by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 2, 2017)
The other day I remember thinking that I would give my wife a wonderful surprise by having all the laundry done before she got home from work. That way she would be able to have her weekend off in peace and actually be able to relax and enjoy her time. Well, unfortunately this is not exactly what happened.
As I started to pull the laundry out of the dryer I noticed something a little odd. At first I thought that it was only that one white shirt, but I soon found that it was the entire load. Bright red ink stains from the pen that I had forgotten to take out of my shirt pocket! While I may not have been able to surprise my wife in the way that I planned, I was able to surprise her in a couple of different ways.
The first was that she was able to go on a mini-shopping spree to replace the ruined clothes. The second was that we did not have to replace our dryer, since I was able to get the ink out by using the methods described in a moment. Yes, I said the plural—believe me this isn't the first time I have forgotten to check my pockets. (One of these days, I will remember.)
The key to cleaning the dryer is to figure out the best solvent to use to break up the ink. The interior of most dryers is enamel- or porcelain-coated steel. This type of surface is not very porous, so the ink should not adhere too closely to it. It sticks to the surface because it has not only coated it but been "baked" in place by running the dryer. It will take a bit of elbow grease to remove it, but it will come off with the right solvent.
The harder portion of the dryer to clean is going to be anything that is plastic. Some dryers have little "arms" or "paddles" within the dryer drum that are used to move your clothing off of the drum as the dryer operates. These items are often made of plastic and can be more porous than the actual drum. Because of their porous nature, they often hold a stain more securely and will therefore need more cleaning attention.
To do your cleaning, choose one (or more) of the following. Each is a solvent and will help remove the majority of the ink:
After scrubbing with your solvent of choice, most of the ink should be removed. There is one more step you should do, however, to make sure you've gotten everything. Take some old white towels that you don't really need anymore and soak them in undiluted bleach. After soaking them, wring them out so that they are not dripping wet. Then run them through a complete drying cycle. The bleach helps remove any remaining stains as the towels tumble around in the dryer. Repeat this as many times as necessary until you believe all the stains are out. Finally, check your work by running a clean (but old) wet white towel through a cycle and see if it picks up any stains.
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