How to Clean Messes in Dryer

Cleaning Your Dryer Drum: Stains, Odors, and Feathers? Oh My!

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Who hasn’t opened the door to the dryer at least once to find an unexpected mess waiting inside? Laundry is already a miserable chore, but cleaning your dryer drum doesn’t have to feel like one.

So, whether you just want to freshen it up or you’ve found a pillow that’s exploded or a Crayon that’s melted onto your dryer wall, don’t panic. These tips use things you already have in the kitchen to clean the dryer messes you didn’t expect to find.

General Dryer Drum Cleaning

Let your dryer cool, then and pull out any threads or pieces of fabric stuck in the fins or ridges inside your dryer drum.

If there are no other messes, you only need to wipe it out with warm, soapy water then go over it again with a clean, damp cloth to remove the soap reside.

For disinfection, use a disinfecting wipe or hydrogen peroxide. Remember, disinfectants need to remain wet on a surface for 5 minutes to eliminate germs, so don’t be skimpy. You can wipe it again with a damp cloth after that or leave as-is — it’s your call.

Found more than you bargained for? Read on for how to deal with specific types of messes, and then further down are tips to eliminate dryer odors.

Cleaning Specific Messes in Your Dryer Drum

It’s important to remove messes from your clothes dryer when you notice them. Otherwise, the mess can stain or damage your next load of laundry. Some, like feathers or melted plastic, can also create a fire hazard if ignored.

Ink pen, marker and clothing dye stains

To remove ink stains from your dryer drum, use rubbing alcohol on an old cloth. Switch to a fresh spot on the cloth as needed, so you don’t spread it around. Then wipe use a clean, damp rag to remove the residue.

Melted gum or candy

To remove gum or candy in your dryer drum, harden any sticky messes with an ice cube then scrape away the residue with the side of a credit card or rubber spatula.

Put a wet used dryer sheet on top of the mess for 10 minutes to break down the rest then scrub it away with warm, soapy water and wipe with a clean, damp cloth.

Melted plastic

To clean melted plastic in your dryer, pry up what you can with the edge of a spoon or rubber spatula. Soak the area acetone on a cotton ball for 5-10 minutes, then try to pry up more. Repeat until you’ve got up all the plastic.

After that, clean the inside of your dryer drum with a soapy rag and rinse the residue with a clean damp cloth. Treat any discoloration like an ink stain as described above.

Crayons, lip balm, or lipstick

You’ll need to run your dryer for a few minutes before trying to clean wax-based messes like crayons, lipstick, and Chapstick in the drum.

Once the mess is loosened, scrape up what you can with a spatula scrub the rest away with a rag dipped in olive oil. Wash the dryer drum with soapy water to finish.

Pillow fibers, feathers, and beads

If washing your pillows or weighted blankets leaves a mess of feathers or beads in your dryer, you need to remove them ASAP so they don’t become a fire hazard.

Scoop out what you can, then pull out the lint filter and detach the vent hose in back. Vacuum both openings, then the inside of the vent hose and your dryer’s exhaust vent going outside.

Clean the lint filter with warm, soapy water and let it air dry before you put it back in. Finish up by reattaching the vent hose and pushing your dryer back in place. Then clean the dryer drum as described.

Black scuffs

Use a magic eraser or even a clean pencil eraser to get rid of black scuffs in your dryer drum after washing shoes. Rub stubborn spots with olive oil on a rag. Once the scuffs are gone, use a warm, soapy rag followed by a clean damp rag to finish the job.

Glitter or sequins

Use your vacuum’s dust brush to clean up glitter in your dryer drum. Then use either a lint roller or masking tape wrapped around your hand, sticky side out, to get the rest.

Wipe the inside of the drum with a warm, soapy rag to get the final bits, rinse your lint filter thoroughly in the sink to make sure glitter isn’t clogging it.

If there are a lot of sequins, treat them like feathers as described above and clean the vent hose and outside vent to avoid a fire risk.

Removing Odors in Your Dryer Drum

Freshen the inside of your dryer by wiping it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in 16 ounces of warm water, or equal parts water and vinegar. Let it air dry to eliminate odors, then wipe it again with a clean, damp cloth.

For stubborn dryer smells, try leaving a shallow bowl full of clean clay kitty litter inside the dryer overnight with the door closed. Clay litter is a fantastic odor absorber. Toss it out when you’re done, though: cats are picky.

Still feel like your dryer needs more care? Give it a good deep cleaning to remove any lint buildup inside the dryer and vent, too.

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