The Deep Pleasures of Dryer Lint

posted in: Day In The Life, Tips 47
It’s even got the peel going on at the lower righthand corner! Unbelieveable. Image: Wikipedia.


You know how I use Wikipedia for 99 percent of all the images used on the ol’ PG?

If you missed it, that’s the deal around here. I use Wiki images because they’re fair use on account of being in the public domain. I also use them because they’re often suuuuper weird, and therefore funny. I also like to be consistent.

The drawback of using a free-for-all like Wikipedia Images, however (and I’ve mentioned before), is that slick stock photos these ain’t. I’ll be looking for an image of something normal, like a bowl of cereal or a windmill or what have you, and all Wikipedia offers me are bizarre pictures of like, German bundt cakes or medical diagrams.

So this morning, I thought about how I wanted to write about dryer lint. And I thought about it all day. And then I sit down at this coffee shop to blog about dryer lint, but I pause. Because I think, “Aw, man! There’s not going to be any picture of dryer lint on Wikipedia.”

[I have never before wanted to use an emoticon in my blog so much as I do right now: I would use the face with the straight, horizonal line as the mouth.]

Because I go and look in Wikipedia and there are no fewer than nine pictures of different dryer lint situations. Like the one above. This is the world we live in! At least, it’s the world I live in. It’s very strange here.

Anywhoo, I keep meaning to write about dryer lint because I am compelled by it. Specifically, I am compelled to engage with dryer lint. When I do laundry in my building’s laundry room and it’s time to open the numerous dryers in the wall and put my clothes inside them, I get to take out the lint screen and pull the lint off — and I enjoy this a great deal. Especially if it’s real thick on there.

Wait, wait: I’m being very reserved. You need to know that I love pulling thick lint off a dryer screen. It’s so felty! And it just peeeeeeels off! In one … pad! And the slice o’ fuzz is so squinky, like you could just squink it between your fingers and it would be a ball. But then, when you let go, it would squanch back out. I like to scoop out the lint on all 10 dryer screens up there, even if I only need to use two or three to dry my clothes.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you feel me on this? It’s weird, maybe. But who does it hurt? No one!

If anyone else likes to scrape the lint off the lint screen, I’d like to know. If you don’t, I have one question for you — no, I have two:

  1. Do you realize what you’re missing?
  2. Did you know that, according to the experts, you really should clean your lint screen regularly to prevent … something bad? Does this make you want to try out cleaning your lint screen this very second? Go ahead. We’ll wait.

See?? And all those pictures on Wikipedia … Other people are part of this club. Now you are, too.

47 Responses

  1. Sandra
    | Reply

    I just cleaned mine today, because I’d left a Kleenex in a pocket and there were pieces all over my clothes! The dryer does a good job of getting them off.

  2. Andrea S.
    | Reply

    I love peeling the lint off after washing a quilt for the first time. It so thick and fluffy.

  3. Debra
    | Reply

    Ok, yes, I enjoy cleaning the lint filter, which I do after each and every dryer load. However…my favorite is after the towels…it is so full and is just as you described. How fun that you wrote about dryer lint

  4. Annette Holbrook
    | Reply

    I’m obsessed with cleaning my dryer lint. I had no washing machine or dryer in my new home for the past 4 months and felt deprived to not be able to de-lint the dryers at the laundromat! LOL So, I feel ya!

  5. Lindsey
    | Reply

    Aw, dryer lint. A friend of mine spun it into yarn and used it in a woven scarf. You aren’t the only one with unusual interests. I always clean out the screen and when it is a thick batt I save it to show my husband and we are amazed together. The same happens with the vacuum. We have dogs and cats and they shed a bunch…daily. They are our main contributers to lint.

  6. Jody Randall
    | Reply

    I can relate! I clean my lint screen after every load and like you for some strange reason delight when there is a lot . Which is normally after you wash something for the first time.!

  7. Jeanann
    | Reply

    Yes. I enjoy dryer lint. I also enjoy your words: squinky, squink, squanch. Thank you.

  8. Nann
    | Reply

    I understand. But I prefer it to be the lint from my dryer, not strangers’ lint at a laundromat. (Though I realize that dryer lint comes from clean clothes, no matter whose.)

  9. Suzanne Kaye
    | Reply

    OK, then I am officially weird. I recently learned how to make temari (te-hand and mari-ball). These are balls wrapped in thread that at one time children used to play games and sing songs and were made of recycled materials — yea dryer lint. Now they have evolved a bit and have become quite beautiful and addictive. See these two groups for examples: (click on photos at the left)
    and (click on photos on at the left)

    Did I mention addictive?

    • Tammi
      | Reply

      Wow! I’m learning new stuff before I’ve even finished my coffee this morning! Thanks for opening my eyes to Temari. Just Wiw!

    • Cheryl Keane
      | Reply

      The Temari balls are amazing – real works of art.

    • Betty
      | Reply

      My mom once had a Japanese student give her some Temari balls for Christmas. They are beautiful! Even though my mom is no longer with us, I still have the Temari.

  10. Kathleen Fey
    | Reply

    Totally with you here!

  11. Lori Felber
    | Reply

    Hahaha, I was just telling my husband that cleaning the lint trap was my favorite part of doing laundry.

  12. Lynn
    | Reply

    Can’t say that I really feel you. I kinda know what you mean, My hubby does most of the laundry, and he cleans the lint filter every time. That reminds me. He is so obsessed with doing laundry. Every Christmas morning before we started to open gifts, he would say, “Yall wait. I need to go put a load of laundry in the washer.”

  13. Helen Lewis
    | Reply

    Dryer lint – I used to not mind it. But my car died and the shop could not replicate what had happened. The indicator said the motor was too hot and the car just stopped. After three days, he pulled the radiator. It was filled with dryer lint so the water
    could not flow through (I know zip nada nothing about cars but I did see the radiator and it was full of lint). My dryer vents into the carport and we lived here for 12 years with the car parked in front of that vent. I now back the car into the carport when I do laundry.

    • Sydnie
      | Reply

      Oh my gosh!! Now I need to go figure out where my dryer vents. That’s so crazy – glad he figured it out!

  14. Mariette Demarest
    | Reply

    Hahaja Mary, I thought I was the only person in the world who is fascinated with dryer lint.
    I keep imagining how it could be used in art projects.
    I love ypur Blog !

  15. Brenda King
    | Reply

    Mary, you make me laugh out loud! I thank you for that! Another great story. Keep ’em coming! : )

  16. Jennifer Reinke
    | Reply

    Ah Mary….you crack me up! Yes, I too love to scrape off dryer lint. And heres a neat tip….if you have Boy scouts or Girl scouts or even outdoor campers in your family. Save some empty TP rolls and shove some of the dryer lint into the tubes–not too tight mind you. These make great fire starters. Place the filled TP tubes under the wood to be burned. I always saved up 5-6 for each kid and sealed them in zip bags so they were ready to go when they went on an expedition.

  17. Gina Z
    | Reply

    Cleaning out the dryer lint is a deeply satisfying experience. The squink is real.

  18. JB
    | Reply

    If you like lint, buy cheap bath towels. I did, and now I’m waiting to see how many times they have to be washed before they stop filling the lint trap. Maybe one day I’ll open the dryer and there’ll be nothing left but the last batch of lint. Maybe I didn’t really buy towels, but just bought an extended lint experience. Works. : )

  19. Susan S
    | Reply

    I rememher seeing a story on one of those TV news magazines about a woman who made art projects with toga various colors of lint. She took sorting laundry to a new level. Does all that lint mean our laundry gets thinner with each wash?

  20. Susan
    | Reply

    I too love this but do it before you move damp laundry from washer to dryer else you will have lint stickers on your fingers! Ugh. It’s all in the technique. Oh and what about when there are layers of color when you forget one time after drying jeans then do a load of green towels…

  21. liz hinze
    | Reply

    I leave it for my daughter in law to remove. I wouldn’t want to take any joy out of her life….

  22. Karen Mead
    | Reply

    Yes! I keep thinking some little animal would just love a bundle. Maybe a bird with a decorator dream could choose her colors and redorate when better lint arrives!

  23. Margie Love
    | Reply

    Mary, I cannot drink my morning coffee without your blog in hand. You really make my day. I had no idea that anyone shared my fetish for dryer lint. LOL. I have cats. They add to the fun.

  24. Sydnie
    | Reply

    I’m NOT the only one!! I especially love when I’ve done something that’s all one color (a load of reds, especially), and the lint comes out all colorful. I’m going to start using some of these recycling ideas!

  25. Dorothy Vesperman
    | Reply

    Thanks for the great laughs!!! It’s so soft, I’d like to make a blanket out of it!!!
    On a serious note, our friends house started on fire because they didn’t clean out the dryer lint!! So clean that lint out and have fun
    squinking it!! LOL

    Have a good enough day!!!!

  26. Kathie Hood
    | Reply

    Not only is it critical that you prevent fire by cleaning the lint filter but your super should be taking a tool looong and flat and vacuuming the area outside the filter to get the deviant sliders who slide beyond the filter. Oh by the way the super can also get all the change that didn’t end up in the washer and collecting loose change is rewarding. Every six months in the days when kids were home we could have a Costco hot dog to share and sometimes two!!! oo la la $3.00 worth of loose change… And yes a new washer and dryer in our home to enjoy but the filter is tight still so not as easy to sollect. Have you ever thought of collecting it for art, Mary. A super modern wall quilt. Be sure to not include the previously bleached lint it might still have a little residue and distort color..

  27. Cheryl Keane
    | Reply

    I had to teach my husband that there is a lint filter in both the washing machine and the dryer (he does the laundry) as he didn’t know they existed. When we cleaned out the new washing machine the ball was really big because it had never been done.

  28. Sally Janis
    | Reply

    There is a wonderful artist and puppeteer in Pittsburgh, Cheryl Capezutti, who makes tiny sculptures out of dryer lint, which people from all over the world donate to her. I thought you might find her work interesting. Here’s a link to one newspaper article about her:
    Hope you enjoy…

  29. Kate
    | Reply

    My quilt group still talks about the speaker we had about 5 years ago, who talked about dying dryer lint to use in her quilts. To this day, we are all still boggled by this idea.
    We have wonderful artists in the group. Many experiment with new techniques. However, none of us can figure out why you would want to add dryer lint. Wool roving is readily available, and much nicer to work with.

  30. Ivy
    | Reply

    It’s my obsession! I mean I LOVE it. Plus it prevents forest fires. I mean dryer fires. Which lead to house fires. So it’s all good!

  31. Laura
    | Reply

    Put me on the list of dryer lint lovers. When I bought my house, it came with a washer and dryer, and when I went to use the dryer for the first time I discovered that the previous owners must NEVER have emptied the lint trap – I had a hard time removing it from the machine and it was just chock full of lint. It was kind of horrifying (what if there had been a fire?!?) but also kind of amazing. And clearly, it stuck with me!

  32. Jen
    | Reply

    I still have fond memories of the first time I dried my deep purple terrycloth bathrobe. Oh, the lovely sheet of richly colored fluff! Such delight!

  33. Karen
    | Reply

    I. Hate. Dryer. Lint. The feel of it is so…. insidious. I clean it out, because fire and stuff, but I really hate it. I wrote an essay on it for school once. I wish I had lint lovers in my house.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      WOAH!!!! K., you’re the first voice of dissent in 35 comments!!!! Incredible! We must meet more of your kind!!!! I accept your difference … and I am fascinated! 😮

    • Jen
      | Reply

      One of us lint lovers must live near you… 😀 a win-win situation!

  34. Barbara
    | Reply

    I also clean out my dryer screen after every wash, but I admit if I do forget it’s kind of fun cleaning a double load of lint cause it’s so much easier and it peels off so well. By the way, I wet my finger and it comes off smoothly in a nice peel, you could almost appliqué it if you get an interesting design!!! See, quilting always comes into the picture.

  35. Claudia
    | Reply

    I love dryer lint. In fact, I save it and use it when I make paper. The lint adds color and texture to my paper. I especially love the colored lint. I keep a lint collection box right next to my dryer. I have also had relatives save their dryer lint for me.

  36. […] other corrective fluids*, I would like to remind you that it’s not all Wite-Out and dryer lint around here. I write about serious things, […]

  37. Sarah Goer
    | Reply

    I especially enjoy it after a load of towels. Bonus if it includes my teal towels.

  38. G (age 7)
    | Reply

    That is hilarious!

    • Alex Turner
      | Reply

      Yes , you are right .That is really hilarious.

  39. Laurinda
    | Reply

    I clean mine every time, & I’ve trained hubby & son to do it also, because it can apparently start a fire.
    I love those kinda crappy rag rugs you can get from the big lots stores. I don’t know why, I just do. I have a large one that’s just so soft that my husband uses on his vinyl recliner (I know) & when I wash it, the dryer EXPLODES with lint! It’s so satisfying
    Those are good days

  40. Cardi oliver
    | Reply

    I thought I was the only one! I go to laundromats and clean it, It calms me! I even went to see a therapist, because I feel like I’m crazy! I have 50 gallon garbage bags of itI just don’t know why it’s so satisfying.

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