Why Washing Machine Leaves Lint On Clothes?

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Lint is a regular part of using washing machines and dryers. Still, lint can be frustrating when too much of it is on fresh clothes coming out of the washer.

Lint is the fibres that come from your clothes. It usually washes away unless the washer’s water, detergent, or temperature levels are incorrect. The same will happen if you’ve overloaded your washing machine or the self-washing lint filter is dirty. Lastly, lint can build up inside the washer and come out during later wash cycles.

Lint is frustrating, but dealing with it is pretty straightforward. This guide will show you how to minimise lint in your washing machine so that the appliance leaves none on your clothes anymore.

What Is Lint Made Of?

Lint consists of the fibres that come from your clothes. They come off your clothing items as they tumble inside appliances like washing machines and dryers.

Some clothing items release more lint than others. For example, you’ll get a lot of lint coming from clothes made of:

  • Linen
  • Cotton
  • Wool
  • And others.

Lint might seem like a harmless inconvenience at first glance. But unfortunately, too much lint can cause serious problems.

For example, lint build-ups can cause clogs in washing machines that prevent water from flowing in or out smoothly. Besides that, thousands of homes each year experience lint fires caused by buildups in hot dryers that ignite into flames.

Because of that, washing machines and dryers alike have filters that remove lint and prevent it from sticking to your freshly cleaned clothes.

Read: Why Washing Machine Makes Loud Noise When Draining?

Why Are My Clothes Coming Out Of The Washer With Lint?

Seeing a little bit of lint on your fresh laundry is normal. However, too much of it is a sign that there’s a problem with your washing machine.

Some of those problems might be related to the washing machine’s components, while others are easily solvable user errors

Here’s how you can troubleshoot the problem of lint in your washing machine:

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Incorrect Water, Detergent, And Temperature Levels

About this part: A successful load of laundry generally relies on three things: water, detergent, and temperature levels.

Water is one of the essential parts here. Firstly, there must be enough water to hold the lint in suspension (i.e., keep it floating) so that the water can flush all of it out of the machine. 

Besides that, there must be a correct level of water and detergent to ensure that the detergent is diluted correctly.

Lastly, the correct temperature ensures that the water and detergent can work well with the different kinds of fabrics inside the washer.

What’s happening: When your laundry comes out with too much lint, it’s likely because one of the levels mentioned above is incorrect.

For example, too little water means that the washer can’t flush lint out, so it stays on your clothes.

Besides that, too much undiluted detergent keeps lint trapped inside the washer and on your laundry.

Lastly, when the water is too cold, it prevents the detergent from working correctly to wash away the lint.

How to fix it: The things mentioned above all relate to user error. So, the good news is that there’s nothing to fix in your washing machine.

Instead, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by ensuring that you’re using the correct water level for your laundry loads. You can refer to the washer’s user manual to find out more.
  2. Next, check the detergent bottle to see the manufacturer’s recommendations. That will tell you how much detergent you should use relative to the size of your laundry loads.
  3. Lastly, adjust the temperature to match the type of fabrics that you’re washing. Your clothes have a laundry care label with symbols showing the water temperature you should use.

Read: Why Is Washing Machine Spin Cycle Is Very Loud?

Overloaded Washing Machine

About this part: Washing machines also have a minimum and maximum laundry load size for efficient washing. A safe rule of thumb to rely on is that your washer can handle a load of up to 2/3 of the drum’s capacity.

When you size your laundry loads correctly, the washer has enough space to tumble each item around and wash it thoroughly.

What’s happening: When you overload a washing machine, there isn’t enough free space for water to wash away lint and dirt from your clothes.

As a result, all the lint floating around simply gets stuck on your clothes by the time you take it out of the washing machine.

How to fix it: The solution to this problem is straightforward: always ensure that your laundry loads are the correct size. You can do that by splitting large laundry loads into smaller ones instead.

Check your washer’s user manual to know the ideal load size for your machine.

Read: Why Does My New Washing Machine Have Water In It?

Clogged Water Pump Filter

About this part: Many washing machines these days do not have a dedicated lint filter like those you’d find in a dryer. Instead, those washers rely on a self-cleaning water pump filter.

This filter will remove lint from the water in your washing machine. Then, when your washer starts to drain, that water will also wash that filter clean.

As a result, you never have to clean the filter yourself.

What’s happening: Unfortunately, even self-cleaning filters can fail sometimes. When that happens, the filter will become saturated with lint and fail to remove any more of it from your laundry load.

That will cause more lint to continue floating around in suspension and land on your clean laundry.

How to fix it: When this filter fails to clean itself, you’ll have to remove it. Your first step is to try and clean the filter thoroughly as best as you can.

However, if the filter is damaged or doesn’t work as it should, a replacement would be ideal.

Read: How To Stop A Washing Machine From Moving When Spinning

Lint Build Ups Elsewhere

About this part: Water moves through many parts of your washing machine. First, it passes through the dispenser drawer before making its way into the drum. Water also moves between the inner and outer tub throughout the wash cycle.

What’s happening: Over an extended period, water can deposit dirt, debris, and excess detergent at random parts of your washer.

Unfortunately, those buildups can also trap lint inside the washer. As a result, that lint can come out during the following wash cycles and land on your clean laundry.

How to fix it: Those buildups are expected and are more likely to happen the older your washing machine gets. That’s why it’s essential to clean your washing machine regularly. 

Most washing machines come with self-cleaning cycles that use hot water to wash away any buildups inside. Even if your washer model doesn’t, you can do it manually by:

  • Running the washer on empty
  • At the highest water temperature available
  • For the longest time duration possible

Doing so will dilute and wash away any buildup of lint, detergent, or anything else in your washing machine. You should perform this task at least once a month for the best results.

Read: Why Washing Machine Overflows When Filling?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some additional questions and answers that you’ll find helpful.

Is There A Lint Filter In A Washing Machine?

Some washing machines have lint traps or filters. Typically, these are self-cleaning lint filters that you never have to clean yourself. Instead, water from your washer will clean the filter as it drains out after each wash cycle.

Do I Need A Washing Machine Lint Trap?

No, if your washing machine doesn’t come standard with a lint trap as part of its design, you don’t need to buy one. When you use your washing machine correctly and ensure all parts are in excellent working order, the appliance will wash away all lint without any problems.

How Do I Get Rid Of Lint In My Washing Machine?

You can get rid of lint by ensuring that each load you wash uses the correct water, detergent, and temperature levels. Besides that, you should also run the self-cleaning cycle once a month to flush away any lint stuck inside the machine.

Where Is The Lint Trap On A Washing Machine?

The exact location of a washing machine lint trap depends on its design, assuming it has one to begin with. For example, the trap might be inside the agitator of a top-loading washer or the rim of a front-loading washer. Others might rely on a self-cleaning filter at the water pump.

Check your washer’s user manual to locate and identify the lint trap on your machine.

Does Lint Build Up In Washing Machines?

Yes, lint builds up inside your washing machine. That’s especially true if there is already a buildup of excess detergent or dirt in the machine, as those buildups will continue to trap more lint as time goes on.

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