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So you’re all dressed up and ready to head out. Suddenly, you notice something fuzzy on your outfit. It’s lint! There’s nothing more annoying than finding lint on your freshly washed clothes. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it from happening while you’re actually doing your washing. To help you do it, we’ve put together a handy list you can use to fight back against lint.

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Flip your clothes inside out when you wash them.

  1. It can protect your clothes from lint and reduce shedding. Take all of your shirts, socks, pants, sweatshirts, and anything else you’re washing and flip them inside out. Add them to your washing machine inside-out so they won’t lose as many of their fibers, which can form lint, and so any lint that forms in the wash is less likely to stick to them somewhere noticeable.[2]

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Check your pockets for tissue and paper.

  1. They can shred when you wash them and get everywhere. Reach into the pockets of any pants, shirts, or sweatshirts you’re washing. Pull out anything you find, especially stuff that can break down and form lint like napkins, tissues, and paper.[3]
    • It’s always a good idea to check your pockets before you wash your clothes. You don’t want anything damaged or soaked!
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Add 1 cup (240 mL) of white vinegar to the load.

  1. It can help fight against lint in your washing machine. Use distilled white vinegar so there isn’t a super strong odor in your clothes. Add it during the final rinse cycle and it’ll help prevent fuzzy lint from getting onto your clothes.[5]
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Machine-dry your clothes with a fabric softener sheet.

  1. It’ll help remove the lint while your clothes dry. Transfer your clothes from your washing machine to your dryer as soon as they’re done washing. Toss a fabric softener sheet into the dryer and turn it on. The sheet will help keep your clothes soft, add a nice scent, and help prevent lint from collecting on them.[7]
    • You could also use an unscented fabric softener sheet if you don’t want an extra scent.
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Clear the lint filter of your dryer after each use.

  1. It’ll keep it from building up and getting onto your clothes. Dryers have a filter that is designed to catch any lint in the machine. Slide it out, clean off any lint that’s on it, and then slide it back into place and you’re good to go![9]
    • The lint filter is usually located either in the front or on top of the dryer.
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Hand-wash your clothes for the best protection.

  1. It’ll help prevent fibers from breaking off and forming lint. If you’re able to do it, washing your clothes by hand is by far the best way to prevent lint from getting onto your clothes.[12] Fill a small tub or sink with water and add about 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of detergent. Submerge your clothes in the water and gently swish them through the soapy water. Then, drain the water and fill it with cool, clean water to rinse the clothes.[13]
    • You may need to rinse the clothes more than once to fully remove the soap.
    • Hand-washing can be much more time-consuming, but it’ll help prevent lint!
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Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Is there another solution?
    Community Answer
    The biggest problem that arises with getting lint fibers on other clothes is washing too many types of loose-fibered clothes with tightly-woven material. It's best not to wash towels and dress clothes or towels and sweaters. The fibers from each end up clinging to the other material. Wash similar types of garments separately in their own loads. Whatever you do, do not mix terry towels and sweaters, together, this causes pilling.
  • Question
    Do I pour the vinegar directly on the clothes?
    Community Answer
    Pour white vinegar into the water to dilute it a little, then add the clothes, then follow the rest of the directions.
  • Question
    My new washing machine has no catch filter. The pieces I don't dry in the dryer have lint. What can I do to catch it in the washing machine?
    Community Answer
    Vinegar helps. I put it in the wash and the fabric softener cup. It also helps to wash your clothes inside out.
  • Question
    Will the clothes smell like vinegar?
    Community Answer
    I don't find that it causes a smell, and if it does, it generally evaporates when the clothes are dry. You can always reduce the amount you use if the smell bothers you.
  • Question
    Do you use vinegar and laundry detergent in the same load of wash?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    Ideally, you want to add the vinegar during the final rinse cycle of the wash. Some machines have a special slot for you to add it for the final rinse. For other machines, you'll need to add it when the final rinse cycle begins.
  • Question
    How do I prevent little hairs and things from getting embedded in the materials of socks?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    There are a few things you can try. For starters, make sure your washing machine is clean. Run an empty cycle and use distilled white vinegar instead of detergent to flush out any hair and lint that may be in the filters. Also, make sure you clear out the lint filter in your dryer after each use. You can also try turning the socks inside out so any fibers aren't as noticeable when you wear them.
  • Question
    What about front loader machines?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    Front loading washing machines can be treated just like other types of washing machines. Keep it clean and try to separate clothing items that produce lots of lint, such as chenille, sweat shirts, fleece, and felt from items that naturally collect lint like corduroy, synthetic fibers, and knits.
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      Tips

      • Wash brand new clothes separately at least twice so they shed any extra lint and the dyes won’t bleed onto your other clothes.[14]
      • It can also be helpful to keep a lint roller near your dryer so you can remove lint as soon as you take them out if it’s necessary.
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      Warnings

      • Always double-check the tag of your clothes for specific washing and drying instructions so you don’t damage them.
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      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      wikiHow Staff Writer
      This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 185,321 times.
      4 votes - 100%
      Co-authors: 11
      Updated: June 23, 2022
      Views: 185,321
      Article SummaryX

      To keep lint from building up on your clothes in the wash, try to wash especially linty items, such as fuzzy sweaters, separately from the rest of your clothes. Turning your clothes inside out before you launder them can also minimize shedding. Before washing anything with pockets, make sure to check inside the pockets and throw away any lint, fuzz, and stray pieces of tissue so it doesn’t contaminate the rest of your laundry. Check the instructions on your laundry detergent to make sure you’re using enough of it, since the detergent can help wash away lint and grime. You can also give your washer a lint-fighting boost by adding a splash of distilled white vinegar during the final rinse cycle. Lint can also build up on clothes during the drying process, so air-dry clothes that are prone to attracting fuzz if you can. Prevent lint build-up by tossing a fabric softener sheet or a microfiber cloth into your dryer along with the clothes. For more tips, like how to keep your washer and dryer clean and lint-free between wash cycles, scroll down!

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      Reader Success Stories

      • Bob

        May 5, 2016

        "I appreciate that this is a very simple how to and like that it only needs vinegar."
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