Ways to Remove Ink Stains from Dryers

woman taking clothes out of dryer

Having to remove ink stains from dryer drums and paddles can be an unwanted task. Fortunately, there are simple solutions to safely clean up what is often an ugly mess.

Dryer Drums

When disaster strikes in the form of ink stains, all is not lost. Many people automatically trash garments that have dried ink stains on them, but there are ways to remove ink stains from clothes. The same goes for dryers. When a forgotten pen explodes in the dryer there is no need to run out and buy a new machine. Rather, follow these simple tips to remove ink stains from a dryer drum:


Your first method of defense against an ink stain is to run the dryer at its highest heat setting. The intense heat should liquefy the ink and allow you to wipe it off the dryer drum with a clean cloth.

Nail Polish Remover

If direct heat alone doesn't do the trick, then apply nail polish remover to the ink stains while the dryer drum is still warm. The liquid should be placed on a cotton cloth first. Then, use some elbow grease to work it into the ink until it comes off.

When you're finished, wipe the drum out with a damp cloth to remove the remaining traces of the nail polish remover.


To remove ink spots from the dryer drum, try spraying some WD-40 directly on the stains, and then wiping clean with a soft cloth.


There are a number of ways you can use bleach to remove ink stains from dryer drums. However, the easiest is to soak a couple of old towels in a mixture of bleach and water. Once the towels are saturated with the bleach mixture, wring them out a bit. You don't want them soaking wet; rather, they should be damp, yet not dripping. Place the towels in the dryer with the ink stains and let them run for about 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

Commercial Cleaners

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a non-toxic, environmentally safe cleaning product that can be used to erase ink stains from dryer drums. Simply spray some of the cleaner on a sponge and wipe the ink off the drum. In addition, Goo Gone, an oil-based cleaner and solvent, which is specially formulated to safely remove gummy messes, is another product that works well to remove caked on ink from dryers.

Vegetable Shortening

If you are afraid to use chemically-laced products in your fryer, then try using vegetable shortening. Simply heat up the dryer for a few minutes and then coat the ink stains with plain vegetable shortening. Allow the shortening to soak in a bit, then wipe clean with a cotton cloth.

Dryer Paddles

The interiors of most dryers are made from enamel- or porcelain-coated steel. Fortunately, these types of surfaces are not very porous, so ink should not permanently soak in. However, the same cannot always be said for the dryer paddles, which are made of plastic. These plastic paddles are porous in nature, which means a stain can set in quicker and last longer if not treated immediately.

Removing ink stains from the paddles in your dryer can be achieved through the following tips:

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

The inexpensive sponge-like pad works wonders on ink stains. Simply dampen the Magic Eraser with some warm water and scrub vigorously until the ink stain is removed from the plastic paddles.

Rubbing Alcohol

For stubborn ink that will not come off your dryer's plastic paddles, saturate a cotton rag with rubbing alcohol, and then wipe away the stains. Depending on the severity of the ink stain you may have to use a bit of elbow grease when scrubbing.

Bug Spray

It may sound strange, but bug spray comes in handy when you are removing ink stains from dryer paddles. Simply spray OFF! Insect Repellent directly on the ink stains and wipe away with a clean cloth. The active ingredients in the insect repellent help lift the stain so that you can wipe it off with the cloth.

Prevention is Key

An ounce of prevention can help eliminate the need for all of the aforementioned cleaning tips. To avoid ink stains from attacking your dryer, be sure to thoroughly empty the pockets of all garments prior to placing them in the washing machine or dryer. By removing pens or other ink carriers before throwing them into the dryer you can spare your machine from looking like a Dalmatian.

Ways to Remove Ink Stains from Dryers