Recycling dryer lint is a great way to reuse the resources you have. You might be wondering about spinning it into your own yarn.
So can you make yarn out of dryer lint? It is possible to spin dryer lint into yarn, however, it’s not the most ideal material. Dryer lint is made up of extremely short fibers that easily break apart making it undesirable to knit or crochet with. Dryer lint, like human hair, is not as desirable for yarn as alpaca and goat fiber.
Understanding where dryer lint comes from will help you understand how it performs as a yarn. I’ll also share a few ideas of what you CAN do with dryer lint to reuse it.
Why Dryer Lint Yarn Isn’t a Good Idea
The lint that collects in your dryer comes from the combination of clothes that you are drying. This mostly includes cotton, linen, rayon, cellulose fabrics, and other man-made materials. Miniscule fibers from these fabrics break off of the material as it’s worn and washed.
These fibers originally come from a cotton boll (the cotton plant) or other man-made material and are arranged in long thin strands to be spun into yarn or thread. These tiny fibers can range from a fraction of an inch to a little longer than one inch.
During the washing and drying process, the material is worn down causing these minuscule fibers to come apart from the yarn or fabric that the clothes are made from. Additionally, other fibers will wear and break off from the clothing through the same process. This is the lint that accumulates in the dryer.
The fabrics of your clothes will become thinner over time as they wear and are washed and dried.
Due to how short the individual fibers are they are very difficult to spin. The spun strand of yarn will be very loose and will pull apart under tension making it virtually unusable.
A Possible Fix to Spinning Dryer Lint
Sometimes, you’ll end up with longer stands of fibers that will help your dryer lint yarn hold together. Finding longer strands isn’t always likely so you will need to mix some other fiber with your dryer lint to help hold it together.
If you own a long-haired dog or cat you will likely have their hair stuck to your clothes and linens. This would accumulate in your dryer when you wash and dry clothes. The longer strands from your dog or cat's hair mixed with your clothing fibers in the dryer lint would make it much easier to spin and more durable.
You might be surprised to find out how much pet hair will strengthen your dryer lint yarn and turn it into a usable material that can be knit or crocheted into a functional product.
The downside to using dryer lint, even if you add pet hair to the mix, is that it will likely break down even faster through wear and washing. Because the dryer lint is made up of fibers that have already broken down one of the other pieces of clothing, it is just as likely to break down in your new piece of material.
It will probably produce more lint when washing and drying than the original piece of clothing did. Therefore, don’t expect to make long-lasting pieces from your dryer lint yarn.
What Can You Make With Dryer Lint?
Fire Starter. Dryer lint is extremely flammable, making it an excellent fire starter.
There are a couple of different ways to make easy fire starters. One way is to collect dryer lint, toilet paper rolls, and newspaper. Put some dryer lint inside the toilet paper roll and wrap the roll with newspaper, tucking the newspaper inside the ends of the roll.
Another way is with an egg carton, dryer lint, and candle wax. Put a little dryer lint in each section of the egg carton and pour some candle wax over the lint. Cut apart each of the sections and you have 12 fire starters that are super easy to use.
Compost. Why buy bags of compost at the store when you have tons of discarded materials at home that can easily be turned into your own compost.
Adding dryer lint to your compost pile is better if your clothing is made primarily of natural materials such as cotton and linen. Man-made fibers don’t break down as easy. Also, do not add your dryer lint to the compost pile if you use dryer sheets. The chemicals from dryer sheets are not good for your soil.
Stuffing. Because dryer lint is so flammable, you’ll want to consider if this is a wise choice for the application you want to use it for. However, it makes for a free and very handy stuffing for little objects; toys, dog toys, plush decor, holiday crafts, small pillows, etc.
Homemade Paper. If you like to make homemade paper for scrap booking and card making, dryer lint adds an interesting texture and color. Dryer lint paper is fairly easy to make. You simply make a soak the link, blend it, sift it, put it in a mold, and flip it onto a piece of fabric. The is a completely simplified version and you can find way better instructions by doing a quick Google search! 🙂
Play Clay. You’ll make the kid's day by saving up your dryer lint and whipping up a batch of clay for them to play with. All you need is dryer lint, 1/3 cup of white glue, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix it all together and you have a really inexpensive clay that makes for a fun time with the kids.
Is dryer lint recyclable? Recycling facilities do not accept dyer lint to recycle them, however, there are many ways to reuse and make use of dryer lint instead of throwing it in the garbage.
Is dryer lint biodegradable? If the clothing that the lint came from is made of natural materials such as cotton, linen, wool, etc. then the dryer lint is biodegradable and can be composted. Synthetic materials will not break down and should not be composted.