How to Get Ink Out of the Dryer

how to get ink out of the dryer image

One of the shocking things you may find in your dryer is ink stains. Laundry can get troublesome when a forgotten pen or permanent marker finds its way on the dryer. While you may choose to throw away your laundry with dried ink stains, you don’t have to do the same with your dryer. 

Cleaning ink stains in the dryer drum may be exasperating, but it’s not impossible. It’s actually easy to clean pen ink stains out of your dryer. To resolve the problem, all you need are some items you can find in the cupboard and a bit of elbow grease. Make sure to read through the article to kiss those stubborn ink stains goodbye.

Will The Dried Ink In The Dryer Get On Clothes?

The pen ink dries down once the dryer cools. While it’s tempting to forgo cleaning ink-stained dryer drums, doing so can actually spell disaster. The dried ink that has attached on the inside of the dryer is expected to melt once you turn on the machine. In other words, the heat from the clothes dryer will liquefy the ink again, risking your next load in the dryer with ink stains. Imagine the horror! It’s something no one would like to happen so it should be easier to remove ink stains from the dryer than to clean the marks on each piece of clothing.

Things You Need To Consider Before You Try To Clean The Ink Out Of Your Dryer

Before you start removing that pesky ink in your dryer, consider the following tips first:

  • Unplug the dryer. Always unplug the dryer before you do some cleaning. It’s an electrical appliance, and you should never take the risk of electrical shock. You might have been used to a dryer with a light bulb inside. If so, you might figure that it would be hard to see the inside of the dryer if it’s not turned on. To illuminate the dryer while cleaning, you can ask someone to hold a flashlight for you so you can clean the ink stain better. 
  • Take care of the dryer paddles first. If your dryer paddles are made of plastic, you should prioritize cleaning the ink stains out of them. Plastic is a porous material. It means it has many small holes in its surface where ink can pass through. This makes dryer paddles more likely to stain. The ink stain can also set in faster and last longer in the paddles. On the other hand, dryer drums have enamel or porcelain-coated steel. This coating makes them non-porous. Thus, it’s best to deal with the plastic paddles first before cleaning the dryer drum. 
  • Use flammable cleaners carefully. There are flammable substances that can help remove ink stains on the dryer. Some of these include nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol. If you decide to use one, you need to apply them with caution. Make sure that you work in a ventilated area and that the dryer is unplugged. 
  • Make sure to not to leave any bleach residue. If you prefer to use bleach to remove ink stains, check that you don’t leave any chemical residue behind. Chlorine bleach can cause color fading on colored clothes. Thus, make sure you wipe them off completely to avoid bleach residue.
  • After cleaning the ink, use rags to test the dryer for residues. Sometimes invisible ink residues can stay on the dryer even when you have already cleaned it out. It’s good to try old towels or rags first to ensure that all ink stains and its residues will not affect future loads in your dryer. They will likely pick up any pen ink remnants you might miss. The rags or towels may also take the residues from the cleaning products you used.

How To Remove Ink Out Of The Dryer

There are various ways on how to get ink stains inside the dryer. It’s best to start with mild and nonflammable cleaning solutions. If they don’t work, then you can bring out the big guns. Nevertheless, you need just a little bit of patience and elbow grease throughout the process of removing ink stains.


close up photo of dryer control knob panel

Before removing ink stains using any cleaning solution, it’s best to remove them first using the heat from the dryer. Run the dryer for around 20 minutes using the highest heat setting. The high temperature can melt the ink. Then turn off the dryer and unplug it. Then you can try wiping away the ink spots using a clean cloth.

Dish Soap

bottle of green dish soap and cleaning scrub against brown background

Using dish soap to remove ink stains in the dryer is one of the cheapest and gentlest options out there. To clean using dish soap, get a small spray bottle and fill it with water mixed with the soap. Spray the soapy solution on the stained area. Using a small piece of cloth, scrub the ink away. You can then use another clean damp cloth to remove any soap residue. 

Magic Eraser

hand with latex gloves holding a melamine foam cleaner

Another safe option is to use a Magic Eraser. Magic Erasers use melamine foam. At first glance, they look like plain sponges. Don’t be fooled by its humble appearance. Melamine foams are cleaning products that only need water to work their magic. 

When removing ink stains using Magic Eraser, just wet the sponge with water and wring it out. Then you can rub it on the area with ink spots. Rinse the sponge in water and wring it before using it again. Some elbow grease is needed to get this done. You will also need a wet cloth to rinse the stained area while working rather than moving it around. This cleaner won’t damage the drum and paddles. The only disadvantage of Magic Eraser is that it wears out quickly.

All-Purpose Cleaners

close up photo of goo gone cleaner

You can also use all-purpose cleaners to remove the ink stains in your dryer drum. An example of an all-purpose cleaner is Goo Gone.  It is an oil-based cleaner and solvent meant to remove adhesives. It’s actually a non-flammable option you can use to remove ink stains. 

To use Goo Gone, use a clean cloth and wet it with the product. Then you can rub the ink away. You can apply more Goo Gone on the piece of fabric as needed. You can then use a mixture of dish soap and water to remove any cleaner residue. Just dip a clean cloth in the soapy water and wring the water before scrubbing it on the dryer surface. 


bottle of bleach against blue background

Bleach can remove most stains. However, you need to be careful when using it. Make sure that you open any ventilation or turn on the fan when using bleach. It’s also best to wear gloves and a mask. Bleach can irritate your hands, and it’s not safe to inhale.

Fill a small bucket with a mixture of bleach and water. Then dip an old white towel in the solution. Once you soaked the towel with bleach, wring it with your hands. Then you can put it in the dryer without any other clothing. Set the dryer temperature on high to dry the towel. After drying the towel, the stains should be gone. Then unplug the machine and wipe the inside of the dryer with a damp cloth to remove any bleach residue. It’s best to leave the dryer door open for 24 hours before using it again. You can throw away the ink-stained towel. Doing so will prevent the ink from transferring to the rest of the laundry the next time you wash it in the washing machine. 


bottle of acetone against brown background

Acetone is a solvent that can also remove the ink out of your dryer. Solvents are chemicals that can dissolve or extract other materials. Thus, it can remove ink or paint. Acetone is the chemical used in nail polish removers that breaks down the nail polish and removes it. You have to be careful when using acetone or nail polish remover as it is flammable. 

Unplug the dryer first before cleaning it with acetone. Open the windows or turn on an electric fan when you’re working with acetone or nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball with the chemical and use it to scrub off the ink from the dryer. You can get a new cotton ball once it’s soaked with ink. Once you remove all the ink, use paper towels soaked in soapy water to remove any nail polish residue. Leave the dryer door open for around 24 hours to get rid of any fumes.

Rubbing Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol

left hand pouring alcohol on the palm of the right hand

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can remove ink stains too. However, like acetone, rubbing alcohol is flammable too. To use alcohol, soak a cotton ball with the liquid and use it to clean the stain. Replace the cotton ball with a new one once it’s filled with ink until you remove all the marks. Use a paper cloth drenched in soapy water to remove any alcohol residue in the dryer. 

In Conclusion

Ink stains in the washer can be pretty messy, but it’s not that hard to remove. There are safe cleaning options out there that you can use to make sure the ink doesn’t transfer on your next load of laundry. The best way to prevent them is by taking the time to check the pockets of the clothes that go into your washing machine and dryer. By taking this extra step, you save yourself and your dryer from any potential trouble.

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About Margaret Croom

Peggy is a contributor and editor at Tidy Diary. She is a proud mother of three children who inspired her to level up her tidying skills. She enjoys her me time by lounging in her favorite nook with a lovely cup of tea. She also keeps a handy diary.