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What is lint made of? How to remove lint from clothes

Tired of clothes looking fluffy? Read on to find out on how to remove lint from clothes and prevent it forming again.

Updated

Lint on clothes: Yellow fluffy jumper on a blue background

Key steps:

Knowing how to remove lint from clothes and reduce future build up is fairly straightforward, as long as you follow a few key steps:

  1. Wash lint-attracting and lint-producing items separately

  2. Clear pockets before washing

  3. Use the recommended amount of detergent

  4. Use tape or a lint roller to remove lint from clothes

  5. Keep your machine’s filter clean to reduce lint on clothes

There are plenty of household oddities that will always be a mystery (where socks disappear to, how come you never finish a pencil?) but lint – those little flecks of fluff that find their way onto clothes when we least want them – doesn’t have to be one of them.

Once you know what it is and how to remove lint, things become a whole lot easier. This article will not only answer the question of “what is lint?” but it’ll also show you how to get rid of it and prevent it in future. That includes learning how to remove lint from clothes when you’re pushed for time and a few preventative steps you can take when doing the laundry.

Always check your clothes' care label before washing so that

What is lint on clothes?

To understand how to remove lint from clothes (and keep it off), it helps to know how it forms in the first place.

  1. 1. What is lint made of?

    Lint is made up of the small fibres that break off your clothes during washing, drying, or just as part of general wear and tear.

  2. 3. What kinds of clothes produce the most lint?

    Wool and cotton are some of the most common fibres you’ll find in your lint, but all kinds of fibres can form into lint.

  3. 2. How does lint end up covering your clothes?

    Because lint is made up of little fibre clusters, it can cling onto clothing and other fabrics easily — either the same garments it came from, or other ones that it comes into contact with in the wash or the wardrobe. This leaves your previously smooth, chic clothes with that unwanted, "fluffy" look.

How to remove lint from clothes

Learning how to get rid of lint is pretty simple, really: you just need to pull it off. However, it's important to be gentle so as not to damage your clothes. It also helps to have a few tricks under your belt for speeding up the process: no one wants to spend hours pulling lint off your clothes, one little bobble at a time. Here's how to remove lint from clothes without ruining your clothes, or your sanity:

  1. Use a lint roller

    You can get low-priced lint rollers from most large home supply shops. They have a sticky surface which you can roll over your lint-covered fabrics to pick up the stray fibres. This also works well for other unwanted materials that can stick to clothes, like pet hairs.

  2. Make your own lint roller

    If you don't have a shop-bought lint roller to hand and don't have time to get one, it's very easy to make your own. Grab something cylindrical (a rolling pin works well) and carefully wrap it in tape so that the sticky side is facing outwards. Next, gently roll it up and down your clothing and the lint will lift away.

  3. Use your hand as a lint roller

    If you’re more pushed for time, then you can also use your hand. Wrap it in tape (sticky tape, parcel tape, masking tape… whatever you have), also with the stick side facing outwards, and pat down your outfit to remove lint from clothes.

Top tips for avoiding lint on clothes

Now you've got the lint off your clothes, you're probably not in a hurry to do it again. Knowing how to remove lint from clothes is one thing, but how do you prevent it? You probably won't be able to stop it from forming altogether, but there are a few laundry tips that can make a real difference.

  1. Clean your washing machine filter regularly

    The filter of your washing machine collects lint during the cycle, and if it’s not cleaned regularly then you'll always get lint on clothes after a washing cycle.

  2. Separate your washing by material

    Separating your laundry is a good habit for all kinds of reasons, from avoiding colour run to maintaining delicates, and preventing lint on clothes is no exception. Before starting a washing cycle, separate lint-producing items like towels from lint-attracting materials like synthetic fabrics to minimise the impact.

  3. Turn out pockets to remove fluff before washing

    This will stops all that denim pocket chaff from attaching itself to your slinky dresses.

  4. Wash fluffier clothes inside out

    When you're washing clothes that shed fibres from the outside easily, like fluffy jumpers, turn them inside out before washing to reduce the amount of lint that comes off them.

  5. Wash clothes with a softening fabric conditioner

    Using a fabric conditioner in the wash has the double benefit of reducing the friction experienced by clothes in the wash — thereby reducing the amount of lint they shed — and leaving their surfaces smoother and less likely to cling onto lint afterwards. Try one from the Comfort range for a gorgeous scent as well as great results.

  6. Take care not to overload your machine

    If your washing machine is stuffed too full of clothes before a cycle, your clothes will shed and take on more lint.

  7. Use the right amount of detergent

    A good detergent like Persil will hold and clear lint away from your clothes rather than passing them onto the others, but it might not be able to function properly if there is too little of it in the machine. On the other hand, too much detergent can create a fluffy effect on the surface of the clothes. Check the instructions on the label to get the quantity just right.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

With these tips, and a little help from a lint roller, you'll know how to get rid of lint in no time. Here's to clean and crisp clothes from now on!

Originally published