How To Get Ink Out Of A Dryer (10+ Different Ways To Do It!)

Patricia Oelze
by Patricia Oelze

It has probably happened to everyone. One of your kids, your significant other, or maybe even you left an ink pen in your pocket and it exploded in the dryer. The clothes may end up as rags, but you do not want to throw away your dryer. So, how do you get those ink stains out of the dryer?

Unplug the dryer, soak a towel or cotton balls in acetone, and scrub the ink. Wash the ink stain with a wet rag and let it sit for 24 hours to air out the acetone. Mix 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of warm water, scrub the ink with the solution and let it dry for 24 hours.

The research is mixed online because some say you can use certain things while others say not to use those things because they are flammable. While it is a good idea to be safe, as long as you wash it away and let it air dry for 24 hours before using your dryer again it should be fine. However, we will let you know beforehand which ones are flammable just to be safe.

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Why Not Just Leave The Ink?

While it can seem tempting to leave the ink, especially if it’s just a little bit, you don’t want to do this. Even though the ink does dry as the dryer cools down, the ink will melt as soon as the heat goes through your dryer again.

This may not be problematic for darker clothing, although, you probably don’t want your whites covered in ink blotches. Besides, it’s better to remove the ink from inside your dryer, instead of trying to remove it from every piece of fabric.

Start With the Dryer Paddles

Your dryer paddles are made of plastic, and plastic is porous. If the ink has gotten onto your dryer paddles, you will need to clean them first as the ink is more likely to stain this surface. Ink will stain a porous surface a lot quicker than a non-porous surface.

On the other hand, dryer drums are typically made from porcelain, or enamel-coated steel, making the surface non-porous. That means the ink is less likely to stain this surface, as opposed to the plastic. This is why you should tackle your dryer paddles before you do the drum.

What Are The Best Ways to Remove Ink From A Dryer?

1. Soapy Water

In some cases, a combination of liquid dish soap or laundry detergent and water is all that’s needed to remove nasty ink stains inside of your dryer. This method works when you need to get ink out of clothing, so it only makes sense that it would work in your dryer as well. Ideally, you want to do this after shutting down and unplugging your dryer. Then, follow these steps:

  • Step One: Combine two teaspoons of liquid dish soap or laundry detergent with two cups of warm water.
  • Step Two: Dip a clean, microfiber cloth in this mixture, without completely saturating it.
  • Step Three: Use the wet cloth to clean the affected areas on the inside of your dryer, using moderate pressure but gentle scrubbing motions.
  • Step Four: As the ink stains the fabric, swap out the cloth with a new one.

Continue this process until all of the stain is removed and then finish off by wiping down the inside of the dryer with fresh water to remove any lingering soap residue.

Pro Tip: If you don’t find success with this method, substitute the warm water for white vinegar. Vinegar is known for doing an incredible job at cleaning up all sorts of messes around the home.

2. Acetone (Flammable)

By far, the most effective ink remover, acetone is the winner. However, it is also the most dangerous. Acetone is a solvent that is used in nail polish removers so you know it can remove paint. It removes ink just as well. Use a mask and gloves when using this product.

  • Step One: Be sure to unplug the dryer first and make sure it is cool.
  • Step Two: Open some windows and turn on a fan if you have one to circulate the air.
  • Step Three: Soak paper towels or cotton balls in the acetone. Do not pour the solution into the dryer. Use the cloth or cotton balls to scrub the ink off the dryer. When the towel or cotton balls get full of ink, switch to a new one.
  • Step Four: After you remove as much ink as you can, use clean paper towels soaked in soapy water to clean the areas where you used the acetone.
  • Step Five: Let the dryer sit for 24 hours with the door open and the fan on to get rid of all fumes.

3. Paint Thinner (Flammable)

If you cannot find acetone, you can try using paint thinner. Just like the acetone though, paint thinner is flammable and not good to breathe so wear a mask and gloves when using.

  • Step One: Make sure the dryer is cool and unplugged.
  • Step Two: Point a fan away from you and open some windows.
  • Step Three: Use a small amount of paint thinner on an old rag to wipe away the ink stains. Continue until you get all the ink off, switching rags when that one is covered in ink.
  • Step Four: Use a clean wet soapy rag to wash the areas inside the dryer that you cleaned with the paint thinner.
  • Step Five: Leave the door open and let the dryer air out for 24 hours before plugging back in.

4. Rubbing Alcohol (Flammable)

Alcohol is an excellent cleaner, but it has some dangers like the first two cleaners. You will need a mask and gloves for this job as well.

  • Step One: Let the dryer cool completely and unplug it.
  • Step Two: Turn on a fan to suck the fumes out and open some windows.
  • Step Three: Soak a paper towel or cotton balls with the alcohol and use them to wipe away the ink.
  • Step Four: Get rid of the paper towels or cotton balls as they become soaked with ink and switch to new ones.
  • Step Five: Clean the inside of the dryer with a soapy rag.
  • Step Six: Point the fan away from the dryer and leave the door open for 24 hours to let it dry.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

Similar to products like rubbing alcohol and white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is great for DIY cleaning. In fact, it is the go-to cleaner for everything from brass fittings to teeth cleaning. So, it’s certainly worth trying when it comes to getting ink out of your dryer. When rubbing alcohol, soapy water, paint thinner, or acetone don’t work on a fresh or dried ink stain, turn to hydrogen peroxide.

  • Step One: Mix together one cup of hydrogen peroxide and one cup of cold water in a bowl.
  • Step Two: Dampen either an old rag or a new, soft cloth in the mixture.
  • Step Three: Rub the affected area with the damp towel, using moderate pressure as you work.

Don’t forget to switch the towel out as it gets dirty with ink and continue this process until your dryer is ink-free. Oftentimes, this recipe is also effective at removing unpleasant odors from your dryer.

6. WD-40 (Flammable)

WD-40 is useful for all sorts of things. What started out as a lubricant has found its way into multiple projects and maintenance jobs around the home and workplace. It is known for getting rid of stains and it can get rid of ink from most surfaces. However, it is flammable too so use your mask and gloves.

  • Step One: Make sure the dryer is completely cool and unplugged.
  • Step Two: Turn on a fan or two, pointing away from you, and open some windows.
  • Step Three: Spray a clean rag until it is wet and use the rag to wipe away the ink.
  • Step Four: Continue until the ink is gone, rinsing out the ink or switching rags as you go.
  • Step Five: Clean out the dryer with a clean soapy cloth and leave the dryer door open for 24 hours with the fan running to air it out.

7. Bleach

Another great cleaner, bleach can get rid of almost anything. You just have to make sure it is not going to damage the parts that you are cleaning since bleach can damage some surfaces.

Since it is all metal (and maybe some plastic), your dryer should be okay. And anything is better than ink, right? Although bleach is not flammable, it is not good to breathe. Be sure to use your gloves and mask here too.

  • Step One: Unplug the dryer, turn on a fan, and open the windows.
  • Step Two: Combine one cup of bleach with a gallon of warm water. Soak a cloth in the solution and use it to scrub the ink from the dryer.
  • Step Three: Continue the process, rinsing out the cloth when it gets too inky.
  • Step Four: Use a different clean cloth with soapy water to wash away the bleach areas.
  • Step Five: Keeping the dryer door open, let it dry for 24 hours with the fan running.

8. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

This is an easy way to clean the dryer without using too many chemicals and a bunch of paper towels or rags. However, it does have bleach in it so wear your mask and gloves.

  • Step One: Unplug the dryer and make sure it is not hot.
  • Step Two: Get the eraser wet and ring it out. Scrub the ink spots well.
  • Step Three: Continue scrubbing and rinsing out the eraser as it gets too much ink on it.
  • Step Four: Wash the inside of the dryer with a wet soapy cloth afterward.
  • Step Five: Let the dryer sit with the door open and the fan going for 24 hours.

9. Off Bug Repellent

Off Bug Repellent has been known to remove ink stains as well. However, like the bleach, it also has toxic fumes so you will need the mask and gloves again.

  • Step One: Make sure the dryer is unplugged and open the windows. Turn a fan on pointing away from you.
  • Step Two: Spray a clean cloth with the bug spray until it is wet and rub the ink spots until they are gone.
  • Step Three: Be sure to wash away the residue with a clean and soapy cloth afterward.
  • Step Four: Leave the dryer door open and fan on for 24 hours to get rid of the fumes.

10. Soft Scrub

Believe it or not, this gentle cleaner can get a lot of the stain off if you get to it soon enough. And it is not flammable or toxic, so you do not have to worry about fumes or flames. But you should still wear a mask and gloves.

  • Step One: Unplug the dryer.
  • Step Two: Pour a generous amount of Soft Scrub onto a clean cloth and scrub at the ink stains until you get them off.
  • Step Three: Rinse out the cloth after it gets too much ink in it and scrub it again. Because this is not a solvent, it is going to take a lot more elbow grease than with the other flammable cleaners.
  • Step Four: Rinse the cloth out and rinse the spots with clean water to get rid of the soapy residue.
  • Step Five: Leave the door open and let it dry for several hours.

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Other Potential Solutions For Removing Ink From a Dryer

There are other cleaners that are supposed to remove ink. But there are so many mixed messages on the internet about these ideas that we did not want to put them in the meat of the article. These are just suggestions.

  • Goo Gone is not flammable or toxic, but it is still a good idea to wear a mask and gloves. To clean the dryer, just unplug it and wet a cloth or paper towels with the Goo Gone and scrub away the ink. It may take longer and require some work, but it should come off. Rinse it well and let it dry afterward.
  • Hairspray: It is well-known that hairspray will take ink marks off walls and clothing, so why not try it on the dryer? However, it is flammable so you should be careful to make sure the dryer is cool, unplugged, and use a mask and gloves as well as fans. Rinse well afterward and let it dry with the door open for 24 hours.

How Long After Ink Removal Can I Use the Dryer Again?

For most of these cleaners, you need to wait and let it dry for at least 24 hours. To test the dryer just in case you missed something, try drying some old wet towels first. After that, you should be able to use it as you normally would.

Patricia Oelze
Patricia Oelze

I am a DIYer who loves writing about anything home-related. When I am not writing, you can find me studying for my PhD in Psychology, photographing nature, and swimming at the lake with my grandkids.

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