Oh no! There’s been a laundry disaster! You accidentally left a pen in your pocket, and it made its way through the washer and into the dryer. Now the inside of your dryer is coated in ink and your clothes are stained. You don’t even know where to start!
Don’t worry. There is a way to permanently get the ink out of your dryer so it’s safe to use again! Follow our guide to find out what to do!
Try a Bleach Solution
Before going any further, unplug your dryer! Safety is important when working with appliances, especially when water is involved. The first thing to try when your dryer has ink on the inside is a bleach and water solution—this gets rid of stains by breaking down the molecular structure of the ink, helping to remove it. It’s important to proceed with caution, however—bleach can be just as damaging to clothes as ink can if you’re not careful!
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing one part bleach with four parts water.
- Apply the bleach to the inside of the drum. You can use a spray bottle, or dip a cloth into the bleach solution, making sure it’s wet but not dripping.
- Ensure the entirety of the drum is wiped with the solution, paying special attention to the concentrated areas of ink.
- Rotate the drum manually, wiping as you go, until you can no longer see any ink stains.
- Using a fresh cloth dipped in water, thoroughly wipe down the interior of the drum to remove any bleach residue.
- Leave the dryer door open and let the drum air out, letting all the fumes dissipate.
- Run a test load with an old towel or some rags to test whether there is any bleach residue or ink remaining. If your towel or rags come out ink- and bleach-free, it’s safe to dry your clothes again!
Try a Mild Detergent Mixture
If the bleach didn’t work, or if you prefer not to risk damaging your clothes with bleach, you can try cleaning the ink out of your dryer with a solution of detergent and water. Detergent is a surfactant and is especially good at cleaning oil-based stains. As some inks have an oil component, this can be the perfect solution for cleaning ink stains.
- First, make sure the dryer is turned off.
- Add a few drops of dish detergent to half a bucket of warm water, stirring to ensure there’s enough detergent for a good lather.
- Using a soft cloth, apply the detergent mixture evenly to the interior of your dryer, making sure you squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Rub any ink-stained areas until the drum has no more visible ink spots.
- Wipe the drum thoroughly with a cloth dipped in water to remove any residue.
- Leave the dryer door open to let it air-dry, or run a cycle with nothing in it to ensure it dries faster.
- Run a test load with something old to ensure that no ink or detergent residue will transfer to your clothes.
Try a Sponge
If the ink is allowed to fully dry on the interior of the dryer, it may prove more challenging to remove just with a cloth and a cleaning solution. Enter a sponge! A firm sponge, such as a Magic Eraser, is a mild abrasive that can remove stains without damaging the dryer’s interior. These sponges and other similar products are made with melamine foam, which is like a very fine sandpaper. To try this method:
- Turn off the dryer.
- Slightly moisten your sponge. While they can be used dry, moisture will help them to absorb the ink.
- Scrub the ink-stained areas gently with the sponge, rotating to make sure you reach every stained area. Regularly wipe down the drum with a soft, damp cloth as you go, making sure you clean away any residue.
- Leave the door to the dryer open to let any moisture evaporate.
- Test run the dryer with something you don’t mind getting stained to make sure all the ink is really gone!
Run a Cycle with Rags/Old Towels
If there is only a small amount of ink on your dryer interior, you can try running a long cycle with some rags or old towels until all of the ink has been absorbed by the fabric.
Place the material in the dryer and run your dryer for at least an hour. By the end of the hour, all of the ink on the interior of the machine should have transferred to your rags.
To test this, try running the cycle with something white that will show stains easily, like white rags. If they come out clean, you can be confident that the dryer is safe to use for your clothes.
Other Cleaning Products to Use
Because different inks can be made of different chemicals, not all will respond to the same cleaning methods. If you don’t have any luck with the suggestions on our list, try some of the following:
- Hair spray. This is particularly good for cleaning ballpoint pen ink. Spray hairspray on the interior of the drum and wipe it away with a cloth.
- Nail varnish remover. Dampen a cloth with nail varnish remover and then rub it on the ink stains before wiping clean with a moist cloth.
- WD-40. This can be particularly good for oil-based inks. Spray some WD-40 directly onto the ink-stained patches, let it sit, and then wipe away with a soft cloth. Carefully wash the interior of the dryer with a warm, soapy cloth before putting clothes in it.
- Salt. If you don’t like using harsh products or anything with chemicals, try using salt! It is a mild, natural abrasive, and can help to lift ink stains.
With the methods outlined above and some elbow grease, your dryer will be sparkling clean again in no time. But don’t forget, prevention is key! Remember to check your pockets every time you run a dryer load!