Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Removing Gum from a Dryer

Two weekends ago, as I was taking clothes out of the dryer, I realized that a couple shirts had some sticky substance on them. Although I knew in my heart what it meant, I didn't want to think about the implications of it....

You see, Dan is an EMT. And as such, he wears these pants that have a million and one pockets. Why does he need so many pockets? I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer.... Anyways, I guess Dan didn't check all of his pockets before he loaded up the washing machine. And of course I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when I was transferring all the clothes over to the dryer. But, heat does wonders to a pack of gum hidden in pockets....

Yep. That happened. In our brand new dryer.

(Sorry for the blurry pics. These were taken on my cell phone pretty late at night.)

I tried my best to keep calm. It was only gum. Not the end of the world. What I was more upset about was the fact that three of my newer shirts were ruined. Into the trash they went. I kept reminding myself that it was only three - it could have been much worse. And, ironically enough, none of Dan's work clothes ended up with the green, spearmint substance all over it. Not even residue in the pockets. How does that happen?

Dan felt horrible. The gum was all over the drum of the dryer. We had no idea how to even start removing it all. It was too late to call our parents for their sage advice. Dan decided to read the manual and see if there were any recommendations. Nothing. Then, he decided to call the 1-800 number on the manual. Surprisingly, someone answered on the other end despite it being pretty late at night. Dan fessed up to his mistake and asked if they knew any possible solutions.

Their recommendation? Rub ice on the gum, then use a non-metal object to scrape it off the drum.

We used an old, expired debit card that we still had lying around to do the scrapping with. Took a lot of elbow grease, but worked like a charm! 

Since it was late, we didn't bother to remove all of the gum right away. Instead, we took the clothes that were in the washer and hung them up in our bathroom to line dry (like we did when dryer went kaputs the first time).

Luckily, we weren't in a rush to do any laundry the next couple of days, so we let the dryer sit the way it was until Dan had a day off of work to scrap off all the gunk. He said he used about 8-10 ice cubes to do the entire drum. And that it didn't take quite as long as he thought it would. He was finished removing the gum before the towels finished in the washing machine.

We decided to run a load of towels through first because I figured it would be easier (and cheaper) to replace old towels than it would be to have to shop for, try on, and replace clothes. Results? No sticky, spearmint gum! We both breathed a sigh of relief!

Hopefully, none of you ever have this problem happen to you. But, if it does, keep calm! Nothing a some ice and a little bit of elbow grease won't solve. As for the clothes that may get ruined, remember: they're just clothes.

Anyone else have to scrap gum off of their machine? Or maybe it was something else left behind in the pockets of your loved ones? I'm think crayons would be a beast to remove from a dryer....

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