What Is Lint and How You Can Use It

Love it or hate it, in the textile world there is always going to be lint.  “But what is lint?” you might ask.  Well, these are the tiny fibres that are a natural by-product of fabrics.  If you wear or sleep in cotton or linen you will undoubtedly find lint around your house, and our tumble dryers even have a special ‘lint trap’ to catch these tiny fibres.  Lint is perfectly normal and part and parcel of working with and using these lovely fabrics, but what can we do to try to limit this waste?

Our fabulous factories already have this worked out.  The lint that accumulates during the dyeing and laundering process in the factories is separated out and put to good use where possible.  Over half of these waste fibres are either spun back into yarns that are used to make new textiles, or they’re used for agriculture and livestock.

But what can we, as consumers, do with our lint?

In our current efforts to ‘make things better’, Secret Linen Store have been looking at what we do as consumers and how we can be as eco-friendly as possible. This has led us to looking into lint, and we found there are lots of fun and friendly ways to use the fluff that comes out of your washing loads. We understand that tumble drying isn’t the most sustainable method in the world of washing, but we also understand that not everyone has a line to dry in the warmer months, or enough radiator and airer space in the colder months. If you choose to use a tumble dryer, here are some tip top top tips to be a little more eco-conscious by putting that dryer lint to good use.

Fire Starters

The first way you can put your lint to use is making fire starters. Picture this: you are out on a camping trip on a super windy day and you want to make a campfire – this sounds impossible, right? Well, it turns out that dryer lint is very flammable stuff, so just before you leave for your trip, gather up the lint from your last tumble dry, stuff it in an empty loo roll, cover it in newspaper and Bob’s your uncle, you have a fire starter.

Pet Bedding

If you have any tiny pets, they will be delighted to have some of that fluff to add to their cosy space; lint works perfectly as bedding for hamsters, rats and guinea pigs – and it also saves you a lot of money too! If you don’t have any little furry friends, you can give this excess lint to animal shelters nearby so they can use it for their little fluffballs.  Providing your lint is all from natural fibres you can also pop it outside in the springtime for birds to collect to line their nests.


Moving house? No problem. Sending off a parcel? No problem. Lint can be used to protect contents that you are packaging up, saving you buying extra newspapers or bubble wrap from the shop when you run out. Once you are done with it, you can just throw it onto the compost heap.

Using as Mulch

When it comes to gardening, weeds can be a big annoyance, especially when you don’t have lots of time for weeding. Lint can save the day as putting a base layer down in your garden deters those pesky weeds.

When dampened with water, lint is also the perfect solution to preventing your soil from eroding or drying out. If you don’t like the sight of soggy lint, you can cover it up with a more aesthetically pleasing layer of decorative pebbles or stones.


The lovely warm weather is the perfect climate for your compost bin to do its job, and with your extra lint from the tumble dryer hanging around, you can add this to the bin. Lint compost does a great job at keeping both your indoor and outdoor plants nice and cosy, whilst also helping to retain water.

This is, of course, a much cheaper option to buying compost in the garden centre, so if you do have a dryer, definitely use it to help those veggies grow.  With most of our product, you will be getting lint made from natural fibres of cotton and linen, so it is biodegradable and will therefore easily break down. However, if you are washing anything synthetic, the fibres in the lint won’t break down so quickly. 

Arts & Crafts

You might be running out of fun activities to do with the kids at the end of the school holidays…and the craft budget might be tight.  Did you know you can use your dryer lint to make clay? All you need to add is:

  • 5 tbsp of pva glue
  • 1 tbsp of washing up liquid
  • 5 tbsp of warm water

Mix it all together and you’ve got yourself a cheap activity that will entertain them for hours.

On the topic of entertainment, lint can also be used instead of newspaper to do some papier-mâché. The good thing about using lint is that, because it is thicker, you won’t need so many layers.

As lint is just excess fibres that have come off your linen in the dryer, it makes fabulous stuffing or wadding. Use it to fill little stuffed animals or doll’s pillows, or sew it between two layers of fabric to make a quilt.

Mopping up spillages

If you are clumsy like us, you might want to keep your lint around for the odd spillage that comes about. It is super absorbent, so instead of reaching for the kitchen roll, reach into the dryer for a big wad of lint to soak up any liquid in a jiffy.

Making yarn

If you are feeling extra crafty, you can try spinning your own yarn. You can even be tactical and create different coloured lint by tumble drying similar colours together.

As you can see, there are tons of ways to give life to your lint, as well as being kinder to the planet, so why not give it a go?