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Why Do Tumble Dryers Make Fluff?

Dryer lint, or fluff, is part of the process when it comes to drying to clothes, but why? These wonderful machines have eliminated the need for traditional ways of drying clothes, like a clothesline.

The use of heat and an internal tumbler in the machine has created an effective way to get clothes dryer, faster. But this comes with the generation of pesky lint! It gathers up on a lint trap screen that is part of the dryer's design. While the dryer collects fluff or lint, it doesn't necessarily create it.

To answer the burning question, it is best to examine what lint actually is. Lint is defined as particles of clothing that are generated through consistent wear of clothing. These fibers of clothing cling to edges of clothing until they are processed through a washer and dryer.

So why exactly does a dryer make it?

Well, when clothing is washed, the lint is lifted from the edges of the clothing, however, the water prevents it from being completely removed from the surface of the clothing. When the clothing is transferred to the dryer, this is where the magic happens. The heat from the dryer, along with the tumbling process, exacts these bits of fibers from the surface of clothing. These particles are then collected into the screen of the lint trap.

Even one load of clothing can generate a thick coating of lint on this screen. This becomes a problem if it's forgotten about. The build of lint can create fire hazards as its build-up reduces the airflow to the dryer and causes the dryer to heat up faster and to unsafe temperatures.

After a period of time of this consistent occurrence, the risk of fire is greatly increased. So emptying the trap after every single wash is absolutely critical!

What Can I Use Tumble Dryer Fluff For?

When emptying the lint trap, people often toss the collected lint into the trash. But are there other purposes for the lint that is generated into the trap?

Society today has a huge emphasis on repurposing and upcycling many things. Dryer lint is not excluded from this thought process! There are actually really interesting and purposeful things that you can do with dryer lint

Put a box by the dryer to toss the lint into after each load so that it can be used in the future! Below are some of the creative and interesting ways to repurpose dryer fluff!

Pet Bedding

While some websites have suggested the use of fluff for animals like guinea pigs or hamsters, it can be used for bigger animals as well if you're extra crafty!

First and foremost, this method is only suggested if there is no use of things like scented dryer sheets are used. Any animal can be sensitive to certain scents.

To use lint as a pet bedding option, take it a step further than just putting it into their cages or laying it on the floor. Simple sewing techniques can be used to create pillows or small pet beds for guinea pigs, hamsters, small dogs or even cats! Use the lint as a stuffing for a fleece pillow. This will create an extra warm area for beloved pets!


Composting is a great way to create soil for planting and garden purposes. This process is done through items that can be decomposed and melds into a pile of compost that is then used for gardening. While the use of fluff in composting is not commonly done, it is possible! Fabric such as cotton is known to be well absorbed into compost piles!


A use for fluff or lint that is getting light shed on it is for campfires. It is considered to be an essential part of any camping trip that should be packed! While it is a fire hazard for a dryer, it makes a great fire starter for a camping trip.

It catches fire easily and gets any campfire off the start it needs. This makes it a camping companion that no one should be without. Campfires serve so many purposes like being a source of heat, a source of cooking, and even a source of light. This makes the use of lint or fluff even more critical to the camping experience

Weed Fighter

It has been shown that lint can be used to fight weeds in the garden. Gardens are suspect to all sorts of weeds. While spraying chemicals can be effective, they can also be unpleasant to use. The use of a sheet of dryer fluff can be placed in the garden and lessen the number of weeds that invade precious garden space. Since they're biodegradable, it's a set it and forget it type of situation

Tackling Spills

Paper towels are not always handy and basements are generally lurking with drying lint. Dryer lint does have absorbing properties and provides a quick alternative to paper towels. It can soak up virtually any mess and is easily disposable after the fact. These are just great examples for repurposing dryer lint, but surely there are others floating around out there. Feel free to experiment and come up with other resourceful ways to reuse lint!

How Do I Reduce the Lint in my Dryer?

Repurposing dryer lint is not for everyone. Some people would actually prefer reducing the amount of dryer lint that gets collected in their traps. But how is this achieved?

The first way is through the use of dryer sheets. Lint is collected from clothing and washable items through the generation of static build-up to attract the lint to the trap.

Dryer sheets provide a reduction in the static produced in the dryer during a cycle. However, while this is the simple answer, the problem extends a bit further than just the lint trap.

Lint is also known to stick to black clothing and other items that generally produce lint. As a result, these lint particles cling to other clothing causing quite a mess.

This can be reduced or possibly even eliminated by the implementation of a couple of methods. First, the use of a vacuum hose in the dryer lint trap compartment helps.

After removing the lint screen, take a look into the area where it is housed. Not every piece of lint will attach to the screen and some do get left behind. Making it a habit to vacuum out this space can help any leftover lint from becoming an issue.

The other method requires the separation of laundry. We've always heard "separate lights from darks", but what how can this be taken a step further?

When considering a reduction in the lint that distributes in the dryer, consider the types of things you're washing in the same loads. For example, mixing lint producing items like towels, sweatshirts, fleece or sweaters with non-lint producing items like knits of synthetic fabrics can be a huge mistake.

These items will contrast in the dryer causing a fluff mess that will be difficult to deal with, however not impossible. Save the headache and think a step ahead and don't mix these items together!

Why Is My Dryer Not Collecting Any Lint?

When we toss a load of clothes into the dryer, we just expect the dryer to do its job. However, sometimes this doesn't happen. For example, dryers can stop collecting lint.

But why? If you notice that no lint is being collected on the screen, this is an immediate red flag. One of the most common reasons for lint screens that do not have any collection of lint is because the dryer vent is blocked.

When this happens, the lint builds up other places that it shouldn't be as it cannot reach where it is supposed to go. This poses a significant risk for fire and should be addressed immediately. There is no airflow and in turn, the lint doesn't get directed properly.

If you suspect the vent is the issue, contact a repair professional as soon as possible.

Is Dryer Lint Recyclable?

Recycling is an important process of keeping the environment in tip-top shape. But it can be hard to know what's recyclable and what's not. So when it comes to dryer lint, is it recyclable? The short answer is no. Companies who collect recyclables will not take dryer lint . While it is not considered to be recyclable, it is able to be upcycled and repurposed as discussed earlier for creative ways to put lint to use. This is a great way to approach any item that cannot be recycled.

Commonly Asked Related Questions

How do you unclog a dryer vent?

Sometimes calling professional help is not that affordable. So it may be necessary to try unclogging a dryer vent yourself. To do so, the first step is to gently pull the dryer away from the wall.

Remove the clamp on the vent and unscrew the hose. Then remove any collected lint from the inside of the hose. It is also necessary to unscrew the outside vent and check for any build-up there as well. Use a vacuum to get any unreachable areas and ensure that any obstruction is completely clear. Then replace the hose and outside vents and screw back into place.

Why is dryer lint a blue/gray color?

This is a very good question! The answer is much simpler than one would imagine. As discussed before, the reason for lint is because the fibers on clothes are made through extended wear, etc. While our clothes are vibrant colors and varying textures, when mixed together the result is a murky blue-gray coloring. Think of when paint colors are mixed up, the result is similar.

Taking a closer look at dryer lint is quite interesting! It gives more insight into an everyday device that we just use without too much into how it ticks. With this in mind, it is great to know where lint comes from and how to possibly make the best of it

Mime Petit

A home appliance enthusiast and creative writer.

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