How to remove ink from a dryer in 6 steps

Red ink on white shirt.
(Image credit: Getty)

Knowing how to remove ink from a dryer is essential to keep your clothes dry and your whites white. Any spilled ink or ink residue in your dryer can cause a color shift in every load of washing that you do. 

Ink can get in a dryer in a number of ways; if you leave a pen in your pocket, then there is a high chance that the ink will leak out and cover the inside of your dryer. If you have ink on your clothes before washing, it can also cause an inky, murky residue to build up inside your dryer, which can permanently stain your clothes if it's not taken care of. 

Tools & requirements

- Acetone (Amazon)

- Bleach (Amazon)

- Water

- Large towel

- Rubbing alcohol (optional)

If you have a large build-up of inky residue in your dryer, then don’t worry; there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can try to eliminate any ink spots on your favorite clothes. If you have one of the best dryers, then you will want to keep it in its best condition. Much like the best washer and dryer combos, inky residue can build up over time, but thankfully it is easy to clean and prevent. 

Toby Schulz, CEO of Maid2Match, says, "Start with a tried-and-tested solution: soapy water. Mix some dish soap and warm water, then use it to dampen a cloth. Rub the stains to see if they come off. This works best if the ink stains are fresh, though it may take a couple of minutes."

For more advice on keeping your dryer at its best, check out how to clean a dryer so that it works efficiently.

Quick steps: How to remove ink from a dryer

  1. Heat up your dryer
  2. Rub the drum with acetone
  3. Saturate a large towel in bleach and water
  4. Place the bleach-soaked towel into the dryer
  5. Allow the inside of the dryer to dry completely
  6. Rub the paddles down with rubbing alcohol or acetone

Step-by-step guide: How to remove ink from a dryer

1. Heat up your dryer

(Image: © Alamy)

Run your dryer on a hot setting to heat up the interior to aid the cleaning process.

2. Rub the drum with acetone

(Image: © Alamy)

Rub the inside of the drum with acetone while the drum is still warm, and allow it to dry completely. Do not move on to the next step until the drum is dry as it can be dangerous.

3. Saturate a large towel in bleach and water

(Image: © Alamy)

Soak a large towel in a solution of bleach diluted in water. Make sure the towel is clean - it is best to use white towels. 

4. Place the bleach-soaked towel into the dryer

(Image: © Alamy)

When the towel is saturated in the solution, place it into the dryer and run it on the hottest setting. The bleach will help to break down the ink and clean the dryer.

5. Allow the inside of the dryer to dry completely

(Image: © Alamy)

Once again, make sure the dryer is completely dry before moving on to the next step. Leave the door open and wait until the smell of bleach is gone.

6. Rub the paddles down with rubbing alcohol or acetone

(Image: © Alamy)

To remove any remaining residue, use acetone or rubbing alcohol to clean the paddles. When you have finished this step, allow the paddles to dry, and your dryer should be free from any ink.

How to remove ink from a dryer: FAQs

How do I keep my dryer clean?

To keep a dryer clean, you should think about what goes into your dryer. There are a few simple steps that you can take to cut down on how often you need to clean your machine.  

Don’t mix fabric types

Mixing fabric types will cause more lint to be produced. It is best to wash natural and synthetics separately, as they can produce an excessive amount of lint from the friction caused when they rub together in the dryer. 

Use more laundry detergent

If you notice a dirty residue forming in your dryer, then you might want to use more detergent or a stronger detergent in your washing machine. Small amounts of residual dirt can build up over time and stain the inside of your dryer - this can be problematic when you are drying whites as it can leave blotches on your laundry. 

Use color catchers in your washer

Using color catchers in your dryer can prevent any residual dye from sticking to your clothes and ending up in your dryer. Color catchers are sheets that catch the dye while your clothes are washing to prevent discoloration in your laundry. A build-up of residual dye can cause a residue build-up in your dryer that can hinder its efficiency or leach onto your clothes. 

Will vinegar remove ink from a dryer?

An alternative approach to removing ink from your dryer involves mixing equal amounts of distilled white vinegar and hot water. Then, scrub the stained areas using a cloth that's been dampened with the solution. 

Dan Fauzi
Features Editor

Dan Fauzi is the Features Editor of Top Ten Reviews, with experience in digital product writing across all sorts - including tech, outdoor living, sports, and homes & gardens. Outside of work you'll find them at gigs, exploring creative spaces, or cooking up something good in the kitchen. 

With contributions from