Son #2 was unloading the laundry from the dryer and called me to the basement to see the black marks inside. "Oh, it's probably just scuffs from shoes or something else that we dried." He shook his head, "No, it's not like that at all. Come see." This is what I found covering the entire inside of the dryer (it looks much worse in real life):
What in the world? It looks like black soot from a fire. But there is no trace, whatsoever, of a burning smell. Unlike soot, this does not come off. Using a Lysol wipe, I concentrated on an area half the size of a dollar bill. It took about 2 minutes to get that area clean. We cannot figure out how this mess occurred! We carefully emptied the drum, looked around on the floor, and checked the pockets of each garment. There was nothing to be found. All I can figure is that a crayon got in with the wash. Possibly, it completely disintegrated/melted in the dryer, hence no evidence.
OH- and here's what it did to the clothes!
I washed a few of our favorite items in this load but fortunately hung them out to air dry. If it had messed up Baby Girl's new Naartjie dress, I think I would have cried. I'm going to try some non-flammable Krud Kutter my dad gave me today.
How weird is that?
Update on the dryer situation:
The Krud Kutter worked wonders! It took me about an hour, with my head stuffed inside the dryer, to finish the job. It doesn't look like new, but 75% of the black gunk came off. A sample load of old towels proved my cleaning job to be sufficient.
Talking to Hubby that night, I said, "You know, it kind of looked like that grease crayon you use at work to write on boxes." His eyes got large and he said, "Oooooohhhhh..." So I took that as a confession. Yep, it was the dad's fault, not any of the four children. Good thing I love him!