What Is Lint on Clothes: Research Scientist Explains

Lint is a buildup of tiny fibers that scrape loose from clothes. That happens from everyday wear and tear. You might see it after washing your clothes because it tends to clump together due to static cling.

There are specific fabrics that form lint. These are cotton and polyester. Other materials are lycra, spandex are more lint-resistant because of their elastic fibers.

What Is Lint on Clothes? Lint on clothes is the tiny fibers of bright colors that accumulate on your clothes, especially the new clothing. Lint is more visible on black clothing. It forms due to frictions and can be easily removed through various methods. Such as using a dryer sheet and a lint roller, among others.

The tiny pieces gather up together, forming white specks or pills on your clothes. They also create a big grey cloud that accumulates in your dryer’s lint trap.

According to Dr. Samy Yousef, Senior Researcher at KTU, lint is microfibers. These lint microfibers are classified as microplastics.

These microplastics are generated during the machine-washing process of textile. Approximately 300 mg of microfiber is generated from 1 kilogram of fabric.

What Causes Lint on Clothes

Do you know how lint gets on your clothes? You might have seen lint appearing on your clothes and wondered how that happened.

According to a science direct study, lint is tiny fibers released by clothes. They are released during washing or drying in a washing machine.

If there is no proper maintenance of the fabric, the washer or dryer can cause extra fibers. They increase in numbers and accumulate.

When you mix assorted colors, grey color appears as a result. Having grey lint appear after washing my bright-colored clothes is very disturbing.

Lint on clothes appears because of friction, especially after washing them or sleeping in them. It is highly visible in newer clothes.

It appears after tiny fibers get loose from your clothes. They then settle on the surface of the same cloth or other garments.

These loose fibers combine with dirt forming large grey particles. They are unsightly in appearance, especially in new clothes.

The old clothes get lint after washing. The new ones could get during manufacturing if they are not appropriately handled.

What Type of Fabric Collects Lint?

Well, it’s not all fabrics that attract lint. There are specific lint attractors! These are the type of fabrics that lint easily attaches to.

Some of these include.

  • Linen clothes
  • Knitted clothes
  • Artificial fibers like synthetic
  • Plush fabrics

These types of fabrics attract linen more than others. That is because of how they are electrostatically charged. They tend to react to friction more than the others.

How Do You Get Rid of Lint?

You may be wondering how to get rid of lint on your precious clothes. Luckily, everything has a solution! I recommend the Ruidla Fabric Shaver and Defuzzer. Click here to view the details on Amazon.

Here are ways to get rid of lint on clothes!

  1. A Lint Roller

It is also known as a lint remover. It has adhesive paper and a plastic or cardboard barrel placed at the center. It rotates 360 degrees to enable easy removal of lint. I recommend the Scotch-Brite Lint Roller. Click here to view the pricing on Amazon.

It has a handle attached to it which helps you hold the roller firmly when getting rid of lint on clothes.

  • Using A Dryer Sheet to remove Lint

A dryer sheet has antistatic laundry properties. Therefore, it has the power to get rid of lint from clothes even if it is used outside the dryer.

You need to rub the surface off your clothes with a single dryer sheet, and within no time, they will be fuzz-free.

  • Use A Masking Tape to take off lint

The sticky side of masking tape is beneficial when getting rid of lint on clothes. Stick it on the parts of the clothes that have lint, then unstick it gently. All lint and fur will be gone.

  • Utilize The ‘Air Only’ Dryer Setting to get rid of lint

Don’t panic when you put on your favorite outfit only to find out it is covered in lint. Toss it in the dryer with a clean dryer sheet. Put the ‘air only’ setting, and all that lint will go.

  • Turn Your Outfit Inside-Out Before Washing

You can save that one outfit you love that is a lint magnet ahead of washing. Turn it inside out and wash it gently. That will help to bypass sticky lint problems and minimize shedding.

  • Use Distilled White Vinegar

There is every reason to have distilled white vinegar at hand continuously. One of the reasons is getting rid of the lint on your clothes.

Add a cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry at the final rinsing stage. All the annoying fuzz on your clothes will disappear.

  • Use A Gentle Cloth Brush

In fabrics like silk, wool, and cashmere, you can use a brush to get rid of lint. Cloth brushes are made up of a wooden handle and bristles of boar or horsehair. That makes them natural but not vegan.

  • Use An Antistatic Spray

According to Mary Marlowe, a housekeeping and fabric care expert, a static reducing spray neutralizes static charges by increasing hygroscopic substances. These are humidity-attracting substances.

Static is one of the leading causes of lint. The charges facilitate lint to stick on outfits.

  • Use A Pumice Stone

The pumice stone in your bathroom can do a lot more than you can imagine. It is well known for removing dead skin from your body.

It can also get rid of specks of lint when rubbed on a pilling sweater.

  1. Contact Paper

The sticky side of a contact paper helps to get rid of lint. It wipes it off entirely on a large surface area. A pack of self-adhesive drawer liners also performs a similar function.

  1. Use A Scouring Pad

The scouring pads you use to scrub pots and pans in your kitchen can help in a significant way in removing lint on your clothes.

Dampen the green scouring pads to soften them. Scrub the linen off clothes until it looks as neat as you would wish.

  1. Use A Hairdryer

The hairdryer also comes in handy to remove lint on clothes. Dampen a new dryer sheet. Gently rub it on the clothing filled with lint.

Blow it with the cool setting simultaneously on the hairdryer. You will achieve brilliant results in the end.

I was curious to see what others are doing to remove lint from clothes in the online forums. Here is a table that I created that analyzes the data that I found:

How do you remove lint from clothing? Percentage of total results
Duct tape will remove lint quickly from clothes and it stays sticky longer than masking tape. 23%
Simply keeping your clothes turned inside out will ensure that the lint is in the inside of the clothing. This solution is just a band-aid fix I feel. 8%
You can run your dryer on fluff mode without heat and the lint will be removed. Not all dryers have a fluff mode. 31%
You could try to wash and dry clothes that have lint together so that you have a portion of clothing that is always free of lint. 38%

How To Prevent Lint on Clothes

There are a few ways that you can utilize to prevent lint on clothes. They include the following.

  1. Hand Wash Clothes

Hand washing your clothes helps to prevent lint from sticking to your clothes. When you hand wash your clothes, you prevent them from tumbling inside the machine.

That itself will prevent the linen fibers from breaking away. Since the method is time-consuming, it can only be used on clothes sensitive to linen. You can also choose your favorite ones.

  • Be Extra Cautious When Washing Clothes in a Washing Machine

Being cautious means segregating your clothes before putting them in a washing machine. That should be based on the type of fabric and the color.

Wash them in turns to avoid or instead reduce the fuzz. It is good to identify the clothes that give off lint.

Avoid washing the fluffy towels and black pants together. Knitting clothes and T-shirts also produce lint. Cotton socks and underwear produce lint too.

Other types of clothes known to remove lint are woolen clothes. Examples of woolen clothes are blankets and sweaters. There are also napped fabrics like velvet, towels, velour, flannels, and corduroy.

  • Turn Clothes Inside Out When Washing Them

Whether using a washing machine or hand washing your clothes, always remember to turn them inside out, especially pants.

Also, remember to check if the pockets have anything like tissues or paper cash. These destroy your clothes for days.

A gentle cycle when using a washing machine is enough to clean those clothes with high lint attraction.

  • Wash Less Often

That is a piece of solid advice whether you are a clean freak or not. It reduces the wear and tear of your clothes that cause lint.

You can wash your inner garments and those that attach to your skin or sweaty areas. Put those not in direct contact, like the skirt or pants, aside from after your first use.

  • Never Or Sparingly Use the Dryer

Using the dryer sparingly means drying them a little bit then hanging them to dry. The other alternative is a laundry rack or a clothesline. Leave the clothes to dry naturally.

  • Clean The Washing Machine

It is advisable to deep clean the machine once every two months. Use an empty cycle with vinegar and detergent to clean the machine. It removes lint and dirt buildup in your machine.

How To Remove Lint from Black Clothes in the Washing Machine

Below is a step-by-step procedure for removing lint from black clothes in the washing machine.

  1. From your pile of clothes, sort out black or dark clothes from the bright ones and put them in the washing machine.
  2. Put half a cup of baking soda in the washing machine. Set the laundry setting on the wash cycle. Add a cup of white vinegar into the rinse cup.

Start your machine. If the washing machine you are using does not have a rinse cup, put vinegar into the load at the rinse cycle.

Here is a video that explains how to remove lint balls or piling from clothes using various tools that can be found in any household:

Baking soda and vinegar are meant to soften the water, dislodging lint from clothes.

  • Put the clean laundry in the dryer, then empty the lint filter. Please turn it on to start the cycle. Any lint remaining on the black clothes should come off in the dryer.

The best method is to hang the clothes immediately on the clothing lines and wait for them to self-dry.

The other alternative is to dry them a little in the dryer and hand them to dry completely.

Excessive Lint on Clothes After Washing

According to Mary Marlowe, a housekeeping and fabric care expert, excessive lint on clothes after washing may indicate two things. The lint filters are not clean, or the water pump filter is clogged.

Lint Filters

The lint filters in the older washers should be cleaned regularly. The newer washing machines have lint filters that tend themselves.

They are located under the agitator in those machines that are top load. Those that have front-load washers are located behind the tub.

Self-cleaning may sound impressive, but it also means that the lint and hair are likely to be trapped. That’s if there is not enough water to clean the lint entirely out of the machine.

It is, therefore, wise to run a cleaning cycle every month to flush lint, dust, hair, and other particles away.

Water Pump Filter

When the water pump filter is clogged, the wash and rinse water that contains lint suspensions drains too slowly. It leaves deposits on wet clothes in the machine.

Cleaning of the pump filter happens by opening the outer housing of the washer.

If the washer is front load, the lower panel pops off easily. You will have an easy time cleaning accessing the cleanout filter.

If the washer is top loading, it is good to follow the instructions given in the manual to access the water pump. Some of the items that block it are buttons, coins, socks, and lint.

How To Remove Lint from Clothes Without a Roller?

A lint roller is very efficient in getting rid of lint on clothes. It comes in different varieties, including reusable lint rollers, sticky lint rollers, and ChomChom rollers.

However, there are some advantages associated with it.

First, they pull up some fabrics when getting rid of the debris. Second, they tend to leave glue on clothes. Glue is the agent used to pull up lint on clothes.

You could use an alternative if you don’t have a lint roller with you. It includes ingredients that are readily available in your home.

Use a paint roller and duct tape. The duct tape should be of excellent quality, and the process used to make the super-powered lint roller is straightforward.

Put duct tape, masking tape, or painter’s tape on a roller. It doesn’t matter if it is big or small. Then, test it on a cloth that you don’t wear to ensure it doesn’t leave glue while removing lint.

The other alternative is a lint brush. It could be made of a wooden or plastic handle with natural rubber strips attached using a copper wire. It gets rid of lint on clothes easily since it is organic.

Final Thoughts

Always bear in mind that it’s essential to run your washing machine on an empty cycle. That will help to remove lint from every corner of the washing machine.

What if you are lazy and you leave your wet clothing in the dryer overnight, what will happen and can you leave clothes in the dryer overnight without consequence?

If you have gym clothes that you need in the morning that stink, you should learn how to get smells out of clothes without washing them in my opinion.

Wearing tiny t-shirts that shrunk is a disgrace and why do clothes shrink in the dryer in the first place?

All you need to do is add a cup of white vinegar or washing machine cleaner. White vinegar added at the rinsing stage of your laundry helps get rid of lint on clothes.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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