8 Creative Uses for Dryer Lint

hand peels away layer of gray dryer lint from dryer filter

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Instead of discarding the lint from your dryer trap each week, put it to good use. That unassuming wad of dryer lint is actually a multifunctional material that can be incorporated into several different crafts or practical applications in your kitchen, garden, campfire, or living room.

Here are eight ideas to get you started upcycling your dryer lint.

Quick Tip

Keep a small bin or clean milk jug near your dryer to gradually collect your lint. Once you accumulate enough fuzzy wads, you can use them in a variety of creative and practical ways.

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Leak-Proof Garden Containers and Prevent Weeds From Sprouting

dryer lint being placed in terracotta pot with dirt before planting plant

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Use leftover lint to line the bottom of your plant containers; the layer will prevent soil from spilling out and soak up any extra moisture. Out in the garden, instead of laying down sheets of plastic or other synthetic material to prevent weeds from sprouting, use layers of lint to cover the base before filling with soil and plants. As a biodegradable material, lint is more eco-friendly and will retain moisture to a certain level, which will help your plants grow better. Lint can be used a bit like mulch in this way to prevent weeds.

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Make Fire-Starting Logs

used toilet paper rolls are stuffed with dryer lint as a fire starter with lighter

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Starting a campfire will happen in a flash with lint as your kindling. As a highly flammable substance, lint makes the perfect fire starter to ignite wood logs. Stuff the lint inside empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls to make effective fire-starting logs. Stoke the fire using dry wood found on your property. Do not cut down fresh wood for the purpose of a fire; it does not burn well and you do not want to negatively impact your local environment by decreasing vegetation.

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Stuffing for Pillows and Crafts

hand stuffs old dryer lint into hole of stuffed animal plush sheep

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

You don’t have to waste your money on pillow stuffing at the craft store to fill homemade pillows, stuffed animals, or other crafts. Ditch the polyester filling and replace it with your lint. Recruit your family and friends to save their lint for you if you are tackling large cushions or quilts. A bonus of using lint for stuffing is its cleanliness since those fibers went through the washer and dryer already.

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Padding for Packing and Shipping

a long roll of used dryer lint is used to line a box for safe packaging

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

When packing fragile items in boxes to move, or even ship, turn to lint as a cushioning material. A more sustainable option compared to plastic bubble wrap, with enough lint your most fragile items should be well protected. This use also applies for storing items away, including holiday decorations. Repurposing lint as a replacement for bubble wrap cuts down on plastic waste that contributes to landfills and microplastic pollution.

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Add to Compost

used gray dryer lint is stuffed in kitchen compost bin next to sink

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Organic fibers like cotton and wool break down easily in a compost system and can be added to your pile as part of your "browns" (carbon-rich material). If you plan to compost your lint, be sure to avoid drying synthetic fabrics, which will not biodegrade and are a source of microplastics.

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Insulate Your Home

hand tucks used dryer lint into window sills to prevent drafts

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Make your home more energy efficient by insulating window and door frames. Old socks or even tights filled with lint can work perfectly for plugging drafts. Filling cracks in homes can help with allergies as well. A more energy-efficient house will cut down on utility bills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease the strain on your heating or cooling systems, making them last longer.

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Make Homemade Clay

little kid plays with homemade gray dryer lint clay on wooden table

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Kids will love making clay out of lint. Many recipes are available online but they are all relatively similar.

Materials

  • 3 cups dryer lint
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. To create the moldable clay, simmer the lint and water in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and continue mixing until it forms a smooth paper mache-like material that holds together.
  3. Let the lint clay cool completely before molding.
  4. Your creation will take a few days to fully dry.
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Paper Towel Replacement

hand soaks up red juice spill from glass with old dryer lint

Treehugger / Stephanie Todaro Photography

Lint is a highly absorbent material. Once you fill up your bin of lint, move it over to the kitchen and use it as a replacement for paper towels when cleaning messes. In addition to saving you money, repurposing lint will decrease how much trash you produce. Next time you make a sagging mess, consider reaching for the lint trap—it probably needs emptying anyway!

Prevent Fires Caused by Lint in Your Dryer

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 15,970 fires are caused by dryers or washing machines annually in the United States, resulting in about 13 deaths, 440 injuries, and $238 million in property damage, which is why cleaning your lint trap regularly is so critical. The organization also recommends that you clean the lint from your dryer vent and exhaust duct at least once a year to prevent fires.

View Article Sources
  1. "Local Energy Efficiency Benefits and Opportunities." Environmental Protection Agency.