Desperately Seeking Cleaning advice

Good People of the Straight Dope Community, I find that I need your help. I just now went to remove a load of clothes from the dryer and discovered that the pen that had somehow been missed when inserting the clothes in the washing machine and the dryer had somehow shattered and ink covered just about all the clothes.
Now, I know the clothes are a hopeless cause, but what concerns me is all the ink stains now in the dryer. I tried cleaning the drum with a spray cleaner (409) and that helped a little, but not much. Does anyone have any ideas on what I can try next?


Alcohol will remove ink. I haven’t tried it with baked on ink, but it’s worth a shot. You may even have luck saving some of the clothing.

There are products such as “GoofOff” and “GooGone” that are excellent at removing ink from cloth. I had to use several applications to remove ink from a brand new dress shirt but the ink is 100% gone and the fabric was totally unaffected. These are available at any good hardware store.

Be very cautious using ANY chemical in the dryer though. Read the product label carefully and completely. Some chemicals will ignite in the environment inside a dryer even if you think they have evaporated completely. (please don’t ask how I know!) After treatment, I’d run a fan blowing in the open dryer door for a goodly amount of time just to be sure and then run the dryer on the no heat setting for a spell just to be sure.

Good luck!

Hairspray will take ink out of clothes under normal circumstances, ie., before they have been through the washer and dryer.

I would try it on both the dryer and the clothes at this point.

There is also a product on the market called Acrysol, not sure on that spelling. It is a solvent that the auto dealerships use to remove stains from carpet, upholstery and other fabric areas on automobiles. I would almost bet that it would take care of the ink in the dryer. I have never used it on clothes though.

Good luck!!!

I had a similar but not quite as extensive incident. I ran some old towels through the dryer and confirmed that the ink wouldn’t come off on the towels. I figured if it’s not going to come off on the clothes, why worry. YMMV, of course.

Get some OxyClean and watch the ink on your clothes disappear

“I would try it on both the dryer and the clothes at this point.”

I wouldn’t be smoking when that is used in the dryer. has hints