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  • Is Dryer Lint Affecting My Indoor Air Quality?

    The fuzz that you find on your clothes is also floating in the air — and polluting your indoor air.

    Washing and drying your clothes will always come with one downfall: lint. These microfibers can escape your laundry machine filters and drift into the air. Learn more about the fabric particles floating around your home and how to reduce them.

    • Where does dryer lint come from?

      Lint is fuzz made up of fine pieces of yarn and fabric, better known as microfibers. You likely see this material stuck to your clothes or caught in the lint traps of your laundry dryer. As the dryer spins clothes and vents moist air, lint collects in the dryer’s filter.

      But even with a dryer lint trap, the laundry process still contributes to indoor air pollution. Washers and dryers both release microfibers — washers when they drain, dryers when they vent. During their tumble cycles, dryers have far more discharge than washers do, and the microfibers find their way into the air.¹

      How does dryer lint impact my indoor air quality?

      Lint contributes to indoor air pollution, as it can contain chemicals from common household products and other substances picked up from your surroundings.²

      What are some ways to reduce lint in my air?

      • When you’re doing laundry, always empty the dryer lint trap and dispose of lint in the trash.
      • Venting the dryer to the outside can act as a preventive measure, if your home is capable of this.³ If not, washing your clothes less often and in large loads will help limit microfiber pollution.⁴
      • Using both dryer sheets and anti-wrinkle fabric conditioners can decrease the amount of microfiber emissions from the dryer exhaust by up to 44.9%.¹
      • Explore buying clothes made of natural fibers.²
      • Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your vacuum.
      • For a more thorough option, a Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifier helps capture 99.97% of airborne particles with its True HEPA filter.* The easy-to-use air purifier works 24/7 to give you cleaner, fresher indoor air. Plus, it monitors a room’s air and reacts to changes in quality. Consider placing one near your laundry room, if possible.
      • Wash your clothes with laundry balls or in a wash bag designed to capture microfibers.
      *As small as 0.3 microns from the air passing through the filter media. Initial efficiency value.

      Sources

      1. "The impact of fabric conditioning products and lint filter pore size on airborne microfiber pollution arising from tumble drying," PLOS. 2022.
      2. "House Dust and Laundry Lint – Tiny Terrors of Environmental Health: What Do They Contain and What You Can Do," Duke University. 2020.
      3. "Indoor Air Can Cause Health Problems," University of Rochester Medical Center. 2022.
      4. "What You Should Know About Microfiber Pollution," EPA. (PDF, 622.76 KB)

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