If you use a clothes dryer, you have dryer lint. The most important thing you can do with dryer lint is to remove it from your dryer after every load. This will help prevent a devastating home fire and make your dryer more efficient.
But did you know that you don't have to throw all that lint away? If you want to recycle lint, place a container in your laundry room for saving the lint. A milk jug with the top cut off or a plastic grocery bag hung on a hook will work nicely. Add the lint you find each time you clean the dryer's lint trap. It will add up surprisingly quickly.
You may not become as accomplished as Heidi Hooper, the professed "Andy Warhol of Dryer Lint", but here are six creative ways to reuse and recycle something that is usually just thrown away.
01 of 06
Create Some Fire Starters
One of the reasons we clean out highly flammable dryer lint is to prevent fires. So, why not use it to start a fire when and where you want one?
One method for creating fire starters is to pack the lint into a small section of toilet paper or paper towel tubing. The lint will light quickly and get your kindling off to a good start. These starters are very lightweight to take along on a camping trip. Just place them in a resealable plastic bag to keep them dry.
Another method for making fire starters is to pack lint into the cups of paper egg cartons (never use styrofoam cartons). Pour melted candle wax over the lint. Cut the egg carton apart into 12 separate fire starters. Simply light the edge of the paper egg cup and place next to your kindling to get a good blaze started.
02 of 06
Make Pet Bedding
If you have guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils or rats, lint makes some great bedding. It is clean, soft, and easy to replenish after it becomes soiled. (Plus, it's cheaper than other bedding.)
If you plan to use dryer lint for pet bedding, skip the use of scented laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. Some pets are sensitive to the chemicals and can even develop skin irritations.
03 of 06
Stuff Small Crafts
If you just need a bit of filling for a craft project, ornament or toy, use lint. Again, it is clean and free!
Dryer lint is not a good choice for any project that will later be washed. The lint will compact and the stuffed item will lose its shape.
04 of 06
Prevent Soil Erosion and Weed Growth
A thick layer of lint is not a great mulch for plants that you want to thrive, but it can prevent weed growth and erosion in areas that need extra help.
Lint from natural fibers like cotton, linen, and flax can be added directly to your compost pile. Evenly drop handfuls evenly over the top of the compost pile, moisten with water, and mix it in with a rake or shovel.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
06 of 06
Use Dryer Lint to Make Paper or Papier Mache
Dryer lint can be used to make paper or papier mache projects. These art projects are perfect for organized groups because they are inexpensive and everyone has lint to contribute. If you need lots of lint at once, just visit a local laundromat.
Dryer Lint Paper Making Supply List
- Warm water
- Dryer lint
- Scraps of old paper torn into small pieces to add body to the mixture
- Food coloring
- Plain wooden picture frame
- Window screen material large enough to staple around the frame
- Staple gun or waterproof glue
- Two large plastic dish pans or baby bathtubs
- Clean soft rags
Make your paper drying frame by stapling window screen material around an old picture frame. You may want to make several frames so that you can make more than one sheet of paper at a time.
Place water, lint, and torn paper into a shallow pan a bit larger than the picture frame. Allow it to soak about 30 minutes or until saturated and soft. This makes a paper pulp mixture called "slurry". Scoop out one cup of slurry, put it into a blender, and add more water to fill the blender. Blend for a few seconds until it's smooth and mushy. Pour paper mush into a large tub. Repeat several times until there are about five inches of mushy water in the tub.
Be sure to remove any clumps that you see so your paper will be smooth. Remember, your paper will be the color you see in the slurry. If you want to add food coloring, now is the time.
Immerse a frame into the slurry, with the screen on the bottom. While it’s covered with the pulp, keep the frame as level as possible. Slowly move the frame back and forth until there is an even layer of pulp covering the top of the screen. Slowly pick up the frame out of the water. Smooth out any areas that are still chunky or lumped together. Allow the screen to drip over the basin and then move it to a safe place to begin drying. Repeat the procedure with additional frames.
Once the paper begins to feel dry, use a soft, thin rag to press down and release any water still in the pulp. Spread out the rag and leave it over the pulp in the frame. Once the rag is dry, very gently, remove it from the frame. The paper should stay attached to the rag instead of the screen. Once the screen and the paper are separate, without removing the fabric, lay the paper on a flat surface to allow it to finish drying.
Do not remove the cloth until the paper is fully dry. Once it has reached full dryness, gently peel it away from the fabric. The paper is complete and ready for use.