How To Remove Lint From Your Washing Machine

Lint gathering in your washing machine will definitely impact your clothes. If there’s lint in your washing machine or dryer, it will inevitably be on your clothes. But, there are a number of things you can do to prevent this from happening and in this guide we’re going to help you do just that.

In this guide, you’ll learn the following:

  • What lint is
  • What causes the build-up of lint in your washing machine or dryer
  • How to prevent the build-up of lint
  • How to remove lint from your machine
  • And much more…

What is Lint?

Lint is simply the build-up or accumulation of fabric fibres on your clothes. A number of different materials, such as cotton, linen and wool contain tightly packed fibres, which over time and during the course of normal use separate and form small bobbles of fabric, also known as lint, on the surface of your garment.

What causes Lint?

More often than not, lint gatherers around the creased areas of garments or on the heavily used areas such as sleeves and cuffs. In addition, lint occurs during the course of washing and drying. The more a garment is worn, washed and dried, the more susceptible it is to the formation of lint.

Harder and sturdier fabrics, such as cotton and wool are ordinarily more likely to suffer from the formation of lint bobbles than softer more delicate fabrics such as silk and synthetic fibres.

Why does lint get stuck in my washing machine?

During the normal course of washing clothes, lint collects in washing machines. Virtually all washing machines have a filter in which the lint will gather, but lint often gathers in the seal surrounding the washing machine door, particularly if the filter isn’t cleaned regularly.

Lint gathering in a washing machine is inevitable, but there are ways in which you can reduce its impact on both the machine itself and your clothes.

How to prevent the build-up of lint

There are a few simple ways to make sure lint doesn’t build-up in your washing machine:

  • Wash similar fabric types together. We all know to wash similar colours together, but remembering to wash similar fabric types together will help prevent the build-up of lint in your washing machine and on your clothes.
  • Don’t overload your wash. Keep each wash load to a reasonable level, so that each garment has sufficient room.
  • Use a fabric softener. Adding a fabric softener to your wash will help relax garment fibres so either lint isn’t created or it washes away as you would expect. For a natural option, some suggest adding a small amount of white wine vinegar to a wash load to help prevent the build-up of lint.
  • Use a fabric or lint catcher. A fabric attractor is added to a wash load and attracts lint and other 3 party materials. Normally associated with collecting pet hairs, but it can work well for gathering lint during washing loads. We have a guide to the best lint catchers available.
  • Use a fabric shaver on your clothes. By spending a little bit of time removing lint and pilling from your clothes before they go into the wash you can prevent the build-up of lint in your washing machine. Take a look at the best lint removers on the market today.

How to remove lint from your washing machine

Your washing machine and dryer will inevitably suffer from a build-up of lint. Here are a few ideas on how to remove the lint from your machine. Please remember that all machines are different so not all the options below will work for you.

Clean the filter 

Make sure the filter is cleaned and cleared of lint on a regular basis. 

The steps you should take for most machines are:

  1. Turn off the power to your machine. I know this sounds obvious, but lots of people forget!
  2. Locate the filter. This is sometimes the most difficult part of this entire process, but the easiest way is to consult the User Manual provided with the machine. Typically, they are located in one of four places, but it’s worth noting that some more modern machines have a built-in self-cleaning filter:
  • In the centre agitator
  • The top lip of the washing drum
  • Behind a small door or flap on the front of the machine
  • Near the water or pump or at the end of the hose
  1. Remove the filter. There might be some residual water lying in the filter or in pipes so it’s best to place an old towel on the floor prior to removing the filter. Unscrew or remove the filter from the housing.
  2. Wipe the filter and housing. Using a damp cloth wipe the housing and surface of the filter to remove any obvious lint or other debris. At this point remember to check the filter and housing to make sure there aren’t any surface cracks.
  3. Soak the filter. Soak the filter in a bucket of soapy hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.  
  4. Scrub the filter. Remove any lint build-up with a soft-bristled brush such as an old toothbrush or dishwashing brush. Remember to take care to not be too vigorous and damage the filter elements.
  5. Replace the filter. Once soaked and scrubbed replace the filter back into the machine
  6. Run a short wash cycle. Rune the washing machine’s shortest wash cycle and take care to look out for any leaks. If there are leaks, there’s a chance the filter hasn’t been fitted properly.

Check door seal

Regularly check the seal area around your washing machine door and remove any lint - or anything else that gathers there for that matter! It can get a bit gunky if not regularly cleaned.

There are a number of options for cleaning the seal, some use cotton pads and white vinegar, or cloth and bleach. Whatever materials you choose remember to take care to not damage or break the seal as they are difficult and expensive to replace.

After cleaning, run a short wash cycle to remove any traces of the vinegar or bleach.

And Finally…

Whilst cleaning lint from your washing machine might not be your idea of fun, it will certainly help prevent lint from forming on your clothes and elongate the life of your washing machine.

We have a number of other useful lint removal related guides and reviews if you’re interested in finding out more:

How to make your laundry eco-friendly

What causes bobbles on clothes

What is lint and how to prevent it

Best Lint Removers

What is a Fabric Shaver

A review of the Philips GCO26 Fabric Shaver

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