3 Reasons Your Hairdryer Won’t Reset (Solved)

When you’re trying to get ready for your day and your hairdryer cuts out halfway through your morning routine and refuses to turn back on, it can be extremely frustrating.

But while it may seem like your appliance is trying to spite you, the truth is that problems like this are often caused by the very same safety features that might save your life in case of an accident.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by trying to make your hairdryer reset when you needed it most, keep reading because today we’re going to dive into what causes these problems and what you can do about them.

Hairdryer in a disassembled condition on a white background.

Reason 1: Humidity (Your Bathroom Got Too Foggy)

Before we can really dive into what’s stopping your hairdryer from resetting (or what makes it shut off in the first place), we need to take a moment to talk about ALCIs.

Appliance Leakage Circuit Interrupters, or ALCIs for short, are an industry-standard safety feature installed in all hairdryers and other bathroom appliances.

ALCIs work by immediately cutting power to your appliance when unsafe conditions are detected, preventing injury or death from electric shock or other hazards.

When the ALCI detects unsafe conditions and shuts off, you need to unplug the appliance, press the “reset” button, and plug it back in. If this doesn’t work, it’s probably because the unsafe conditions are still present.

One of these unsafe conditions ALCIs are designed to shut off when detected is moisture. This prevents electric shock if they’re, say, dropped in a bathtub, or used in a very humid room.

This brings us back around to why your hairdryer might not be resetting: if you used it in a very foggy bathroom (like, say, right after a shower or bath), water vapor in the air has been seeping inside the hairdryer the whole time you used it.

When a certain level of moisture is detected inside the hairdryer, the ALCI shuts it off and you have to reset it. But because that moisture doesn’t just instantly disappear, it may not let you turn it back on right away, no matter how many times you jam the reset button.

While it may be frustrating, remember that this feature is there for a reason, and is protecting you from fates far worse than a bad hair day.

That being said, solving the problem usually just requires a little patience. Put your hairdryer in a dry place and wait as long as it takes for it to dry out and be usable again.

If you’re in a hurry, you can try putting the hairdryer in a container full of dry rice for a while, but we can’t fully endorse this method as we’re not sure if it might cause other problems, especially if your hairdryer has any gaps large enough for the rice to get inside!

To prevent this from happening again in the future, try doing your hair in a separate room from where you bathe, to avoid using the hairdryer in humid conditions.

Read our blog here about 5 reasons ceramic hair straighteners are better.

Reason 2: Heat (You Probably Just Used it for Too Long)

Another of those unsafe conditions under which ALCIs will shut off your hairdryer is extreme heat.

Of course, the longer you use a hairdryer, the hotter it gets. The heat builds up much faster than it can dissipate when the appliance is in use, so you can only use it for so long before it needs to cool off.

If the ALCI didn’t interrupt your hairdryer use when the device got too hot, the heat would just keep building up and could eventually reach a level where you have to worry about the plastic casing melting off and burning you.

Unfortunately, especially when your hair really isn’t cooperating, sometimes you run out of time when you’re not quite done yet, which can be quite frustrating to say the least, even if it is for your own safety.

The solution to an overheated hairdryer is similar to a wet one: patience. The good news, though, is that it doesn’t take nearly as long for a hot dryer to cool off as it does for a wet one to dry out.

Just put your hairdryer in a cool spot and wait a while before you try to reset it again. Give it enough time to cool off and it should work again just fine.

To prevent this issue from happening again in the future, you can try splitting up your routine; work on your hair a bit, then, for instance, let your hairdryer cool off while you eat breakfast, and finish your hair after.

You could also purchase a backup hairdryer to use when your primary dryer overheats. Just unplug the primary dryer and put it somewhere else to cool off, then keep going with your backup.

Reason 3: It’s the Outlet’s Fault, Actually (Or You Plugged too Many Things In)

Sometimes when it seems like the hairdryer isn’t resetting, it actually is, but an external problem is preventing it from working properly.

This could be because you have too many things plugged into one outlet, or because there’s an issue with the outlet’s own safety features.

These days, unless you live in a very old home, all the electrical outlets are probably equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters; or GFCIs for short.

GFCIs have a very similar function to the ALCIs we’ve been talking about in that they’re a safety feature designed to protect you from electrical shocks and fire hazards.

The main difference is that ALCIs live inside the appliance itself and GFCIs are built into the electrical outlet.

Otherwise, they work much the same; your outlet should even have a “reset” button on it just like your hair dryer, which works in much the same way. If resetting your hairdryer hasn’t worked, try resetting the outlet too.

If you have too many appliances plugged into one outlet, especially if you’re using splitters or power strips to get more out of a single outlet, the GFCI will cut power to that outlet to prevent an electrical surge.

When this happens, it won’t matter how many times you reset the ALCI on your hairdryer; if there are still too many things plugged into your outlet, it’s not going to let you draw any power.

In this case, the solution is simple: unplug all appliances you don’t need at the moment, and only plug them back in when you’re actively using them. Once you’ve seen to this, your hairdryer should work again just fine.

You can also simply move to another outlet entirely in a different room. In fact, this is a good way to test whether the problem is with the outlet or with your hairdryer.

If it still doesn’t work at another outlet, then something else is wrong with your hairdryer.

Sometimes, the GFCI may not be working properly and can prevent the outlet from being used entirely.

If you’ve tried resetting both the outlet and their hairdryer, you’re sure the dryer isn’t too wet or too hot to work, and you can use the hairdryer fine on a different outlet, then the fault is probably with the outlet itself.

If this is the case, it may be time to call an electrician to take a look at your electrical outlet(s). For now, just go do your hair in another room.

Check out this blog here about 5 reasons your hair straightener smells.

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