Dear Home-Ec 101,
My husband wears a lot of black shirts. Lately I’ve noticed that his shirts are covered in fuzz and lint. We’ve never really had this problem before. Is the lint coming from my washer or my dryer? Is there anything I can do to reduce the lint? Is there any way I can convince him to use a lint brush before going outside?
Did you know there is more to sorting laundry than just separating lights and darks? There are actually a few other levels of laundry wrangling. If there are only one or two people in a household, it may be difficult to get granular in your laundry separation without wasting water and energy. In that case, just separate as much as make sense.
Whenever it’s possible, try to keep these items separate.
|Lint Producing Items||Lint Collecting Items|
Many Brand New Clothing Articles*
*New items should be washed separately at least twice to shed lint and to ensure they no longer bleed dye.
If you don’t keep your lint producers separate from your lint collectors, this may be the result:
More ways to keep lint in check:
Always, always, always check pockets for stray tissue and paper. Once paper shreds in the washer or dryer, it’s going to take a couple loads to get rid of the damage. If you have a high efficiency machine, check the drain filter and make sure it’s not clogged with the remnants.
Make sure you are using the proper amount of detergent for the size of your load and the hardness of your water. Detergent molecules surround dirt and lint and suspend the particles in the wash water. If there isn’t enough detergent to keep the particles in suspension they will be deposited on your clothing. Have you ever rinsed a clothing item in a white sink and seen the grey stuff that clings to the porcelain and has to be rinsed away? It’s the same concept, only the stuff is landing back on your clothing. With white garments, this is often the source of the “dingy” grey look.
If you have very cold ground water where you live, if the water is less than 60°F, don’t use powdered detergent. Temperature is a big factor in solubility and water that cold may not dissolve all of the detergent. There are work arounds, you could pre-dissolve your detergent in a cup of hot water, but that’s really starting to sound like a lot of effort.
Front loading and high efficiency washer owners, pay attention:
It is imperative to not overload your clothes washer. If the clothing can’t tumble freely, water can’t flow very well and lint will be deposited back onto the fabric during the wash cycle. This is not your washer’s fault, it is what we call operator error. Tech support refers to these situations with the acronym PEBCAK: Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard. There are some other variations on that acronym, but they all come down to it not being the machine’s fault.
As far as getting your husband to use a lint brush? You’re on your own.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.