How To Remove Common Messes From Your Dryer Drum

Resolving Common Dryer Disasters - collage: woman holding new pair of jeans and a magic eraster; woman using magic eraser on inside of dryer drum

Dryer Disasters Happen To The Best Of Us

I think it’s fair to assume most of us have had a serious dryer drum mess to clean up after something went into the dryer that shouldn’t have. Dryer drum disasters seem to be one of those inevitable human errors we all make, like burning your mouth on food you knew was too hot to eat.

In my experience, there are three types of things that tend to make the biggest messes inside of a dryer drum: ink (from a pen exploding in the dryer), wax (from lip balm or crayons), and dyes. But luckily for us, these messes can be removed with the right technique!

And that’s what this post is all about — simple solutions for cleaning common dryer messes. So the next time you discover a mess in your dryer, you’ll know just what to do to get it cleaned up and back in working order! :-)

How To Clean A Dryer Drum To Remove 3 Common Messes

Resolving Common Dryer Disasters - woman cleaning dryer drum with a magic eraser

1. Use A Magic Eraser To Remove Ink From A Dryer

Pen exploded in the dryer? It happens! If you’re wondering how to get ink out of a dryer, your best bet is to use a magic eraser. (It’s tempting to reach for rubbing alcohol to clean ink, but it’s a bad idea to use anything flammable to clean your dryer!)

To use a magic eraser, wet it with water and rub it over the ink stain. Removing the stain completely might take a little time and some elbow grease, but it should disappear completely!

Make sure to wipe the stained area often with a damp rag while you’re working. This will help remove ink so that you’re not just pushing it around.

Bonus Tip: If there’s ink in your dryer, there’s likely ink on your clothes too! Treat those ink stains ASAP for to improve your chances of removing them entirely.

Resolving Common Dryer Disasters - woman wiping inside of dryer with white vinegar

2. Use Vinegar To Remove Wax From A Dryer

Lip balm, crayons, and other waxy substances can make quite a mess if they accidentally end up in the dryer. To remove the wax, you’ll want to warm it up first to make it easier to remove.

Dampen a few old towels, toss them in your dryer, and run it on high heat for about 5 minutes. Then use a rag dipped in white vinegar to wipe up the warmed wax. Once the wax is gone, rinse the drum with a clean, wet towel.

Bonus Tip: For any clothes that were subjected to the waxy mess in your dryer, spray a stain remover on the spots (or dab on some liquid detergent) and rub it into the fabric. Let it sit for half an hour, then launder in the warmest recommended water. Don’t dry the clothes until the stains are gone — if not, repeat the process and check again.

Resolving Common Dryer Disasters - woman holding new pair of jeans and a magic eraser

3. Use A Magic Eraser To Remove Dye From A Dryer

Dye from clothes that aren’t colorfast transfer to your dryer drum over time. Luckily, that residue is usually pretty easy to clean up. Just rub the dye off of your drum using a damp magic eraser!

To prevent loose dyes from adhering to your dryer drum, try making these homemade color catchers to add to your wash loads. These cloths will help absorb bleeding dyes in the wash and keep them out of your dryer!

woman putting laundry into a dryer

Other Useful Cleaning And Prevention Tips

1. Don’t Use Flammable Cleaners

I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating! Don’t use flammable items to clean your dryer, including the following:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish remover
  • WD-40
  • Goof Off

2. Don’t Use Bleach

Don’t use bleach to clean your dryer either! Avoiding bleach is less of a safety concern and more of precaution, because it could leave behind bleach residue that could transfer to your next load of wet clothes. I’d rather just skip the bleach and avoid the problem altogether!

Resolving Common Dryer Disasters - woman taking a pen out of the pocket of a pair of jeans

3. Check. Your. Pockets!

For anyone who may need to hear this: check your pockets before doing laundry! Every incident of something getting ruined in the washer or dryer (or making a mess) is completely avoidable.

Encourage (or beg, if that’s what it takes!) everyone in the house to take the extra 30 seconds to check their pockets before starting laundry. This practice could very well save you from a time-consuming cleaning task down the road!

Related: 9 Genius Laundry Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

What’s the worst dryer drum mess you’ve had to clean up?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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