Safety Check: Is WD-40 Really The Secret To A Sparkling Clean Dryer?

Leaving a pen in your pocket is a mistake you'll only make once when you see the aftermath of an ink explosion in your dryer. Whether it's navy, black, or red, ink is a tough, stubborn stain to get rid of — no matter where it is — especially if you don't notice the ink for a while. You may have heard that putting some WD-40 in your dryer will help get rid of these pesky ink stains. Apparently, putting the popular household spray directly onto the ink stains and then wiping away the residue will banish any remaining pigment from wayward ink stains.

However, this isn't the case. In fact, while it may seem like a good idea, using WD-40 in your dryer is unsafe and could cause problems for your clothing and you or your family. This is mainly because WD-40 is an extremely flammable product. You should never use a flammable item in your dryer. A dryer is specifically designed to reach a high temperature in order to effectively dry your clothes, which is a major no-go for flammable products.

The popular spray should never be used in a hot setting

Any appliance that gets hot should never come in contact with a flammable item, especially one in a liquid form like WD-40. The same goes for other popular cleaning remedies for getting ink stains out, like rubbing alcohol. Even if you wash out the drum thoroughly after using WD-40 or a similar product, there's still a huge safety risk associated with using these products in your dryer.

Not only will WD-40 potentially cause a fire, but it also carries the risk of exploding when heated. You definitely don't want your dryer to explode, so it's best to steer clear entirely from this product (unless you're using it for its intended purpose, like lubricating a squeaky hinge). In addition to the above risks, WD-40 can cause dizziness and drowsiness if inhaled at low levels and can be extremely toxic at higher levels to both pets and humans. You may think you have managed to get rid of it all when wiping down your dryer, but any leftover residue could transfer onto your clothes and cause issues like the above.

Swap flammable products for this stain removal method instead

Instead of flammable WD-40, banish ink stains with a solution of dish soap and warm water. Using a clean cloth, completely cover the stains with the soapy solution (ensuring you squeeze the cloth to prevent drips). Then, scrub at the ink stains vigorously for approximately 1 minute. Once a minute is up, add a small pinch of baking soda to your cloth and go in once again to scrub the stains. The abrasive texture of baking soda will help to break down what's left of the stains. Repeat this method until you can't see any more ink, and then go in for a final time with a clean damp cloth. 

This method is just as effective — but much safer due to the lack of flammable ingredients. Plus, it can be easily made natural if you don't like using chemicals when cleaning. The above method is ideal for electric dryers. To clean a gas dryer, opt for a non-flammable general household cleaner instead (note that this may not remove ink stains as well). Ensure that when you're cleaning your dryer, it is turned off at the mains, and remember to empty any lint before switching it back on.