer with clothing or any other items when it is in use, as this can cause the motor to work overtime.

If it is blocked, it can easily be resolved by following these easy steps:

  1. Begin with your hair dryer switched off and unplugged from the socket.
  2. Locate the grill.
    • On nearly all hair dryers the grill can be located at the back.
  3. Remove the grill.
    • This is normally done by simply twisting the back of the dryer until a plastic shield pops off.
  4. Now you should be able to see all the dirt clogging the vent which is causing the nasty smell.
  5. Using a manual toothbrush, simply rub the dust back and forth or in small circles so that you are able to pull it out with your fingers.
  6. Once the back is clear, dispose of the dirt as necessary.
  7. Pop the plastic grill back on and away you go!

Some models allow you to change the air filter inside.

For instructions on how to do this, simply refer to the user manual of your specific make of hair dryer.

It’s worth noting that if your hair dryer has turned off due to overheating, the reset button may need to be pressed in order for it to function properly again.

Your Hair Dryer Has Experienced A Component Failure

Less commonly, when your hair dryer doesn’t stay on and keeps switching off, it may be experiencing a malfunction with one of the internal components such as:

  • The thermal fuse
  • The motor
  • The connectors
  • The heating element

As previously mentioned, hair dryers contain circuit breakers that are designed to prevent overheating; these can be used time and time again.

However, hair dryers also contain components called ‘thermal fuses’.

Thermal fuses have small metal clips that will melt when they reach a temperature that is too high, completely shutting down the electrical circuit permanently.

This will cause your hair dryer to switch off and you will not be able to turn it on again.

This will also be the same result with the majority of component failures.

However, with damage to or a failure with the connectors, you will notice the dryer intermittently turning on and off again.

You can either take the hair dryer to an electrical technician for a diagnosis and repair or, if you have confidently identified which component is at fault, you can replace it yourself.

Warning: replacing any of the components yourself can not only be a difficult procedure it comes with potential hazards such as electrical shock – so ensure you are confident in the process.

Each model of hair dryer will have different instructions on whether you can, and how to replace, the faulty component. As such, make sure to refer to the instruction manual specific to your product.

Your Hair Dryer Has An Automatic Shut-off Smart Feature

Some more modern and high-tech hair dryers come with in-built smart feature that can cause them to turn off automatically.

Here are some popular models that employ the use of such smart technology:

  • Tineco MODA ONE™
  • Dyson Supersonic
  • Paul Mitchell Neuro Motion Dryer

If you are using your hair dryer and it turns off automatically when you place it on a surface, this may be due to a smart motion or touch sensor inside.

This technology enables the hair dryer to save on energy by recognizing it is not currently in use and then turning itself off.

When you go to use your hair dryer once again and you find it turns itself back on when picked up, then it most definitely comes equipped with this smart technology. 

Read one of our other blogs here about 5 reasons ceramic hair straighteners are better.

The Power Cord Of Your Hair Dryer Has Become Damaged

If your hair dryer turns off suddenly, or cuts out intermittently, there may be damage to its power cord.

Check for visual signs of damage to the cord such as:

  • Melting of the outer plastic.
  • The wire is loose at the plug.
  • The wire is snapping or wearing out in an area of high movement and friction.

To prevent damage to the power cord, make sure you do not wrap it too tightly around the hair dryer when you go to store it. This will help to prevent any unnecessary strain.

ALWAYS wait for the hair dryer to cool down before you store it away.

Final Thoughts

Hair dryers should not switch off unless there’s a reason. These reasons are due to safety issues or, as you’ve learnt, a specific feature that allows for environmental sustainability.

Remember, always identify why your device is switching off as this will allow you to respond accordingly, be that in smug satisfaction that your hair dryer is working perfectly, or if you have to order a replacement.

Read more about this topic in our blog here 6 reasons your hair straightener won’t heat up.

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