How does a dryer extract lint from your clothes?

Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments.

by PhotoSpin

PhotoSpin

How does a dryer extract lint
from your clothes?

Jose R. Polonia
Lynn, Mass.

Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments. Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton and wool generate more lint than fabrics made of rayon or other synthetic materials. Bits of fiber break off from our clothing from the friction of wear.

When clothes go through the washer, dirt and lint are lifted from the garments but remain on the fabric in its wet state. During drying, the lint is released as water is removed from the wet fabric and friction increases as a result of the tumbling action. Finally, a heating mechanism within the dryer called an open-wire element creates an air stream that sweeps through the garments, blowing the lint off and trapping it in the lint screen. The dryer's exhaust system, which pulls moisture and heat safely out of your home, also helps to suction lint off the clothes.

Regardless of how lint gets in there, cleaning your dryer's lint screen regularly is important. Reduced airflow resulting from lint buildup can cause the appliance to operate at elevated temperatures and overheat. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur annually.