What happens to dryer lint?
After repeated loads of laundry, I was inspired by how lint peeled off the trap like a sheet of fabric. Instead of discarding it, I wondered how exploring the usability of these fibers could introduce another solution for recycling textiles.
To create a fabric from a fiber, a yarn first has to be made. So in an attempt to create a yarn from dryer lint, I developed one that was rolled and bound by hand, one that was core-spun with wool, and another that was carded with cotton and spun on a charkha (ideal for short-staple fibers).
What benefit does lint offer fabric?
Although a fabric could be made from yarns like the ones pictured above, the lint being an incredibly short fiber would eventually fall back out and would not provide a real benefit besides being temporarily incorporated.
Looking to a similar material for ideas, I learned that the “too short”, leftover cotton on seeds is used in a chemical process to create rayon acetate fabric. Since dryer lint is primarily cotton, I put dryer lint to the test and produced a regenerated cellulosic fiber!
After being dissolved in a chemical mixture, the lint solution reconstitutes as a new synthetic fiber when extruded into a crystallization dish.
With more refinement of the chemical process, a fabric could be developed from these fibers on an industrial scale to produce clothing along with a recycling program for communities to donate dryer lint. The story of where lint comes from would come full circle and add a whole new meaning to secondhand clothes.