Two months ago when I moved, I purchased a new Electrolux front-load gas dryer. The first time I used it, I ruined most of the first load of clothes. There was some kind of sticky black residue on the exhaust vent inside the dryer drum. Several plush items had stuck to the vent ripping the soft part of the fabric. I assumed that maybe there had been some sort of sticker over the vent, and that it had melted. Electrolux kindly sent a repair person out who replaced the vent - problem solved. Not.
Shortly thereafter, the black residue returned. I then noticed that a pair of my sons fireproof pajamas had melted. So, I thought perhaps the melted fabric had gotten stuck to the vent. Nothing I tried (Goo Gone, etc.) would remove the residue, but when it got hot it was getting just sticky enough to keep ruining softer clothing items. I went down to Home Depot and purchased a hot air gun (I needed one anyway) and a heavy duty scraping knife. After about 30 minutes of heated labor, I got most of the residue off. When it came away, the dried bits were like hard, black plastic. Problem solved. Oops, not.
Since that time, I've been drying clothes on a cooler temperature, and the clothes seem to be coming out okay. However, the black stuff seems to be slowly coming back. Luckily, using the cooler temperature has meant I'm not ruining clothes anymore. So, today I sat down with Google to see if I could solve my problem. Something else being melted (gum, crayons, candy, starburst, etc.)? Nope. Something in my gas line? Probably not, but not a lot of information available here other than anecdotal information that gas usually burns clean. And, my gas stove and gas furnace don't seem to be having any issues. Hmm, weird.
While I was doing this online sleuthing, I was also doing some laundry. With kids, it seems like I'm always doing laundry. Anyway, I had just finished drying a load of towels and discovered the smoking gun - a half melted dryer sheet. So, for years I have used Kirkland brand (Costco) dryer sheets. I've never had a problem with them. Well, it turns out the new dryer is melting them. Not all of them, or I would have noticed that they're not in the laundry basket when I'm folding clothes. But, some of them are definitely melting. And, when they melt, they've been leaving a hard black plastic residude on the vent inside the drum.