5 Foolproof Tips for Getting Ink Out of a Dryer

Justine Harrington
Updated February 8, 2022
Couple taking laundry out of dryer
Photo: PeopleImages / Getty Images

Ink stains, be gone

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Uh-oh, you left a pen in the pocket of your jeans and put it in the dryer. And now the inside of your dryer is splattered with ink (and, not to mention, your pants). Don’t panic—regardless of how bad the stain looks, you’ll likely be able to remove it using soap and water. Check out these seven methods for how to clean ink out of a dryer. 

Tips for Cleaning Ink Out of Dryer

Follow these helpful tips to remove ink stains from your dryer.

Warm Up the Drum

Before attempting to eliminate ink stains from your dryer, warm up the dryer’s drum. This step will help soften the ink so you can more easily remove it. 

Run the dryer on a hot setting for at least 20 minutes, and then wipe everything clean with a damp or soapy cloth. (Cleaning the drum is an important part of dryer maintenance anyway.) 

Skip the Flammable Products

Search “how to clean ink out of a dryer” and you’ll come across some questionable advice, such as using rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and other flammable cleaners. Let’s be clear: Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) works wonders if you’re trying to get ink stains out of your carpet or your favorite T-shirt. 

However, if you're trying to get ink out of your dryer, it’s best not to use flammable products like the ones mentioned above. That method could cause a dryer fire, so it’s not worth taking the risk. 

How to Get Ink Out of a Dryer

Use the following methods to scrub away stubborn dryer ink stains.

1. Use Soapy Water

Soapy sponge suds bubbles
Photo: darksite / Getty Images

One of the most effective methods for cleaning pen ink out of a dryer is simply using soap and water. Before doing so, be sure to unplug the dryer to prevent electrical shock. 

Then, dip a clean rag into soapy water (hot or warm water is best for ink stains) and use the rag to wipe away the ink spots. This step should take care of most mild stains, but if, after a few minutes, the stain is still there, it’s probably time to try something stronger.

2. Try a Melamine Sponge

Is the ink stain particularly stubborn? Try using a sponge made with melamine foam, which is an abrasive that acts like sandpaper. When it’s activated with water, the sponge lifts away dirt and removes stains—no harsh chemicals necessary.

When you’re using one of these sponges on your dryer, be sure to wear gloves (the sponge’s abrasiveness can damage your skin). Never use the eraser dry; the water is what activates it. Always test a small, hidden spot first to ensure that the eraser won’t damage your dryer (it won’t because your dryer drum is made of metal, but it never hurts to do a test run first). 

3. Apply an Adhesive Remover Spray

A powerful adhesive remover spray can be used on a variety of surfaces to get rid of everything from masking tape residue to gum to wax. It can also be used to safely clean your dryer. 

To use adhesive remover spray on your dryer, apply it to a cloth or rag and gently wipe the stain(s) away. Reapply the spray as needed, and finish by cleaning the drum with soapy water and a clean rag.

4. Use Bleach as a Last Resort

If none of the above products and methods do the trick, you can try using bleach to get the job done. But note that this technique isn’t ideal and should only be used as a last resort—bleach can leave residue, which can damage your clothes or irritate your skin.

Mix a small amount of bleach (no more than 2 tablespoons) with a gallon of water. Wearing rubber gloves, dip a rag or washcloth in this solution to scrub down the spots that need deep cleaning. Be very careful as the bleach can easily stain your clothing or the surrounding area. It’s also a good idea to wash a load of old rags after using bleach on your dryer so that the rags can pick up any residue or remaining stains. 

5. Hire a Professional Cleaning Service

Not up for trying DIY cleaning solutions? You may want to hire a local house cleaning service instead. A professional cleaner will be able to help you remove even the most stubborn of ink stains from the inside of your dryer. 

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