It is a byproduct of all that hard work. When washing and drying clothes, lint is a necessary evil. It gathers in crevices and gunks up machine parts if not addressed on a regular basis. The dryer gets all the attention when it comes to lint removal, but the washer needs attention for lint issues as well.
Pre-Washing Lint Removal
Before clothes get a good soaking, they should go through a process of lint removal. This prolongs the life of the wearable item and reduces lint build up in the washer. There are a number of ways to remove lint from clothes before you start the cleaning process. Use a lint roller to remove any free floating lint that is loosely adhered to the fabric. In a pinch, a dryer sheet run over jeans or other dense fabric can remove tiny fibers and dust. A roller pin wrapped in clear packing tape can also work to remove piling and lint from sweaters and other fluffy fashion. For serious piling, a disposable razor will refresh the surface of a much-loved sweater. A pumice stone is great for getting fleece back to its fashionable state and leave the lint that tends to gather on this popular winter fabric well outside of the washing tub. You can use a solution of water and vinegar to remove lint and remove serious stains at the same time.
Cleaning the Washer’s Lint Filter
There are a few places that manufacturers of washing machines place the lint filter. If you don't have the manual or can't locate it online, a bit of investigating should help you locate the lint trap quickly. Slide your fingers along the top rim of the washer drum to check for a screen. This is the lint trap. If you have an agitator in the middle of the tub, a screen may be located in the center of the spindle. Finally, check the end of the drainage hose for a small mesh screen full of wet lint. This may take some work to move the machine to find where the hose drains water out of the machine.
Steps to Wash Clothes in a Washing Machine
To wash clothes well, and to assist the washer in its purloining of dirt from clothes, you should follow a few basic cleaning rules. Apply stain removers before tossing clothes in the washer. Separate darks from whites to keep colors from bleeding. Use cold water for darks and warm for towels and sheets. Linens should be separate from clothes and towels. Heavy fabrics, such as denim, should be separate from lighter items, such as permanent-press shirts. Read the care tag on clothes and linens and select the water temperature based on that. Use a gentle detergent for delicates and stronger detergent for clothing that needs a serious wash, such as sports uniforms or work clothes. Don't overload the washer and choose the correct load size before starting the machine. Check the lint filter at least once a month, if not weekly.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.