How to Get Rid of Dryer Stains

How to Get Rid of Dryer Stains

From markers to gum, here's how to deal with the mess.


You pull out what should be a load of fresh, warm laundry and instead see a mess. Leaving it alone means potentially ruining your next load of laundry, but cleaning it seems impossible. Good news! Whether it's an exploded pen or a misbegotten piece of gum, many stains are easily removed from your dryer drum. Here's how to get rid of those things that slip by you and get into the wash.

Become a dryer sleuth

Your first step is to identify where the stains are and what they might be. It can be hard to see inside, so we recommend using a flashlight to get a clear view of the drum. Look for small crevices in the dryer where items such gum and candy might get stuck. Feel around for sticky or oily residue. While mostly invisible to the eye, such residue can stay on the dryer drum and transfer to your laundry.

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to unplug the power cord!

Solution #1: Ink-based stains

Ink is a common culprit for dryer stains — but don't panic. Use rubbing alcohol to wipe away the stains. Remove any remaining residue with a damp cloth and leave the dryer door open to let the fumes dissipate.

Solution #2: Sticky-based stains

Get the dryer to do the work for you. Set the dryer to a medium setting and run the machine for five minutes. Then, wipe out the dryer with a rag or towel. The heat and the rags will help melt off and remove items such as forgotten crayons. Are your appliances stacked? Use a stepladder for better access to the dryer.

The final test

Got the stains out? Don't just call it a day. Whether it's gum, an ink stain or permanent marker, run a cycle with damp towels or rags to get rid of any residue and keep remnants from transferring to your favorite shirt. You can wipe down the drum with rubbing alcohol to ensure extra cleaning, but make sure to leave the door open for an hour before operating.

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