You know the feeling when you sort the clothes, wash them in the washing machine, toss them in the dryer and then take them out only to discover someone left a pen in their pocket and the ink is now all over the inside of the dryer-unit. Yikes! Some pens explode and leave great big ink blotches all over the metal drum inside the clothes dryer. The heat of the dryer-unit bakes the ink onto the metal and leaves a difficult to remove splatter.
Leaving the ink is not an option because every time you place wet clothes inside the dryer, the clean clothes tumble through the ink and may end up on the clothing. The heat of the dryer-unit sets the ink-stain onto the clothes leaving a virtually impossible to remove stain on the fabric. The ink must be removed as soon as you notice it. The longer you leave the ink the harder it will be to remove and the more potential it has to ruin clothing, linens and other fabrics.
Hardware stores carry solvents that will remove the ink from the metal, but they cannot be used inside of the dryer-unit. Solvents work by breaking down the ink to break the bond between the metal drum and the ink. Solvents are highly flammable. Using the dryer after wiping the drum with a solvent poses a great risk of combustion. Even if you wipe the drum with water to remove the solvent residue, the enclosed space can still harbor enough of the chemical or fumes from it to spark a fire.
There are other solutions, which work well and are not dangerous. Removing pen ink from a clothes dryer may take a little elbow grease, but it can be safely removed without damaging the dryer. Begin with the easiest method for you and progress down the list if you don’t have success removing the ink from the dryer.
Laundry Stain Remover
Spray a clean rag with laundry stain remover to saturate the rag.
Rub the ink-stain vigorously until it disappears. Only rub from the outer edges in to the middle to prevent smearing the ink-stains. As the ink transfers to the rag, re-wet the rag with laundry stain remover and continue to wipe the inside of the dryer.
Baking Soda to Remove an ink-stain
Fill a small bowl with baking soda.
Wet a sponge and wring out the excess water.
Dip the sponge into the baking soda and begin rubbing the stain from the outside edges in toward the middle of the ink blotch.
Continue to dip the sponge into the baking soda and rub the ink until the ink is no longer visible.
Wet a clean rag and wipe away the baking soda residue.
White Toothpaste stain Rescue
Wet a clean rag with water and wring out the excess so the rag is just damp.
Apply white toothpaste to the rag. Do not use a gel toothpaste because it lacks the mildly abrasive qualities to remove it from the metal drum.
Spread the toothpaste over the ink-stain and rub the toothpaste into the stain, working from the outer edges of the ink in toward the center.
Wipe the toothpaste away with a damp cloth.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleans ink-stains from a Dryer
Wet a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with water and squeeze out the excess.
Rub the ink-stain with the eraser until the ink-stain disappears.
Wet a clean rag with water and wring out the excess water.
Rub the ink-stain beginning at the outer rim of the stain and working toward the center.
Turn the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser often to a clean area and continue to rub the ink-stain until the stain is no longer visible.
Rubbing Compound will Remove from the Dryer
Rub a clean rag through rubbing compound. Rubbing compound can be purchased in automotive stores.
Spread the rubbing compound over the ink-stain.
Vigorously rub the compound onto the stain until the stain disappears. This may take a little muscle, but it works.
Wipe the inside of the dry with a clean rag to remove the residue.
After Removing an ink-stain from the Dryer
Fill a small bucket with warm water and add a generous squirt of liquid dish washing soap.
Stir the soap into the water.
Submerge a clean rag or sponge into the soapy water and squeeze some of the excess moisture so the rag or sponge is wet, but not dripping.
Wipe the inside of the dryer to remove any residue from the surface of the dryer drum.
Wet a rag with plain water and wipe the inside of the dryer three to four times to remove any soapy residue.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings for Removing Ink from a Clothes Dryer
All of the above remedies are abrasive except the laundry stain remover method and can wear the coating of the dryer drum or it may leave scratches on the surface.
After removing the ink-stains, wet a few old towels or run them through the washing machine and throw them into the dryer. Let the dryer tumble them dry. If you missed any ink spots or cleaning residue – at least it won’t end up on your clothes.
Always check pockets before washing clothes. It’s easier to take a pen out of a pocket than to take an ink-stain out of a dryer.
There are many flammable products that work well to remove ink, but do not use them. Applying acetone, denatured alcohol or paint remover can spark a fire in a gas clothes dryer without even turning the dryer on. You may not smell the fumes from the solvents, but there is probably enough residue – even after washing and rinsing – to start a fire. The spark from an electric clothes dryer creates just as big of a risk for fire. There are several places online that advise you to use the flammable products, rinse well and leave the door open for an extended period, but it is not safe.