How To Get Gum Out of a Dryer

Fleet Appliance
November 6, 2023
Dryer Repair

Uh-oh. You just emptied a load from your dryer, and you find a piece of gum that went through the last cycle—it’s now stuck to the inside of the drum. 

Panic sets in. How can you remove it without damaging the dryer? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. 

In this post, we’ll show you how to get gum out of your dryer with just a few household staples and a bit of patience. Read on to find out how.

Use towels and rags

We tend to overlook checking our pockets before tossing our clothes into the dryer. This can sometimes result in unwanted substances like gum or even crayons melting and sticking to the inside of the machine. However, there is an effective method to handle this sticky situation. 

Start by placing several old towels into the dryer. Set it to a low heat setting and let it run for a few minutes. This process helps to soften the hardened gum. Then create a thick paste by combining a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent with a small amount of water. 

Take a clean cloth, apply the paste to it, and use it to scrub the gum off the machine. Make sure you cover the entire interior of the dryer drum during this process. 

Ensure that you’ve removed all the gum before drying your next load of clothes. To do so, run a cycle with several damp rags. The rags will help catch any leftover gum.

This simple, quick, and effective method will keep your dryer clean and free from any sticky residue. We’ve got a few other methods for you if the above doesn’t work or you simply don’t want to spread the gum onto your towels and rags.

Use dryer sheets

Dryer sheets are not only great for softening clothes—they can soften the gum as well. Start by moistening a dryer sheet with warm water and press it into the gum so it sticks. Leave the dryer sheets for 15 minutes. You can then use fabric softener to help scrape the gum off of the drum.

Use ice

The first step is to let the dryer cool. Hot gum can be incredibly sticky, and you’ll only make the mess worse by trying to remove it while it’s too hot to handle.

After the dryer has cooled, don’t try to scrape the gum off with a sharp object. This can damage the drum and leave scratches that will catch on your clothes. 

Instead, grab some ice cubes from your freezer, place them in a ziploc bag, and hold them against the gum for 10-15 minutes. This will harden the gum in the dryer and make it easier to remove. 

Once the gum has hardened, gently scrape it off using a rubber or wooden spatula. Be careful not to use too much force, or you may scratch the drum.

Use oil

You can use a natural cooking oil to help remove gum from your dryer drum. All you need is a canola-based cooking oil spray or a little bottled canola oil and a cloth. Peanut oil is also very effective—even peanut butter will work in a pinch.

After you rub some oil on the gum, scrape it off using a rubber or plastic spatula or knife. It may take a few tries, but after all the gum is removed, wash the area with mild soap and water, then dry it off with a clean cloth. 

Use powdered laundry detergent

Laundry detergent and water are two household staples you can use to remove gum from your dryer drum. Mix the laundry detergent and water into a thick paste. Pour the mixture over the gum, making sure to saturate it completely. 

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, take a slightly damp cloth and gently scrub the area until the gum is gone. Finally, rinse the area with water and dry it thoroughly.

Use a solvent

If there’s still gum residue left behind after scraping, the next step is to use a solvent to dissolve it. Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and WD-40 all work well. Just apply a small amount of your chosen solvent to a soft cloth and rub gently in a circular motion.

Be patient, and don’t use too much solvent at once, as it can damage the drum’s finish. Once the residue is gone, wipe the drum using a cleaning cloth or paper towel to remove any remaining solvent. Dry the area thoroughly.

Use dish soap

If you don’t have any of the above solvents on hand, dish soap can also be effective. Apply a small amount of dish soap to a clean cloth and rub it into the gum residue. 

Let the soap sit for several minutes, then wipe it away with a clean, damp cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times to fully remove the residue.

Use baking soda and vinegar

For stubborn gum stains, you can also try using baking soda and vinegar. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to make a paste, then apply it to the gum stains and scrub with a soft brush. 

Rinse with water, then apply some vinegar to a cloth and wipe the stain until it disappears. Be careful not to get any water or vinegar inside the dryer’s electrical components.

Call in the professionals

Finally, if none of these methods work, a professional dryer cleaning service may be your best bet. They have specialized tools, methods, and cleaning agents that can remove even the toughest stains—especially gum—without damaging your dryer.

Final thoughts

Getting gum stuck inside your dryer is definitely an inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world. With a little bit of patience, elbow grease, and some simple household items, you can safely remove the gum and avoid any damage to your machine. 

Remember to never use sharp objects to try and remove the gum, as they can cause scratches and other damage. Instead, try ice, solvents, dish soap, baking soda, or vinegar, depending on the size and severity of the stain. 

If all else fails, don’t hesitate to call a professional cleaning service. They’ll have your dryer running smoothly again in no time.


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