by Christine Wied
Cleaning the lint trap on your clothes dryer – it’s one of those simple tasks that sometimes gets neglected that could end up being costly in a number of ways. When the lint trap gets clogged, it reduces airflow and causes your dryer to work harder to get the job done. This costs more in energy use and reduces the life of the dryer. If it is taking longer for your clothes to dry because your dryer isn’t working efficiently, there is more wear and tear on the clothes as they tumble longer maybe wearing out that favorite shirt sooner. More importantly, build up of dryer lint can be a big fire hazard. Lint is highly combustible so it should be removed not only from the lint trap in the machine after each use but also periodically from the dryer vent. There are brushes and other devices available to help clean out the vent.
If you have the plastic or foil accordion-type exhaust hose, consider replacing it with a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. The plastic or foil-types can easily trap lint and are prone to kinks or crushing, reducing airflow. The plastic can also get hot increasing fire danger and the release of toxic fumes.
What to do with all that dryer lint you collect? There are a number of blogs and websites that offer creative reuse suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites:
- If you have lots of natural fibers, add the lint to your compost bin.
- Stuff an old tube sock and use as a draft stopper.
- Use for packing material, especially if sending small non-food items.
- Put the lint in the yard for nesting material for the birds.
- Use it to make lint paper, papier-mache, and clay.
- Line the bottom of houseplant pots with the lint to retain the soil and allow drainage.
- Use as mulch around plants.
- Pour a mixture of lint and melted wax into each cup of a paper egg carton. Break the carton into twelve pieces and use as fire starters in your fireplace. (Be careful with how much wax and lint with this one since you are playing with fire.)
Contact: Christine Wied, firstname.lastname@example.org