Since clothes dryers are meant to simply dry items instead of clean and wash them, it may come as a surprise to users when items come out dirtier than when they went in. For instance, if items are getting rust stains after being in the dryer, it is time for a little investigation and troubleshooting to resolve the situation.
The primary reason that a dryer deposits rust stains on items is that there is rust present in the dryer that is transferring to clothes. The first place to check is the air duct, which is located in the right side of the rear of the dryer. Use an old towel to wipe the air duct clean. If rust comes off on the towel, disconnect power to the dryer and use rust remover to clean the air duct. Wipe clean again before drying items.
If the seals along the edges of the dryer are folded over and there is rust located along the seals, this rust may be rubbing off on clothes that get caught in the seals. There are seals in the rear of the drum as well. Adjust the seals so that they are not folded over and rub a cloth along the seals. If rust comes off, use rust remover and then a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue.
One of the most common problems with dryers comes from overloading, which can cause dryer noise, vibration and poor drying results. It can also cause rust stains if the tub is so full that items get pushed along the seals during drying, getting stained. Keep load sizes to a moderate level and clean the seals as a preventative measure.
If the drum itself is rusty, it is possible to clean it out with a rust removal product. However, if the drum is excessively rusty, it may be beyond cleaning and require replacement. The glides in the front of the dryer may also be wearing out, which causes the drum to drop slightly during use, allowing clothes to get caught in the dryer interior. If there is rust inside the dryer housing, this will transfer to the items. If cleaning the tub, seals and air duct does not resolve the situation, contact the dryer manufacturer for service advice.
Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.