How to Remove Lint from Towels – A Complete Guide

Lint on towels can be annoying and make them look dingy. With some simple methods, you can remove lint from both new and old towels. Follow this guide to learn proven techniques to get your towels looking fluffy and fuzz-free again.

What is Lint and Why Remove it?

Towels often have small, loose pieces of fabric called lint stuck to their surface. This fuzz comes from the towel itself or from other fabrics that have been washed with the towel.

Over time, accumulated lint causes towels to become:

  • Rough and scratchy – Lint prevents towels from feeling soft against the skin.
  • Less absorbent – Lint fibers block moisture absorption into the towels.
  • Prone to holes – Lint buildup can accelerate the formation of holes and thinning spots.
  • Dingy looking – Lint often attracts dirt, soap scum, and other debris that dulls the appearance of towels.

Remove Lint from New Towels

Brand new towels often have fuzz on them right out of the packaging. Here are a few simple methods to remove fuzz from new towels before using them for the first time.

1. Wash Before Use

The easiest way to remove fuzz from new towels is to give them a wash before using them for the first time.

  1. Add the new towels to the washing machine. Avoid washing them with other fabrics which could transfer fuzz.
  1. Wash on a regular cycle with hot water. The heat from the water will help loosen fuzz on the towels.
  1. Use a mild detergent. Harsh detergents could prematurely wear down the fabric.
  1. Air dry the towels or put them in the dryer on low heat. High heat can actually burn fuzz into the fabric.

Washing new towels before first use will remove the majority of fuzz and get them ready for use.

A person using a lint roller to remove lint from a towel.

2. Lint Roller

You can also use a lint roller to remove fuzz from new towels. Here are the steps:

  1. Lay the towel flat on a clean surface.
  1. Roll a lint roller over the entire surface, pressing down firmly.
  1. Pay close attention to fuzzy areas where lint tends to gather.
  1. Keep rolling the roller over the towel until there is no more fuzz.

Roller provides a quick way to remove excess fuzz without having to wash the towels first.

Remove Lint from Old Towels

Over time, towels will accumulate lint from regular use and washing. Here are some simple ways to get rid of lint on your old towels.

1. Wash with Vinegar

White vinegar works wonders for removing fuzz from all types of fabrics, including towels.

  1. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the washing machine detergent dispenser.
  1. Wash towels with hot water. Vinegar works best in hot water.
  1. Use your regular detergent and wash as usual. The vinegar will help break down lint and residue.
  1. Dry the towels completely. The lint will be removed in the washing process.

The acidic properties of vinegar help remove lint, soap scum, and other buildup from towel fibers. It’s safe, economical, and effective.

A towel being brushed with a lint brush.

2. Dissolve with Fabric Softener

Adding liquid fabric softener to the wash can help dissolve lint on cotton towels.

  1. Add 1/4 cup fabric softener to the machine dispenser during the rinse cycle.
  1. Wash towels as normal with detergent and hot water.
  1. The fabric softener will help break down lint and soften the towels during rinsing.
  1. Dry the towels completely after washing.

The conditioning agents in fabric softener help remove lint by dissolving it off the towel fibers. Use this method for a soft, lint-free outcome.

3. Lint Brush

To remove lint from small areas of a towel, use a lint brush.

  1. Allow the towel to fully air dry after washing.
  1. Lay the towel on a flat surface. Rub the brush briskly over lint gatherings.
  1. The small bristles will grab lint and remove it from the towel.
  1. Work in sections until the entire towel surface is fuzz-free.
  1. Apply firm, steady pressure with the brush until the lint is removed.

Brushes are ideal for removing excess fuzz off the surface of towels.

A linty towel being brushed with a lint brush.

4. Lint Razor

A lint razor is another handy tool for removing lint from towel surfaces.

  1. Lay the towel flat and hold the lint razor at a 45 degree angle.
  1. Apply mild pressure and shave the razor across areas with fuzz buildup.
  1. The razor’s sharp blades will cut and remove lint from the fibers.
  1. Cover all areas needing lint removal. Rinse the razor as needed.
  1. Be careful not to press too hard or you could damage the towel.

Razors provide a quick, easy way to shave away unwanted fuzz.

Tips for Reducing Lint

Here are some extra tips to keep towels lint-free for longer:

  • Shake out towels thoroughly before washing. This removes loose lint before it enters the machine.
  • Use a lint roller on towels between washes to remove surface fuzz.
  • Wash towels separately from fuzz-producing fabrics like sweaters and blankets.
  • Use a mild, high quality detergent that rinses cleanly.
  • Avoid over-drying towels which can lock lint into fibers.
  • Store towels in a closed cabinet to protect from airborne fuzz.

How Often to Remove Lint from Towels

  • New towels – Wash before first use and as needed when lint appears initially.
  • Personal bath towels – Weekly, either wash completely or touch up with a lint roller between full washes.
  • Kitchen towels – Every 2-3 uses, since they collect lint from dishwashing.
  • Gym towels – After every use to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Beach and pool towels – Immediately after use to avoid fuzz.

Safety Considerations

When using substances like vinegar or fabric softener, be sure to take proper safety precautions:

  • Use white vinegar in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing in fumes directly. Vinegar is acidic and can irritate airways.
  • Check fabric softener labels and don’t exceed recommended amounts. Use as directed to avoid residue buildup on towels.
  • Rinse towels thoroughly after using any chemical method to remove any lingering residues.

When to Replace Linty Towels

If your towels have become excessively linty, it may be time to replace them:

  • If your towels have a lot of fuzzy balls of lint (pilling), it’s time to throw them away. They will keep falling off, even after washing.
  • Thin, worn towels that feel rough often produce heavy fuzz due to shortened fibers.
  • Towels with holes or thinning fabric tend to release lint from loose weave areas.


Lint on towels is a common annoyance, but with the right techniques you can keep your towels soft and lint-free. Washing before first use, using vinegar, and products like brushes and razors all help remove fuzz. Follow these tips and your towels will look great wash after wash.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer to common queries.

How do you get lint fuzz off towels?

You can remove lint from towels by washing them with vinegar added to the wash cycle. The acidic vinegar helps break down fuzz residue. Products like lint rollers, brushes, and razors are also effective for removing surface lint fuzz.

Why do my towels leave lint on me?

Towels leave lint on you because of the loose fibers that make up the fabric. Over time, these fibers can break down and form lint balls which can stick to your skin and cloths.

How do you get towels clean and fluffy?

To get towels clean and fluffy, wash them in hot water with a mild detergent. You can also add vinegar to the wash cycle to help remove lint and soften the towels. After washing, dry the towels on a low heat setting.

What is used to soften towels and reduce lint?

There are several products that can be used to soften towels and reduce lint. Fabric softener is one common option. Fabric softener coats the fibers of the towel, making them feel softer and reducing the amount of lint that is produced. Vinegar is another effective option. Vinegar helps to break down lint and soften the fibers of the towel.

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