Seriously, is there anything worse than finally getting together the perfect outfit, only to discover after it’s on that you’re covered in lint? How to remove lint from clothes is a skill we all need to master—yet somehow, it gets little attention.
It might seem minuscule, but when it comes to clothing, lint can certainly be a scourge—it’s pesky, unsightly, and a pain to remove. Sometimes, it’s simply due to, say, a sweater shedding on a coat, but other times lint occurs when we use the washing machine—a hotbed for small broken fragments of already-washed clothes that annoyingly get stuck to ours.
However, even if you own one of those new-fangled machines that effectively eradicates lint with every wash (yes, they exist!), you still could be creating your own, depending on how you sort your laundry. According to about.com, certain fabrics are lint shedders (cotton, terry, chenille, natural fibers), and others are lint receivers (corduroy, velvet, synthetics, knits) and the two shouldn’t be washed together. Good to know, certainly, but even if we take every precaution in the book, it’s still a given that lint—on both light and dark clothes—is pretty unavoidable.
That said, we’ve rounded up 10 smart ways to remove lint from clothes if you find yourself—horror of horrors—without a lint roller in sight.
1. If you know a garment is prone to shedding, wash it inside it out. However, if you have an item that’s already covered in lint (a white tee worn under a dark sweater, for example), wash it with the right side out to help the lint escape.
2. If you have a piece of clothing already covered in lint but don’t want to wash it, toss it in the dryer on an “air only” setting with a clean dryer sheet. Be sure to empty out the lint-filled dryer filter or drawer.
3. In a pinch, a pumice stone can de-pill a sweater, and take lint particles with it.
4. Grab a piece of Scotch tape to remove lint from small areas.
5. For larger surfaces, use a piece of sticky contact paper or adhesive drawer liners to remove lint from clothes.
6. Separate your clothes in the closet. For example, don’t place folded mohair sweaters on top or below knit tops.
7. For pesky lint on bath towels, try adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to the last rinse while in the washing machine.
8. A single-blade razor is effective at removing lint from clothes—just be careful!
9. Guess what else removes lint like a champ? A damp standard scouring pad.
10. Dampen a clean dryer sheet and rub it gently on your lint-covered piece, while blasting it with the cool-setting from your hairdryer.
Originally published March 2014. Updated March 2017.