5 upcycling ideas for your dryer lint
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5 upcycling ideas for your dryer lint

Patrick Vogt
7.2.2024
Translation: Eva Francis

Thanks to recycling and upcycling, we know that waste isn’t just waste. Did you know you shouldn’t chuck away laundry lint? The lint filter in your tumble dryer is a source of unexpected possibilities.

My wife and I are fighting an ongoing, unofficial battle when it comes to brushing our teeth – who manages to squeeze the last blob of toothpaste out of the already empty tube, forcing the other to buy a new one? It’s a similar story with the lint filter in our tumble dryer: who’ll be the first to give in and finally empty it? The answer’s usually me – for the sake of the laundry, the dryer and marital peace. So be it.

Removing the fluffy carpet in the lint filter is a tactile experience every time.
Removing the fluffy carpet in the lint filter is a tactile experience every time.
Source: Shutterstock / Boontoom Sae-Kor

As annoying as it is to keep the lint filter nice and clean, it’s really important to do so. A full lint filter is a fire hazard, as the Fire Prevention Advice Centre writes (link in German).

Check out these five upcycling and recycling ideas and you’ll never waste your laundry lint again.

1. Lint art

Unlock the artist inside you! If you’re wondering what material to use for your next piece of art, try using laundry lint. All you need is your hands and your creative genius to sculpt small and large works of art. No brush, hammer or chisel required. To display your art, just turn your laundry room into a gallery. How artsy is that? Art Basel is sure to come calling soon. Forget about Damien Hirst’s diamond skull and Jeff Koon’s balloon dog, your fluff art is the future.

Let me present – my collected works.
Let me present – my collected works.
Source: Patrick Vogt

2. Lint voodoo

Your annoying downstairs neighbour’s complained to the letting agent again because you put the rubbish bag out too early? Your boss has criticised you for no reason? Don’t let these people get to you, they’re not worth it. Instead, do a bit of voodoo. With a hair off your neighbour’s head or your boss’s bogey, you can craft mini figures of them out of lint and prick them with a needle as much as you like. Will it work? Well, if you believe it, it might. And if it doesn’t, at least you’ve found an outlet for all that rage – without actually harming anyone.

3. Lint wool

The more lint is caught in the dryer filter, the thinner your jumper will be. Sooner or later, you’ll need a new one. But unlike everyone else, you won’t just buy it, you’ll knit it yourself. Out of all that lint you’ve collected. You might not be spinning straw into gold like the miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin, but you’re creating the ultimate jumper life cycle, the golden wool of modern times. Heads will turn, that’s for sure. As Rocky, the Paw Patrol puppy with a recycling fetish would say: «Don’t lose it, reuse it!» I’ll just warn you now: your new jumper will pill for sure.

I can see exactly what that new jumper will look like.
I can see exactly what that new jumper will look like.
Source: Patrick Vogt

4. Fire starters

I’ve been throwing money down the drain for years. To get the fire going in my BBQ or fireplace, I used to buy fire starters such as wood wool and lighter cubes. Not anymore. I’m following in MacGyver’s footsteps and will be making my own fire starters in the future. Just stuff dryer lint into an empty toilet roll and your DIY fire starter is ready. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

5. Energy generation

While dryer lint is great to start a fire, Lithuanian researchers are taking things a few steps further: they see it as a renewable and sustainable source of energy. Specifically, they’re proposing a method for converting lint microfibres from tumble dryers into energy. In a pilot project, they used pyrolysis, the thermal separation of chemical compounds, to obtain three energy products from dryer lint: oil, gas and charcoal. This method could produce almost 14 tonnes of oil, more than 21 tonnes of gas and around 10 tonnes of charcoal from the lint of one million people, as the researchers estimated in a study from 2021. Imagine the supposedly annoying contents of our tumble dryer’s lint filter turning into a game changer for our energy worries.

Header image: Shutterstock / Olya Detry

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I'm a full-blooded dad and husband, part-time nerd and chicken farmer, cat tamer and animal lover. I would like to know everything and yet I know nothing. I know even less, but I learn something new every day. What I am good at is dealing with words, spoken and written. And I get to prove that here. 


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