Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dryer Lint

Could you use the lint from your dryer for batting for a quilt? I began to wonder when I was doing our daughter's laundry. A thick rectangle of it had to be removed each time I put a new load into our dryer. Then after a couple times of doing her clothes, the amount of lint shrunk to just a little in one corner of the screen. The same amount I get doing our laundry.

What was up? My inquisitive mind couldn't stand the discrepancy. Besides, lint equals loss of fibers off the clothes. The loss means the clothes are wearing out at an accelerated rate and that goes against my waste not want not mentality. 

 With the huge amounts I was getting off of our daughter's family's clothes, the first two times I did them, I can see why there are Internet sites devoted to the subject of what you can create with dryer lint. Litnt off of cotton clothes seems to be popular to stuff inside toilet paper rolls and used as fire starters. I've not found starting a fire much of a problem, probably since we use a free standing stove to heat our home and I'm well practiced. Though if you were camping and it had been raining, it might come in handy.

In my search for an answer to why the creation of excessive lint, I learned a great deal about doing laundry. Of course I'll share what I learned.

One reasons was the mixing of different types of clothing in the dryer. Cotton knits, flannel items, and many synthetic materials I guess should be washed separate from other types of materials. By keeping materials separate, you can also dry clothes more efficiently. Makes me mightly glad we have cotton and cotton and cotton with just a few thing of my husband that are synthetic.

Since most of our daughter's clothes are also cotton, that wasn't the problem. 

I did find this site quite helpful.
The site had this to say.

Use less soap
In the past, I was guilty of over soaping my clothes. I was one of those people that always added more soap than the manufacturer recommended. I guess my mantra was if a little is good, more is better, but when it comes to laundry soap, that isn't the case. Using too much soap makes your machine work much harder and wears clothes out faster. There is a simple way to tell if you are using too much laundry detergent: Check the lint trap on your dryer. If you are collecting a lot of lint with each load, chances are you are using way too much soap. Cut back to half the recommended amount of detergent and you will see a drastic reduction in the amount of lint your in your dryer.

Brighten colors with salt
Over time, hard water can cause clothes to become dull and dingy. To solve this problem, add a pinch or two of ordinary table salt to the washer with your normal detergent. Let some water run in the washer to dissolve detergent and salt, and then add your clothes. Colored clothes will come out much brighter than they were.

Use distilled white vinegar just the way you would fabric softener, and you will be surprised by the results. This less-expensive alternative to commercial fabric softeners will cut down on static and increase the softness of your favorite clothes. Add a cup of vinegar to the water when you wash dark clothes and it will cut down on fading.

Using liquid detergents in any front-loading washer is not recommended because they tend to produce too much foam. But, if you prefer to use a liquid detergent, DO NOT use more than 1 tbsp.
Because liquid detergents have a higher percentage of surfactants, or sudsing agents, they can have a greater impact on the environment

The amount of detergent you use will depend on water hardness (the harder the water, the more detergent needed), the amount of soil (more soil requires more detergent), and the wash temperature (cooler water requires more detergent).

Liquid detergent is especially effective on food and greasy or oily soils. Because it is fluid, it can double as a stain pretreater.

Choose liquid detergent if you do lots of spot-treating and have a family that specializes in food spills.
The answer is apparently too much soap. When I was sewing my knitting bags and sitting for hours in the laundry room, I noticed that my towels had a little soap whirling around in my front load washer during the final rinse. That was when I cut wa...y back on the amount of soap I use. Many sites recommended just a tablespoon or two. I thought I was doing pretty good with a quarter cup of soap but now I use about two tablespoons. Sometimes a bit more on really dirty loads and that is just what the experts recommend.

I have a feeling that the detergent companies are the ones pushing the using of lots of soap per load. Money, money, money being the motivation. Then again maybe the clothing manufacturers are in on it too.

The using of vinegar to soften is definitely something I'm going to try. I wonder if my towels will come out smelling vinegary. Hmm. maybe I'll need borax too. Presently, I don't use fabric softener especially after I learned it was very flammable.

I had been using liquid laundry soap on oily stains because it was convenient to smear on them and hand scrub before throwing them into the wash. Not because I was any too smart but looks like I was doing the right thing after all.

If you have mud stains or ground-in soil or dirt, then powder detergent will work best. Powder detergents are made with special ingredients that raise the pH of your wash, which makes for better cleaning. It's important to keep in mind, though, that powder detergents work best when they are dissolved and mixed around in the washer a bit before adding your clothes. This will help prevent those ingredients from reacting with and possibly fading your clothes.

If, on the other hand, you're working with more oily dirt, like food stains, you should use a liquid detergent. Liquids have a different cleaning component that keeps the wash pH neutral, meaning you don't need to dissolve them, you can use them to pretreat, and you can add them to loads with delicate fabrics and colors.

Read more: Liquid Vs. Powdered Detergent |

Using too much can cause oversudsing which can not only damage your machine, but can make clothes appear dingy.

One other reason for lots of dryer lint is the use of a top load washer on high aggitation cycle. They recommend a longer wash and a lower aggitation to make clothes last longer and less lint.

The best thing of all to do is turn your clothes inside out when washing them and hanging them up to dry skipping the dryer all together.

I've been thinking about going back to home-made laundry detergent. At least part time anyway. Wonder how well it works on a front load washer.

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