8 Ways to Use Dryer Lint in Your Backyard and Garden

Dryer lint should be collected after each load of laundry to prevent a fire hazard. Here are some good uses for that debris in your garden and yard!

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When dryer lint piles up, it can become a fire hazard. In fact, 34 percent of home dryer fires are caused by failing to clean out the dryer, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. If your lint comes from natural fibers like cotton and wool, you can use it for one of these purposes.

  1. Start a fire. Dryer lint is flammable, which is why we’re urged to clean out the trap after each load of laundry. Collect it in a sealed jar to use as tinder the next time you start a fire in your backyard fire pit. For a self-contained fire starter, stuff cardboard toilet paper rolls with lint.
  2. Use as mulch. You can add dryer lint as a mulch around potted plants as long as you’re not using dryer sheets, which may leave an unwanted chemical residue.
  3. Prevent erosion. When spread out and dampened with water, dryer lint can form a barrier to protect soil from erosion. If you don’t like the look of soggy lint, use the lint as an underlayer and cover with decorative stones.
  4. Discourage weeds. Just like a thick layer of lint can prevent erosion, a base of dryer lint can prevent weeds as well. Use it as a substitute for landscape fabric and top with a decorative mulch.
  5. Add to compost. Lint from natural fibers is biodegradable, so you can add it to the compost pile as a source of carbon.
  6. Oil down tools. Use a clump of dryer lint to apply linseed oil to wooden-handle tools to keep them from cracking, and to metal parts (after cleaning) to keep them from rusting. Then toss the lint in the trash.
  7. Line garden containers. Line the bottom of a plant pot with dryer lint to keep soil from spilling out the drainage hole. The lint layer will also act as a blotter, soaking up extra moisture and making it available for the roots later. This container gardening tip is not recommended for cacti, succulents and other plants that like soil on the dry side.
  8. Soak up spills. Keep a jar of dryer lint in the garage to use when you need to soak up oil spills.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.