Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creative Commodities: Dryer Lint

I had a great idea the other night to find more uses for items in and around our house every day-especially RE-USING them instead of wasting them, so I will be doing posts once a week called "Creative Commodities". If anyone has good ideas and wants to guest post, let me know! I have some good idea's brewing in my head, so I am excited for this!

My first creative commodity: Dryer lint.

I hate dryer lint. It's one of those things that we all have, and always have enough (or too much) of but it seems like no one ever knows what to do with it besides throw it out with the trash. I have been trying to get creative ideas for more uses for our normal household items, (more posts on "creative commodities" to come in the future, like for example, uses for orange peels) and believe it or not there are actually a lot of things you can do with dryer lint besides tossing it into the trash. Here are some:

Dryer lint is VERY flammable, so it makes great kindling for starting fires. Trust me. I actually tried this one summer at girl's camp. It really works. Wanna make it all fancy? Melt used candles/wax/broken or half eaten crayons in a coffee can in a pan of simmering water. Stuff the lint into a cardboard egg cartons. Pour the melted wax over the lint. (carefully, of course....) Let dry. You can use these as fire starters in your fireplace at home. You WILL want to be careful, though. How it burns will depend VERY much on what the lint is made out of! Anything man made will melt, smoke, smell like burning plastic, and put out fumes you don't want to be around. Cotton, wool, or linen dryer lint, on the other hand, is fine. If you have a question, take some outside in your driveway and burn it. If it turns into little hard beads, don't put it in your fireplace. (Thanks, Kathy)

Dryer lint actually makes an excellent packing material. Moving soon? Selling items on Ebay? Need to ship them? Hate buying bubble envelopes or big white peanuts? Well, there ya go! You can use it in small envelopes, big boxes, anything! (Too bad it isn't as fun to get as those plastic bubbles that my kids love popping!) I guess some people might be like - What the dryer lint?!- when they open it up, but really....should they complain? At least it smells good and their package was safe. For the record, I wouldn't care. You can send me anything you want wrapped in lint. Preferably Kit-Kats.

I had no idea that dryer lint can be reformed into cloth! After saving up your dryer lint you can spin it much like wool into a fine thread. You can use this thread for weaving or you can crochet or knit it into a blanket, sweater, or scarf! Don't believe me? Check out this cool site!

Make clay for the kids with dryer lint. Here's how:
1 1/2 cups lint from the dryer
1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
2 drops wintergreen mint flavoring
Old newspaper

Directions: Place the lint in a saucepan and cover it with the water. When the lint is saturated, add the flour and stir until it is smooth. Add the drops of wintergreen oil flavoring. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it forms peaks and holds together. Pour it onto newspaper to cool. Shape and model figures, or cover a form with it, such as a balloon. Allow to dry for 3 to 5 days, then paint and decorate as required.
Dryer lint is for the birds. No, really. Put some lint out in your trees or in your yard and they'll go to town! It is great for their nests!

Do you have a compost pile or neighborhood worm farm? (Ok, no EVERYone is cool enough to have a worm farm. I'm not) But if you are, lint can be added to your compost pile or a worm farm and will be great food for the worms, and help make your soil extra healthy for that garden that I know you are all growing!
Use dryer lint for kid’s craft projects. You can shape dryer lint into almost anything or use it in place of cotton balls. You can easily glue it onto paper. Add a little glitter. Go wild. Let your wildest lint dreams come true. You can also use lint for things like hair and fur when you are making crafts. That actually sounds kinda creepy.......

It can be used as a mulch for your plants. Just put it around the base of them and it will keep them warm and moist. GENIUS! I had no idea it could protect your plants from the cold.

I have heard that it makes a great draft dodger. There are two ways that I have read about. First, you can stuff it into pantyhose (to make a long draft dodger OR you can stuff old tube socks with the lint. Just stick it in front of your doors or other places in your house that get drafty and it'll keep the cold air out during the winter, and more importantly for those of us in AZ, keep the cool air IN during the summer!

Dryer lint can be used to make homemade paper. Just put your dryer lint into a blender along with some old shredded paper. Soak the paper and lint with water and wait fifteen minutes. Next blend the mixture on medium speed. Pour your paper and lint mixture onto a screen and shape your paper. Press the excess water out of the paper and let it dry. I remember doing this in elementary school. Good times, good times.

You can use dryer lint as batting for blankets, stuffing for dolls and animals as well as for pillows. If anyone has ever done this, let me know. I guess that it would be washable and also smell pretty good.

Any other great ideas for giving dryer lint a second chance? Has anyone given up using a dryer and gone to good ole clothes lines? I'm seriously considering it this summer!!

1 comment:

Connie said...

You and I have had this conversation...super good ideas! :D