Dirty dryer filters and vents release lint into bathrooms. Dirty HVAC filters also release dust and lint. Cheap toilet paper releases lots of dust. New towels shed lint until they’ve been washed repeatedly. Birds shed feather dust, and pets shed dander; these can gather in bathrooms.
Having some lint in your bathroom is normal. You would probably just call it dust and wipe the surfaces once a week like you do all over the house. However, when you can start to recognize that it is lint and not just dust, it means that it has gotten a little out of hand.
The most common suspects when this happens are clothing items and a dirty dryer filter. However, there are other elements that could be responsible and sometimes you might be dealing with something else that looks similar to lint.
Dirty Dryer Filter Releases Lint
Dryer filters are commonly referred to as lint or fluff filters. Every dryer has one and most modern appliances feature a sensor that notifies you when the filter is full. Whether you have a dryer with a sensor or not, cleaning out the filter should definitely be part of your dryer routine.
It is recommended that lint be removed from the filter after every wash. You also need to properly dispose of the lint so that it doesn’t litter your home.
If lint is left in the filter for long, it not only affects the performance of your dryer but also invades your room whenever you open the dryer.
Unfortunately, lint filters can only collect about 25% of the lint that sheds into your dryer. The rest settles in the vent. As the lint builds up in the vent, it can move back into the bathroom. When this happens, you’ll notice excessive amounts of lint in your home.
One way to prevent this from happening is to clean your dryer vent at least twice every year.
Lint build-up in vents is also very dangerous, so cleaning them is important.
Another factor that can lead to lint build-up is the excessive use of fabric softener.
Even if your dryer isn’t located in your bathroom, the wispy texture of lint allows it to easily move from one point to another. If your dryer is in a room near the bathroom, then lint is easily carried into the bathroom by the air currents created by an operating exhaust fan.
New Towels Produce Lint
Most good-quality towels shed lint until they have been washed a couple of times. An Egyptian cotton towel, for example, requires about 10 washes before it stops releasing large amounts of lint.
So, if you just purchased a towel, the lint in your bathroom could be because the towel is shedding some of its fluffy fabric.
Additionally, most towels are coated with a waxy fabric softener that attracts dust and lint. So the towel might have gathered lint during its time on the shelf.
When you wash new towels, they shed a great deal of lint, which makes your problem worse before it gets better. Clean the washer filter and the dryer filter out after each wash to prevent it from spreading in the bathroom and house. Eventually, the towels will stop shedding so much in your bathroom when you use them.
Lint Released From Toilet Paper
Most toilet papers are composed of short cellulose fiber. This factor, coupled with its soft and fluffy texture, makes it a delicate material.
Most standard toilet papers shed lint-like fiber when they’re handled, but poorly manufactured tissue paper tends to disintegrate at will, leaving behind much more dusty and lint-like debris.
If you put this type of toilet paper on a roll holder, it would most likely shed tiny fibers whenever you roll out the tissue and tear off some pieces. It could even disintegrate without being touched (I swear, you can look at some cheap toilet paper and it will fall apart).
To prevent toilet paper dust from building up in your bathroom, opt for lint-free toilet paper (amazon link). Alternatively, you could completely prevent this occurrence by replacing your toilet roll with wipes (amazon link) or a bidet (amazon link).
Time to Change HVAC Air Filters
HVAC filters serve the dual purpose of protecting your home from contaminants as well as preventing your HVAC ducts from getting clogged by dirt and debris.
The filter traps impurities like dust, mold, lint, pet hair, and pollen before they can contaminate the air in your house.
Lint-clogged HVAC filters make it difficult for air to pass through and when air does pass through the filter, it forcefully blows lint into your home. If the filter is situated close to the bathroom, this lint could easily move into the room, especially if your bathroom fan is running.
Standard HVAC filters are expected to be changed every 1-3 months. High-quality filters, on the other hand, can last for up to 6-12 months.
Are There Birds Living/Nesting Nearby?
Birds get something known as feather dust. Growing up, I had an African Grey Parrot and his cage would get covered in grey lint-like particles that accumulated quickly even though we cleaned the cage twice a week. The dust would also land on the floor and nearby surfaces.
If you have a pet bird in your house, especially if you keep it near the bathroom, then the “lint” you see may actually be feather dust, or at least some of it might be.
Our parrot also used to shed tiny little grey feathers from the area around his face. These are so small and fluffy that they look like little lint balls.
Even if you don’t have a pet bird, these animals can be contributing to the lint problem in your bathroom when you open the window to provide natural ventilation.
Nearby nesting birds or daily visitors could shed feather dust near the open window and air currents would be able to bring these lightweight particles inside.
Getting Rid of Lint in Your Bathroom
The first step towards having a lint-free bathroom is to identify the source of the lint and then take relevant measures.
- Regularly clean your dyer filter and vents: These are often the main sources of actual lint in your bathroom. Cleaning out the filter is usually pretty simple, so you can just cultivate a habit of doing so after every use. I also keep a closed bin right by the dryer so that I can quickly dispose of the lint.
- Wash new towels thoroughly before use: In most cases, the lint wouldn’t come off after just one wash; it usually takes at least 4 rounds of washing. A helpful tip is to wash them with white vinegar alongside your regular detergent. If the lint production doesn’t completely stop, clean up the space immediately after using the towel, preferably with an old towel that has stopped shedding!
- Avoid cheap toilet papers: Switch to high-quality paper or a paperless method of cleaning up after you use the toilet.
- Change your HVAC filter: As I stated earlier, clogged HVAC filters could cause lint and dust to spread around your house. Before purchasing a new filter, find out the size of the current one. You can do this by checking the sides of the filter (the size is sometimes printed there) or you could use a measuring tape to check its dimensions.
- Remove loose fuzz from carpets, rugs, or bath mats: Your bathroom carpet might be shedding lint-like fibers into your bathroom. To remove the fuzz without damaging the carpet, it’s best to use a vacuum suction attachment.
- Move the birdcage: If you do have a bird, consider moving the cage further away from the bathroom. Of course, this will result in feather dust settling in the new location, but this new location is unlikely to also have dryer lint, toilet paper dust, towel lint, etc., making it less of an issue.
- Groom pets outdoors: I have spoken about birds, but if you groom your pets in the bathroom, their hair could clump together or disintegrate into a lint-like substance. To prevent this, groom your pets outside, and if you would rather do it indoors, clean up immediately after you’re done.
- Clean your bathroom regularly. For optimal results, use a vacuum instead of a broom to clean the floor. Lint is not the only particulate matter that can build up in a bathroom. Regular cleaning will also help reduce dust in the bathroom.