What Causes Lint in a Washing Machine?

A common cause of lint in a washing machine is using the wrong load size. If the water level is too high, the clothing moves too much in the tub, causing lint. If it is too low, the overloaded machine is unable to rinse the lint away.

Choosing a wash cycle that is too long for the fabric type causes additional wear on the clothing that releases lint. If it is not caught in the machine's lint trap or pumped out in the rinse water, the lint deposits on clothing in the machine. While the dryer often removes part of the lint, some deposits remain after the cycle ends.

Sorting laundry improperly mixes lint-forming clothes with those that attract lint. Towels, flannel materials and cotton knits form lint. Synthetic blends attract the lint. Mixing light-colored clothing with dark-colored items causes the lint formed to show on the opposite colors. Proper sorting decreases lint buildup, increasing the life of clothing.

Use the manufacturer's suggested amounts of laundry products to reduce lint. Adding too much bleach to the load causes the fabrics to release lint. Adding too much detergent forms a white deposit on clothing that is often mistaken for lint. Too much fabric softener makes clothing stiff, resulting in a chemical reaction with the detergent that leaves a white residue.