Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A new use for everything!

So I am standing in my basement doing laundry the other night. I switch over the washer load to the dryer, close the door and almost forget to check the lint trap before starting the dryer. I pull out the trap, scrape off the lint and put it in the pile that is growing on the shelf next to our dryer. I start the dryer but pause for a moment before heading upstairs. Why did I pause? Because I am staring at that pile of lint. Thinking "I wonder when that is gonna get cleaned up". But then something else comes to my head. Dyer lint always just gets thrown in the garbage. Or does it? I all of a sudden felt inspired to figure out what else it might be good for instead of just adding more crap to the landfill. I thought to myself there has got to be something this icky fluffy stuff could be used for, so I went on an internet mission to see what I could find!


Something that I hadn't thought of was the fact that dryer lint is extremely flammable (knew that part, that's why you need to clean those traps!)and I just have a pile of it sitting in my basement... Not so smart eh? So now I am worried about it till I get a good container to store it in and hope that no one smokes in my basement! They better not! Just being silly, no one would do that. Friends and family already have gotten to see my "mean" side about smoking just from them smoking outside....


So anyway in my search I find out you can use lint for fire starters. OK that one is like duh! Extremely flammable would make sense right?! There is a little work involved but not much.
To make the fire starters you can pack the lint into a cardboard egg carton. Then you melt some kind of wax (old candles or crayons etc) in a metal can(coffee maybe)in a shallow pot of boiling water on low heat. When the wax is melted, drizzle the liquid wax onto the lint, filling each egg slot full. When the wax cools, you just cut or break apart the sections.

Image from Mother Earth News. My favorite subscribed magazine! You should get it too it's awesome! Mother Earth News HERE!

You can then use these for camping or a campfire, your fireplace; I even read for a charcoal grill but I seriously question the safety of that. I will need to find out more. Especially because I also read to avoid fumes in your home use lint only from natural fabrics. I honestly wouldn't want to put these in my fireplace and especially not in a grill but hey if you were ever really desperate for fire starter... I guess it would work!

Of course for a campfire you could just use the lint for kindling on it's own! Just bring it with you in a airtight, watertight container. As I believe it will do you no good if it gets wet.

How about for composting? Really?! Supposedly you can toss it in your compost bin if it comes from all natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or linen. Only problem is how many people actually only have those types of fabrics in their dryers? I know there are other fabrics that go into mine sometimes... Also I would think you would want to make sure you use natural laundry detergent as well. And no softeners or dryer sheets (that I can do because that's how I wash my laundry). Too bad it isn't only natural fabrics in my dryer though.. I suppose if I really paid attention and just didn't include lint from "bad" batches of clothes it could be done. I am not sure I want to put that much effort into lint though seeing as how I am always doing laundry.


Some websites say that lint makes great clay and paper mache. Here is an example HERE

Another use I have read but not sure I would recommend it is, using it as stuffing for dolls and such. I really am not sure how much more flammable it is over regular stuffing if at all but making (toys as an example) out of something super flammable doesn't seem wise or safe to me...

How about a possible nesting material for birds? Just hang it from a tree or place it out in your yard and they will bring it home.

I actually found this posted as a comment as well. But I couldn't locate the person who posted it:

I use Lint to make CANDLE WICKS, as well as ROPE. I roll my own rope the same way Indians used to make rope from plant fibers. its a long project but i tell you Lint makes a good strong Rope. I make small Ropes to use as a candle wick and they work great. My candles are made from bacon fat or beef fat. I use the tallow I make. I get about 24 hours or more from one candle, or you can use the tallow and chunks of Lint saturated in fat in a large metal bowl as an outdoor space heater or cooker.

That would be something else to look into.

Anyway I am no expert on lint but this is what I found and I have yet to make sure any of it is 100% accurate or really works but I wanted to blog about it!

If you have any uses for lint that you use in your everyday life feel free to comment!

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