Mistakes happen -- sometimes that pen you meant to take out of your pocket before doing laundry stays tucked away within your clothes all the way through to the dryer. All the rough and tumble action may cause the pen to split open, explode or leak, leaving a mess inside the dryer even after you remove the laundry. Instead of wondering how to use the dryer again without staining your clothes, remove those ink stains with simple materials you likely already have on hand.
Absorb Wet Ink
If there's any chance the ink is still wet, quickly grab paper towels and pat the ink spots. Press firmly, then check the paper to see if any of the ink has transferred onto it. If not, wet a paper towel and wipe an ink spot, working from the outer edges of the stain toward the center to avoid smearing the ink. Swap the paper towel for fresh paper towels, alternating wet and dry paper until you've removed as much ink as possible. Working when the stain is still fresh increases your chances of removing all of the ink.
Erase the Ink
A melamine foam eraser -- the type designed for cleaning -- is so versatile that it can even remove stains inside the dryer drum without any extra chemicals. Wet a corner of a fresh foam eraser, then rub the eraser over an ink stain inside the dryer. Rub from the outside of the stain toward the center to help prevent it from spreading. Check the eraser frequently -- if the eraser takes on the color of the ink, rotate the eraser to use a clean portion instead. Continue until you've removed as much ink as possible. Shine a flashlight inside the dryer to make sure you've reached all the ink spots and that you've picked up all pieces of the pen.
Citrus Spot Treatment
A citrus-based cleaner designed to remove stains and sticky substances also removes ink -- even permanent marker ink -- from the dryer. Blot a small amount of the citrus solution onto a paper towel or white cloth, then press it onto the ink spot for at least 30 seconds. Lift the paper towel or cloth, then wipe the ink with a fresh area of the paper or cloth to remove remaining color. Continue dabbing more citrus cleaner onto the spots, then wiping them off, until no more ink remains. Wipe the residual oily citrus cleaner away with a damp sponge, then wipe the wet areas with a paper towel.
Rubbing alcohol lifts ink from all sorts of surfaces, including the inside of the dryer. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton swab, pressing out excess moisture onto a paper towel. Hold the swab directly onto an ink spot, turning the swab gently to lift ink. Replace the swab with a fresh one once it becomes dirty. Keep a damp paper towel handy to immediately wipe the alcohol off the inside of the dryer, because alcohol is flammable.
On the Safe Side
Once you're certain you've wiped up all the ink and have removed the pen from the dryer, place a load of damp clean rags or old towels in the dryer, drying them on a low-heat setting. The cloth helps capture any remaining ink you may have missed and also lets you know whether you really have removed all of the ink from the dryer.