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How to Remove Lint or Paper from Clothes

It is frustrating to take a clean load of laundry out of your washing machine only to discover your clothes are littered with tissue paper, fluff, and lint. Fortunately, there is an easy way to remove lint and paper residue from your clothes.

a beautiful girl wearing a fluffy white woollen knit

It is frustrating to take a clean load of laundry out of your washing machine only to discover your clothes are littered with tissue paper, fluff, and lint. Fortunately, there is an easy way to remove lint and paper residue from your clothes.
And, in addition to providing you with the tools to remove this debris, we also want to share how to prevent lint and paper from getting on your clothes to begin with.

Where does lint come from?

Lint is the grey or white fluff you sometimes find on your clothes when you remove them from the washing machine. Lint in the washer can come from something accidentally left in a pocket, like a facial tissue, or it might be the result of tiny fibres adhering to the surface of clothing. Lint can also build up in the dryer and washing machine's filters, so cleaning and maintaining them regularly is of utmost importance.

How do you remove lint?

Lint on your clothing is an inconvenience, but lint in your washers and dryers can decrease their performance. But don't worry—removing lint from your washing machine and your clothing is easy if you know the proper steps to take.

Reducing Lint in Washing Machines

If you can keep lint out of the washer, you won't have to worry about how to get lint off of your clothes. Here are a few helpful hints for preventing lint and tissue buildup in your machine.

  • Keep the machine clean. To get rid of lint and tissue that linger in your washer, run an empty spin cycle with a cup of distilled vinegar every three months. Empty the lint filter after every wash, and vacuum it once every two weeks to keep it clean. Your washing machine’s filter can be in different locations depending on the type of machine, so it’s best to consult your machine’s owners manual to find its location.
  • Be mindful of lint-producing materials. Identify which fabrics create a lot of lint, and then consider washing them inside out or, even better, by hand. Even though this process takes a little longer, it will shield the remaining laundry from lint and prevent you from having to run the wash again. The worst offenders are typically new cotton clothing and fluffy knits.
  • Adjust washing machine settings. Washing items in cold water, using the gentle or permanent press cycle when possible, and adding fabric softener to every load can help prevent lint from forming.
a hand feeling soft cream woollen fabric

Removing Lint from Clothes

No matter how diligently you work to keep lint out of the washing machine, it is evitable that your clothes will attract lint, and you will need to know how to remove it from your items.

Simply follow the steps below to remove the lint without much hassle.

Helpful Tips for Removing Lint and Tissue Paper

  • Place microfibre squares in the dryer; microfibre will attract the lint and help remove some of it from your clothes.
  • Rather than re-washing or drying your clothes, some lint can be removed by using a lint roller.
  • Alternatively, if you don't have a lint roller, you can remove the lint from your garments by applying tape's sticky side to the affected area.
  • Be sure to clean your dryer's filter after using it to remove lint from clothing.
  • It is important to read the clothing item’s care label before placing it in the dryer.
a selection of woollen sweaters on a clothes rail with a lint roller

Remove Tissue from Washed Clothes

We've all opened the washing machine only to find that someone left a tissue in his or her pocket. Not only does this create a mess in the washer that must be cleaned, but then you have to remove the tissue from all the clothing.
Fortunately, there are several quick tips and tricks that will help you get the tissue out of your washed clothes.

Shake out the clothes. This is a good first step to remove the paper, but do so over a trash can or outside to avoid making a bigger mess. This gives the clothes a chance to release some of the tissue bits and save you some cleaning time.

Remove large tissue fragments. Before placing the clothes in a dryer, remove large pieces either manually or by using a fabric brush. You can leave the little tissue bits, as they should be captured by the filter.

Use the dryer. Just as a dryer easily removes lint from clothing, it also removes tissue well. Simply place the wet clothing in the dryer and allow the lint filter to gather the remaining tissue fragments. Just remember to clean out the lint filter after you remove the clothing from the dryer.


What do you do if you accidentally put paper in the washing machine?

The first thing to remember is there is no need to panic. Though it may take extra time to remove the paper, this mistake will not ruin your clothes. First, shake the clothing with tissue remnants vigorously, preferably over a bin or outside to avoid making a larger mess. Remove as much of the paper as possible by shaking, then use your hands or a brush to pry the tissue off of the hard-to-reach or stubborn places. Shake once more, then put them in the dryer to remove any remaining paper.

a hand plucking a paper tissue from its box

Can I wash paper?

It is not a good idea to place paper in a washing machine since the paper will quickly dissolve into tiny bits. And, doing so runs the risk of harming your washing machine. Change, tissues, and gum are a few of the items that can clog your washer's water drain and damage its internal components.

How do you get stuck paper out of fabric?

When tissue gets stuck onto fabric during a washing cycle, it can be rather challenging to remove. Start by separating and shaking the clothes to remove the loose paper. If this doesn't work, place them in the dryer with a fabric softener.

Although it may be difficult, it is not impossible to remove lint, facial tissue, and paper from your clothing. But, to save time and energy, it is best to thoroughly search clothing before washing and regularly clean your washer and dryer’s filters. These two measures alone will help prevent many mishaps.
However, if you do find yourself with a littered load of wet laundry, try these techniques and you’ll have completely clean and fresh clothes to wear in no time.

a gorgeous kitten curled up in a knitted wool blanket

Hayden Hill garment bags are made of 100% organic, soft cotton that is environmentally friendly and allows your favorite pieces to breathe while keeping them protected from damage. We deliver sustainable and beautiful garment care to preserve and protect the clothes you love most.

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