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How to Get Soot Out of a Dryer

Sal Marco

A clogged vent pipe, a burnt dryer gasket, or a small article of clothing wedged in the motor can lead to soot in the dryer, as well as soot-covered clothing. Leaving the soot in the dryer will cast dull gray or black stains on clothing coming out of the dryer. Removing the soot is necessary to restore the dryer to a useful state.

Soot inside a dryer will leave stains on clothing.

Step 1

Pull the dryer's plug out of the wall receptacle.

Step 2

Set up a drop light to shine into the dryer's drum.

Step 3

Vacuum up loose soot with a vacuum hose. Attach an upholstery brush to the end of the vacuum hose, if possible. Note that the soot may ruin the brush attachment.

Step 4

Wipe the inside of the dryer with a specialized chemical soot sponge. Begin at the back of the dryer, and make overlapping row-by-row passes over all surfaces inside the dryer. Turn the dryer drum by hand as necessary to gain access to the surfaces. When the sponge becomes dirty, slice off the black, sooty area with a utility knife or razor blade.

Step 5

Fill a bucket with warm water, and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of a grease-fighting dish detergent.

Step 6

Use a rag and the soap solution to wipe all surfaces inside the dryer. When the rag and water become dirty, dump the water and begin again with a clean rag and fresh water. Continue until you no longer see soot inside the dryer.

Step 7

Dry inside the dryer with a clean towel, if necessary.