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Lint on clothes and what to do about it

Excessive lint on clothes after washing? Find out how to get rid of lint on clothes, and how to prevent it from showing up again after the next wash.

Updated

Woman brushing off lint on clothes using a lint roller

Key Steps

To remove lint from clothes:

  • Lift it away with something mildly adhesive, such as a lint roller or sticky tape.

  • Alternatively, rub it gently away with a rough surface, such as pumice or a scouring sponge.

  • Make sure your washing machine and dryer have clean filters.

  • Remove fluff from the bottom of your pockets before you wash your clothes.

A lot of natural materials are formed by twisting short fibres into longer strands, then weaving or knitting those strands together. It’s a clever technique, but some of the short fibres can work themselves free during washing, and that’s how you end up with lint on clothes. So, here’s how to get rid of lint.

If the home remedies aren’t working for you, there are specialised lint brushes you can buy to remove lint from clothes.

How to prevent lint on clothes after the washing machine

If you’re finding lint on your clothes every time you wash them, the issue might be with your machine or your washing technique. Here are some ways to deal with excessive lint on clothes after washing:

  1. Clean the washing machine filter.

    If the filter’s clogged, lint can’t escape the drum, which means it’ll end up all over your clothes. You’ll want to check the tumble dryer’s filter as well.

  2. Consider getting a commercial washing machine cleaner.

    A commercial product could deal with your lint-in-washing-machine problems. For a home alternative, run an empty hot wash with 400ml of white vinegar in the drum. For more tips, we have a full guide to how to clean a washing machine.

  3. Check the pockets.

    Before you wash your clothes, check the pockets and clear out any fluff.

  4. Sort the laundry by fabric type.

    If you’ve noticed some items that are particularly prone to shedding lint, try washing them apart from your other clothes on a gentle cycle.

  5. Turn your clothes inside out before washing.

    It is true that this won’t prevent lint from sticking to them, but it does at least mean that most of the lint will be on the inside, where it can’t be seen.

  6. Want to know how to get lint off black clothes in the washer?

    Light lint can make black clothes look faded, but you can make a big difference just by making sure you wash your dark clothes together, rather than throwing them in with your lights. Lint might still end up on your black clothes, but it’ll be dark lint, so it won’t show up as badly.

How to remove lint from clothes

Prevention’s all well and good, but it doesn’t help if the lint is already there. Fortunately, we also have tips on how to remove lint on clothes after washing:

  1. Lint rollers are called lint rollers for a reason.

    Roll one over your clothes to lift away lint.

  2. If you don’t have a lint roller, you can create a makeshift one.

    Wrap adhesive tape around a rolling pin, sticky side out. You can even skip straight to lifting lint away with strips of sticky tape by hand.

  3. Get a fresh, dry scouring sponge.

    Rub the rough side gently over the lint-covered material. It’ll catch and remove the lint. You can also do this with a pumice stone.

  4. Have your clothes come out of the washing machine covered in lint?

    There’s a simple method for how to remove lint from clothes in the washer. Once you’ve checked that the filters aren’t clogged, run the clothes through the wash again with your usual dose of fabric conditioner, such as Comfort Intense Fresh Sky. You don’t need detergent for this.

  5. Use dryer sheets both in and out of the dryer.

    Dryer sheets can be used as a method for how to remove lint from clothes in dryer, but they work outside the dryer as well if your clothes can’t be tumble-dried. Rub the sheet gently against your clothes to remove unwelcome lint.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

Lint on clothes after washing is never a welcome sight, but there are plenty ways to deal with it. With these tips on how to remove lint from clothes, you’ll be able to go about your day fuzz-free. If you’re facing the similar problem of pilling, take a look at our guide to how to treat bobbles on clothes.

Originally published