How to Clean a Dryer

Despite even the most careful laundry-sorting and pocket-checking, inevitably something will sneak into your dryer that shouldn’t be there: a pen, crayon, hand grenade — and it willl cause a mess. A few simple tricks can help you remedy this problem. Different messes require different procedures for cleaning.

For maximum dryer efficiency and safety, you should always keep your dryer lint screen and vent free of excess lint and debris. For an explanation of how to do that, see our article entitled How to Clean a Dryer Vent.

What You Will Need*:

  • Several cleaning rags
  • WD-40 Spray
  • Bucket of soapy water (using mild dish soap)
  • Bucket of clean water
  • All-Purpose Spray Cleaner (i.e. 409, Fantastik, etc.)
  • Credit card or plastic spatula
  • A hair dryer
  • Rubbing (Isoprophyl) Alcohol
  • Dryer sheets

*Removing different types of stains requires different techniques, so you may not need all of these items, depending upon the type of stain.

Important Safety Tip: Before attempting to clean your dryer, it is important to UNPLUG YOUR DRYER. This should be done whether your dryer is gas or electric. NEVER attempt to clean your dryer when it is still plugged in as you run the risk of electrocution!

Removing Crayon from the Dryer

 

  1. Check the interior drum for any stuck-on crayon (the drum can be spun for easy assessment).
  2. If there are any chunks of crayon on the interior drum, scrape them off with the plastic credit card or spatula.
  3. Spray a small amount of WD-40 on a cleaning rag. NEVER spray any cleaning solution including WD-40 directly into the dryer as the residue may get into the drum holes and cause a serious fire hazard!
  4. Using the rag, rub any areas containing crayon marks. They should come off with a little scrubbing.
  5. Wet another rag with the soapy water and wash the interior of the drum, paying special attention to the area that you just wiped with the WD-40.
  6. Wet another rag with the clean water and rinse the interior of the drum, paying special attention to the area you just wiped with the WD-40.
  7. Dry the interior of the drum with a clean rag.

Warning: If you’ve used any type of cleaning solvent in your dryer other than plain soap and water, ALWAYS leave the door open on your dryer after cleaning, and DO NOT use for several hours to allow any fumes or residue to dissipate – otherwise you may run the risk of fire or explosion!

Removing Ink from the Dryer

  1. Spray a small amount of all-purpose cleaner onto a cleaning rag. NEVER spray any cleaning solution directly into the dryer as the residue may get into the drum holes and damage the dryer or cause a serious fire hazard!
  2. Rub the dampened rag on the ink stain, being sure to check the entire drum from stains (if there is one ink stain, there are probably more).
  3. If the ink stain does not come off (some or more stubborn than others, depending upon the type of pen), dampen another cleaning rag with rubbing alcohol, and scrub the stain. It should come off with some effort.
  4. If you’ve used alcohol, wet another rag with the soapy water, and wash the interior of the drum, paying special attention to the area that you just wiped with the alcohol.
  5. Wet another rag with the clean water, and rinse the interior of the drum.
  6. Dry the interior of the drum with a clean rag.

Warning: If you’ve used any type of cleaning solvent in your dryer other than plain soap and water, ALWAYS leave the door open on your dryer after cleaning, and DO NOT use for several hours to allow any fumes or residue to dissipate – otherwise you may run the risk of fire or explosion!

Removing Candy or Gum from the Dryer

  1. If the candy or gum has hardened and is stuck to the drum, use a blow dryer to remove it. Hold the blow dryer about 6 inches from the candy or gum and use the hot air setting to soften the item (this should take less than a minute).
  2. Using a plastic credit card or spatula, scrape the item off the side of the drum.
  3. Spray a small amount of all-purpose cleaner onto a cleaning rag. NEVER spray any cleaning solution directly into the dryer as the residue may get into the drum holes and damage the dryer or cause a serious fire hazard!
  4. Scrub any remaining stain with the dampened rag.
  5. Wet another rag with the clean water, and rinse the interior of the drum.
  6. Dry the interior of the drum with a clean rag.

Warning: If you’ve used any type of cleaning solvent in your dryer other than plain soap and water, ALWAYS leave the door open on your dryer after cleaning, and DO NOT use for several hours to allow any fumes or residue to dissipate – otherwise you may run the risk of fire or explosion!

Removing Dye from the Dryer

(i.e. from clothing that is not color-fast):

  1. Dampen a dryer sheet, and run it along the inside of the dryer drum, using as may sheets as necessary to wipe down the entire drum. You should continue doing this until the dryer sheet comes out clean, with no dye marks.
  2. Wet a clean rag with the soapy water and wash the interior of the drum.
  3. Wet another rag with the clean water and rinse the interior of the drum.
  4. Dry the interior of the drum with a clean rag.

Additional Tips and Advice:

  • After cleaning a stain from your dryer, before running a fresh load of laundry, run a test load of old towels or rags to make sure the stain is gone.
  • Regardless of whether you have a stain on your dryer or not, the interior should be routinely cleaned (about once a month) with a rag dampened with warm soapy water, and rinsed with another rag dipped in clean water.
  • When drying the interior of your dryer, avoid using ordinary bath towels as they cause lint. Use a lint-free cleaning rag or cloth.

 

Comments

  1. Pat says:

    I don’t have a tip, I have a problem!!

    I accidentally threw a party dress with sequins into the dryer mix. Now, all the sequins are stuck and probably melted to the inside of the dryer. I’m trying a wet rag now with the dryer on for heat at the moment.

    Anyone have any suggestions???
    Thanks.

  2. Patrick says:

    If gum got stuck in the dryer, remove it quickly with a toothbrush or credit card. Use a scrubbing bubble powerful foam stain remover in a can and spray it to the part were the dirt is. Leave it for 5 minutes and scrub it with a towel. Try as much as possible to remove it.

  3. Judie says:

    I, too, have a problem! I had someone leave a can of ‘dip’ in their pocket and it’s left heavy residue in the dryer drum. How do you get this out?

    Look! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  4. Narciso says:

    How can I dry a rag with solvents? Please, I was using a dryer machine (it burns) because of gas generation inside.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I tried the suggestion of WD-40 on a cloth and wiping down a the dryer drum and using a credit card to scrape the melted glue off the drum. Worked great so far. Afterward, I have wiped the inside of the dryer with a soapy cloth. Now I am allowing time to pass before I test a load of old scrub cloths. I am concerned about the rubber gasket at the back of the dryer. I thought I would spend 8 to 10 hours on this – so far I just spent an hour. Lesson was learned!

  6. Idiot says:

    Apparently, my girlfriend is right, and I am, in fact, an idiot. I opened the dryer to throw in my wet laundry to find that my roommate had apparently washed and dried an entire pack of gum, because it was all over every surface of the inside of the dryer. So, of course, I did the exact wrong thing and sprayed Lysol cleaning spray all over the inside of it, including directly on the back wall, and into the drum holes. It never even occurred to me that Lysol might be flammable until right after I finished cleaning it. Will my dryer ever be safe? How will I know when/if it is safe to use???

  7. Skipper says:

    Recently I made the mistake of using dryer sheets in my Whirlpool duet dryer, I noticed after my son cleaned the dryer vent with a vent brush that the dryer does not seem to heat up; I checked and don’t see any dryer sheets stuck or caught on the dryer lint filter. Any suggestions as to what the problem could be? The dryer worked fine before the filter was cleaned.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Hello, This morning, I tried to remove the lint from the trap, but it fell in the hole and I fear that there is more lint down the hole and in the vent. I turned on the dryer – it sounded weird, like the lint was sucked up in the wrong place or something. Now, it won’t stay on and I don’t know if it is for safety or not. I just bought this dryer last year. Can anyone help me with this?

  9. Red says:

    So, I’m babysitting my friend’s kitten and he pooped in the dryer. My roommate put a shirt in there and turned it on without knowing, and now its everywhere and smells horrible. How do I clean my dryer and get the smell out?

  10. Lesley says:

    I had the rubber bottom of a throw rug crumble in the dryer. How can I get the crumbles out? I have tried a wet rag, a dust buster, and nothing is working. I can’t put other clothes in the dryer until I solve this mess.

  11. Maureen says:

    This morning, I put a pair of old sneakers that I washed in the dryer. Now, my dryer walls are full of old rubber. How can I clean them? Any help is appreciated.

  12. Jennie says:

    I really don’t know what this is: The walls of my dryer have these black lines inside that look like marker or pen. Nothing gets on my clothes at all. The lines fade and then come back. I tried with dryer sheets to get them out, but no luck. I’m puzzled! Ideas?

  13. Ed says:

    We have the same problem. It was suggested we use a product like a gum-off product or other similar; it can be scratched off, but is hard and it uses a lot of it.

  14. Rich says:

    For blue dye removal from dryer drum and interior walls, use Cerabryte oven top cleaner/polisher for ceramic top ovens, with just a little rubbing with a clean cloth. It is the only thing I have found that works. Use an old rag, because it will be blue when you are done!

  15. Rachel says:

    I have a black powder-like dust when I run the dryer. It seems to only show up after a heated dryer cycle. I first noticed it on some light towels and sheets. Testing to see if it would show up, I ran the dryer empty; a small amount of black dust showed up on the drum. What could this be from and how would I clean it?

  16. Chris says:

    I have laundry detergent stains on the top of my dryer. I have tried magic erasers and still no luck. Is there anything that can remove these stains?

    Look! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  17. Melanie says:

    Rachel,
    That could be soot, which can be caused by a clogged vent pipe or burned gasket. Vacuuming and wiping inside the dryer would be a good way to clean the current soot, but you really need to locate the source of the soot to cure the problem. Remove the dryer vent from the wall and use the vacuum hose to clean the inside if necessary. If the dryer vent was clean, the problem may be inside the dryer. Unplug the dryer, grab a screwdriver, open the dryer door and remove any screws that you see or feel along the edge of the hole or just above the door frame. Look for anything rubber that could be flaking or burned, or possibly a renegade sock obstructing the vent.

    Source: eHow – How to Get Soot Out of a Dryer
    Source: eHow – How to Take Apart a Dryer

  18. Ahhh help says:

    I put my car floor mat in my dryer and now I have tiny chunks of black rubber from the back of the mat tumbling around in my dryer. I vacuumed the inside of the dryer and lint trap, but I can’t get rid of them. Help please.

  19. Hope says:

    I washed a rug with a rubber backing and put in the dryer. I figured since the rubber was dry and old and already flaking off it wouldn’t hurt to put in the washer and dryer. Can you please tell me what steps specifically, for both the washer and dryer, that I need to take to properly and fully clean the mess and to prevent any further problems from happening.
    Thank You !

  20. Gloria says:

    I had a lint fire, which left a good amount of dark soot in my dryer. First, I tried the dish detergent, then hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/toothpaste (which whitened it more, but not enough), then I found this can that removed every little bit of brown soot and left the inside of my dryer like brand new again. All I needed to use in the first place was a can of Graffitti & Spray Paint Remover from ITW Dymon. It is perfect for baked on enamels like dryer drums. And, the best thing, no scrubbing was required, just use a scouring pad when wiping it off, then wipe again with a clean rag. Like I said, my dryer is like brand new. My insurance wouldn’t even cover the cleaning because of my deductible and I thought I would have to pay $150 for a new drum. This can of Graffitti Remover is all I needed. I hope someone out there reads this and passess it along to save tons of money and time.

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