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How To Get Ink Out of a Dryer in 7 Simple Steps

Clothes dryer with washed and dried shirts in and door open

With the average person washing over 6,000 clothing articles every year, there are plenty of chances to miss the occasional item in a pants pocket. Some discoveries are worse than others. While a random washed $20 bill will elicit an eye roll, an exploded pen could make you rip your hair out.

In the best-case scenario, you will be able to salvage your ink-covered clothes with a few aggressive and time-consuming treatments. Then, you have to worry about how to clean the ink out of the dryer. They may be dry now, but those ink marks in the drum may melt onto new clothes as soon as the machine heats up, giving you a whole new load of wasted laundry.

It is a lot of work to recover from a missed ballpoint in the pocket, but cleaning the dryer does not have to be as challenging as you think. We’ll show you how to get ink out of a dryer in seven simple steps to let you get on with your day!

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The 7 Steps To Get Ink Out of a Dryer

1. Heat the Dryer With No Clothes in It

person operating dryer
Image Credit: Piqsels

Heating the dryer before you start cleaning will help loosen the stuck-on ink stains, making them easier to remove with gentle solutions. Let your dryer run for about 20 minutes on high heat.

While you’re letting it warm up, gather your cleaning supplies:
  • Clean cloths
  • Cotton balls
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Magic eraser
  • Nail polish remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Goo Gone

Exercise extreme caution with nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, and Goo Gone, as all are flammable materials. If you must use them, ensure you don’t oversaturate your cleaning cloths or leave lingering drops in the dryer drum.


2. Unplug the Dryer

Once the dryer has had a chance to heat up, unplug it. Working with a powered machine always presents the potential for electrical shock, and depending on the treatment method, there may be a minor fire risk.


3. Use Soap and Water

dish soap
Image Credit: Jim Barber, Shutterstock

With the dryer warmed up, you may be able to remove the ink stains with a few drops of dish liquid mixed in warm water. Dip a clean cloth in your soapy water and gently dab or rub the stains firmly in small circles to prevent them from smearing. If you aren’t getting results with the first stain, try another cleaning technique.


4. Scrub with a Magic Eraser

Melamine sponges are a lifesaver when you need to remove stubborn stains and restore the shine to various surfaces around the house. Since it doesn’t present hazardous fumes or flammable liquids to the process, a Magic Eraser is a wise next step if your soap and water don’t work.

Soak a Magic Eraser in warm water, wring it out, and scrub the ink mark to watch it disappear. Take caution with stainless steel drums, as the abrasiveness of Magic Erasers may dull the finish and leave minor scratches.


5. Use Nail Polish Remover, Rubbing Alcohol, or Goo Gone

rubbing alcohol on table
Image Credit: Maridav, Shutterstock

If soap and water aren’t removing the ink from your dryer, try nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol and acetone in nail polish remover are powerful solvents, making them highly effective against ink in the dryer and other surfaces and materials around the house.

Apply nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball or clean rag until it’s saturated but not soaking wet. Gently dab at the ink stains, or rub them in small circles to lift the marks.

Goo Gone works the same way if you don’t have a nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Spray Goo Gone on the stain before wiping it up, or apply it to a clean rag and scrub the stain.


6. Wipe Down the Inside with Soap and Water

Cleaning up after using flammable substances like acetone, alcohol, and Goo Gone is critical to eliminate the risk of a dryer fire. Wipe any remaining drops from the dryer drum with a towel. You can also leave the door open to air out the dryer and help them evaporate. Follow up by washing the dryer walls and drum with a damp cloth to remove any residue.


7. Do NOT Immediately Dry Clothes

man using dryer
Image credit; Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

No matter how clean it looks, running a load of old towels or rags after wiping ink out of the dryer will prevent any damage to your good clothes. If there are any leftover ink stains or other unwanted residues, your load of expendables will pick them up. Run them on a low heat setting, and assess them afterward to see if your dryer needs additional cleaning.

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Will Bleach Get Ink Out of a Dryer?

Many people swear by bleach as an effective ink remover for your dryer. If you choose bleach, prevent it from mixing with your other cleaners, such as rubbing alcohol or acetone. Bleach doesn’t mix well with many household cleaners, and you may accidentally expose yourself to hazardous substances such as chloroform, peracetic acid, or chlorine gas.

To clean ink from your dryer with bleach, soak a couple of towels in a 50/50 bleach and water mixture. With rubber gloves on, wring the towels out until they’re saturated but not dripping wet. Run the towels on high heat for at least 20 minutes, and they should pick up most, if not all, ink stains in the drum. Wipe the drum with a damp cloth to remove any remaining bleach residue.

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Final Thoughts

Ink in the dryer may ruin a few clothing garments, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your dryer. With these clever techniques, you’ll have no problem removing ink stains in only a matter of minutes. Whatever method you choose, make sure you keep the room well-ventilated to avoid inhaling cleaner fumes and clean the drum of any flammable or staining materials. Otherwise, all it takes is a little elbow grease to get back on track.


Featured Image Credit: SViktoria, Shutterstock

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