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Why is My Dryer Leaving Black Marks on My Clothes?

Why is My Dryer Leaving Black Marks on My Clothes?

There’s nothing like a fresh, clean load of laundry – everything smells and looks like new! But what happens when you pop open the dryer only to discover that your favorite shirt suddenly has a big, black mark on it?

If your dryer leaves black marks on clothes, it’s time to get to the root of the problem! Learn what causes these marks, how to remove them, and how to keep them from happening again.

What Causes Black Marks on Clothes From the Dryer?

When your dryer leaves your clothes dirtier than before you washed them, it can be frustrating! So what leads to these black marks? Whether you have a gas or electric dryer, here are a few potential causes.

1. Foreign Objects in the Drum

We’ll start with the easiest fix – check your load of laundry for a foreign object. There’s a chance the black marks on your clothes are not from the dryer at all. It could be a crayon that one of your little ones accidentally left in their pants pocket, that ink pen you thought you’d lost, or even a permanent marker that slipped in somehow and exploded in the heat.

Check your most recent load of laundry for a culprit, and if you find one, rejoice! There’s no extra maintenance needed on your laundry machines. You can skip to the stain removal section below to get your clothes back to new.

2. Dirty Drum or Lint Trap

If a pen or marker did not cause the marks on your clothes, it’s time to examine the machine itself. But before you break out the screwdriver or call a repair person, ensure the culprit isn’t simply a dirty dryer!

Use a flashlight to examine your dryer’s drum and check for dirt and debris. Remove the lint trap, clean it thoroughly, and use a vacuum or dedicated tool to clean the slot behind it. Lint buildup can not only cause dirty streaks on your clothes, but it can also be a fire hazard.

3. Cracked Baffle or Damaged Drum

The central part of your dryer that you see and use is the drum. The drum is the (typically metal) compartment where you put the clothes. Grab that flashlight you used to check for a dirty drum; now it’s time to examine it for damage.

Look for any kinds of cracks or inconsistencies in the drum itself, as well as the baffles. (Don’t let that last part baffle you; those “fins” inside the drum that separate your clothes and toss them around are known as baffles!) Make sure they aren’t cracked or damaged in any way. Cracks or other damage to the drum or baffles could leave marks or even holes in your clothes.

If you find cracks, holes, or damage to your dryer’s drum, it’s essential to stop using it immediately. Cracks or damage to the drum can create a fire hazard by exposing your clothing to high temperatures in other dryer components. Drums are replaceable. However, they can cost upwards of $300 before the cost of labor, which means it might be time to replace the dryer altogether. Keep reading to learn how to decide if it’s time for a new washer and dryer entirely.

4. Worn Drum Glides or felt seal

If you’ve eliminated busted pens, dirty lint traps, and a damaged drum from the list of reasons for your dryer leaving marks on clothes, it’s time to get a bit more technical. Moving beyond the drum to the behind-the-scenes parts, your dryer has several seals and gaskets that keep the heating elements separate from the drum.

  • Drum glides: Your dryer’s drum glides are the components that help the drum turn smoothly. While worn drum glides are more known for making your dryer very loud, they can potentially cause clothes to snag on other parts of the dryer and cause black marks.
  • Felt seal: The felt seal on a dryer separates the drum from the bulkhead, which houses the dryer’s “guts.” If your felt seal is damaged, it can cause the drum to lift or sag, pinching clothes and leaving black streaks on them.

Examining the drum glides and felt seal will require disassembling your dryer. If you suspect that one of these parts is the cause of marks on your clothes, it’s best to call a professional to disassemble and inspect your machine.

How To Remove Black Marks On Clothes From Dryer

Depending on the cause of the black marks on your clothes, there are a few different methods to remove them. Always test any cleaner or chemical in a small, hidden spot to ensure it doesn’t discolor your clothes!

How to Remove Black Marks Caused by Pens, Markers, and Crayons

  • Pens and markers: Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is your friend for ink stains. Apply the alcohol to the stain and scrub it with a soft brush, like an old toothbrush. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then wash normally.
  • Crayons: Straight from the source, here’s how Crayola recommends removing crayon stains. First, scrape off as much as possible – the edge of a fork works great for this. Then, rub the stain with dish soap and let it soak for a few minutes. Machine wash the clothes with your favorite stain-fighting detergent or treatment, then air dry. You might have to repeat this process if the stain is stubborn!

How to Remove Black Marks Caused by Glides and Seals

These stains can be trickier. First, try treating it with the stain remover you usually use. If that doesn’t work, try removing the stain with a mix of vinegar and water. Another option is rubbing alcohol or dish soap, as mentioned in the ink and crayon steps.

Do I Need to Replace My Washer and Dryer?

Sometimes, your dryer leaving black marks on your clothes can indicate a more significant problem with the machine. And often, those major problems are costly to repair. If you’re considering replacing your dryer altogether, replacing your washing machine simultaneously is a good idea. Here’s why:

  • Replacing both can save money: While replacing both costs more, there are often discounts and sales for buying a set.
  • Improve efficiency: If your dryer is going out, your washing machine is likely not very new either. Newer appliances have made leaps and bounds in efficiency, which can help save you money in the long run.
  • Maintain a matching set: Whether you’re worried about aesthetics or just having a washer and dryer that go together, most people prefer a matching set.
  • Limit stress about your washing machine dying next: You likely bought your washing machine and dryer at the same time. That means if your dryer is on its way out, your washing machine may be close behind. Replacing both will help ensure you’re not left without a functioning laundry setup!

Rent-A-Center Has Your Washer and Dryer Upgrade!

If you’ve checked all of these dryer components and your dryer is still leaving marks on your clothes, it might be time for a quality upgrade. Check out Rent-A-Center’s selection of dryers at a price you can afford, or get double the savings with our washer and dryer bundles. Shop online or in-store now!

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