How to Remove Lint From Washing Machines

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Washing machines, like other major appliances, require regular maintenance to operate properly. One simple but often overlooked maintenance task is lint removal. If left unchecked, lint can clog hoses and can cause your machine to run inefficiently, which can eventually lead to a costly visit from the plumber. Lint buildup in the tub of the washing machine can also house mold and mildew spores that can make your freshly-laundered items smell unwashed. Fortunately it is simple to remove lint from your washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Rag or sponge
  • Comb
  • Determine whether your machine has a lint screen. Lint screens are typically located in the center tube of the agitator, near the top of the tub or near the drainage hose on the back of the washer. Some models have lint screens on the bottom front of the washer's metal casing. If you are unsure of the location of your washer's lint screen, consult the owner's manual. If your washing machine does not have a lint screen, go to step 3.

  • Use a slightly damp, clean rag or sponge to gently remove lint from the screen. Use an old comb to dislodge stubborn lint.

  • Use a slightly damp rag or sponge to remove any visible lint from the tub, particularly areas near the gap between the tub and the washing machine's metal casing.

  • Unhook the drainage hose from the back of the washer. Rinse the inside of the hose with a low-pressure stream of water. When finished, reattach the hose.

  • Start the washer without adding anything to the tub. Instead of detergent, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the cycle. The vinegar loosens any remaining lint that might be present. You can then wash the lint away during the drain cycle.

Tips & Warnings

  • To regularly maintain your washer, wipe the front, sides and the top of the tub before each wash. Clean the lint screen before each wash. When finished, throw the lint in the trash, and add the rag to your laundry.
  • If you have a washer that does not have a lint screen, consider buying one to attach near your hose. Check your local hardware store for suitable models.
  • If you've cleaned your washing machine, but your clothes still smell of mold or mildew, start the washer without adding anything to the tub except a cup of vinegar. After the tub fills, stop the cycle and let the mixture soak for several hours (or even overnight) before restarting the washing machine.

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