- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: I understand what lint actually is, but what is it about the drying process that causes the extraction--the heat or the tumbling, or both? Does the water and agitation from washing also contribute to linting?
Answer: Lint is primarily cotton fiber that is collected in the lint screen of a dryer. The cotton fiber is broken off from the textile due to a combination of reasons.
As we wear and use a textile there is the friction from rubbing the material against itself or something else. This rubbing is the abrasion that breaks fibers loose. Then there is the washing process that also has the rubbing and scrubbing action in the washer that breaks fibers loose. Although both of these two circumstances have the cotton fiber breaking loose, they still have a tendency to stick to the textile.
During the drying process, however, the friction increases even more and the suction from the exhaust air of the dryer wants to pull the particles of cotton fiber away from the drying textiles and collect in the dryer filter. The broken cotton fiber is pulled away as the textile is completely dried.
Polyester blends tend to lint less than 100 percent cotton items because the percentage of cotton is generally from 20-50 percent of the material makeup of the poly/blend textile. The cotton percentage decreases as the textile gets older and the cotton is removed from the fabric. The quality of the textile can be a factor as to how much linting of the fabric occurs. Generally, long staple cotton fiber is woven in the fabric better and will give longer life to the cotton in any textile
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