Thread Number: 39844
Why did washers need lint filters?
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Post# 590020   4/16/2012 at 19:13 (2,200 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        

i don't see why people complain about washers not having lint filters these days? i think i know, because when washers had lint filters clothes were lint free after line drying but that was in the 60s-80s and its 2012 now, most people dry clothes in the dryer all the time now so i don't really see the need for washers to have a lint filter, yes it would be convenient for line drying but if your drying clothes in the dryer there is a lint filter in the dryer so there is really no need for lint filtering the washer is there?

Post# 590026 , Reply# 1   4/16/2012 at 19:33 (2,200 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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I think it's so things like pet hair especially, aren't left behind in the washer, or on the clothes even, leaving a mess to clean before starting the next load. I've had that happen before especially at the laundromat. Plus extra filtering in the wash, and then the dryer will get out more excess lint, like with new towels.

Post# 590047 , Reply# 2   4/16/2012 at 20:12 (2,200 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Washing Machines Pre-Dated Clothes Dryers

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For home use so having some sort of lint filtering system was seen as a "bonus" for housewives. Just another bell and whistle to advertise one brand machine from another.

Even many early tumble dryers didn't have lint filters, but they did remove fluff. The stuff was just sent spewing out of the vents to cover lawns or whatever.

Once lint filters became almost mandatory in all tumble dryers it reduced the need for such in washing machines. While many top loaders still do have such systems, front loaders do not.

Post# 590056 , Reply# 3   4/16/2012 at 20:33 (2,200 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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Right you are about early clothes dryers. My mom's Apex gas dryer with the automobile spark plug ingnitor had no lint filter. Fortunately my mom was a clothes line fanatic and rarely used the dryer which simply vented under the house for several years.I guess for a long time we were living over a "lint" powder keg.

Post# 590059 , Reply# 4   4/16/2012 at 20:45 (2,200 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
One of my favorite Addams Family running gags:

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Amalgamated lint.

Post# 590066 , Reply# 5   4/16/2012 at 21:03 (2,200 days old) by washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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I think the washer lint filter thing had a lot to do with marketing, but I say every little bit of lint removal helps!

Post# 590068 , Reply# 6   4/16/2012 at 21:04 (2,200 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My mother had an old Bendix gas dryer that did not have a lint filter or a convenient automatic igniter, just a pilot light she would not keep on. Every spring after the snow melted away, there was a huge blanket of lint on the lawn beside the house I would have to go rake up as a kid. Her first washer with a lint filter was a mid level Kenmore and she couldnt believe the amount of lint in each load. Bendix was eventually replaced with a Kenmore 70 gas dryer and she cleaned that lint screen twice during every load. She said it made it dry faster and used less gas.

Post# 590089 , Reply# 7   4/16/2012 at 23:03 (2,199 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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Tim, your mom probably did save a little by cleaning that dryer lint filter twice for each load, but what a hassle lighting and re-lighting that pilot. Even though I was really young I remember the sequence of steps when using my mom's Apex. First you turned this knob that said "Gas" to "on" which started the supply to the pilot. If you walked away you'd start to smell gas. Then you turned this knob marked "Ignition" to "on" and had to hold it there since it would spring back to "off." You would hear the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz of the spark plug lighting the pilot. You held the ignitor on for about 45 seconds or more until the thermocouple heated and the pilot remained on. Then you set the timer, push the red "Start" button and looked through the burner viewing window at the top to make sure it lit. The Apex broiled your clothes through a perforated drum like the old Frigidaire Filtrators. It said Automatic Dryer on the front but I guess it really wasn't.

Post# 590133 , Reply# 8   4/17/2012 at 03:25 (2,199 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Well, my parents old Filter Flo certainly collected a lot of lint from the clothing, but probably not as much as what a dryer would generate.

Lint is, in essence, fabric damage. As the clothing washes, the fibers rub up against each other and shear off, resulting in lint floating in the water.

The GE Filter Flo would pick that up and keep it out of the wash.

Front loaders seem to be immune to this problem because the lint "falls" through the inner tub and ends up in the outer tub, whereas top loaders circulate the lint through the water as it's washing the clothing, hence the reason for lint busting.

What I can't really get over is how dryers end up producing so much more lint than a washer does. Could also be deceptive because wet lint is so much smaller.

I guess the bigger question is, WHICH lint filtering was the most effective?
My first thoughts are the GE Filter Flo, followed by the Norge system, then the Whirlpool "Bed of nails" system...

Just my thoughts anyway...

Post# 590166 , Reply# 9   4/17/2012 at 06:33 (2,199 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Wasn't it also-that in those times the "automatic" lint filters were not available or perfected?

Post# 590171 , Reply# 10   4/17/2012 at 07:17 (2,199 days old) by applianceguy47 ()        

It is a fact that clothes dryers are very hard on clothing and create a lot of wear and tear. 

That is one reason i don't use them anymore. 


I have clothes that are twenty years old.  By gently washing and air drying, you preserve them.  There is also the savings in energy.  In the winter, clothes dried indoors, on a rack create humidity which is healthy.


When staying with  a relative, recently,  and washing my clothes AND using their dryer, I could see the difference.


The only thing about dryers I miss, is the fluffed towels.  But, if I wanted, any dryer, without using heat, could do that.


Post# 590179 , Reply# 11   4/17/2012 at 07:55 (2,199 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Most Effective Automatic Washer Lint Filters

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IMXO [ in my expert opinion ] I would rate the effectiveness as follows.


All KM back-flush self-cleaning filters from 1958- the end of BD washers in the 1980s, WP also used this technology from 1964-the 1980s on selected models.


KM washers with the removable screen type filters from 1956-the mid 1960s were very effective in trapping lint. The brush type WP Magic-Mix filter was almost as effective but a pain to clean. Also the first GE FFs with the metal filter in the ST washers all caught a noticeable amount of lint.


After these there were also quite a few runner ups, the plastic edge filters on WPs,  KMs, Frigidaire 1-18s, WP & KMs basket mounted filters that came out in the early 1980s, Norges, GE FFs with the plastic filter, HPs and SQs tub mounted Self-Cleaning filters and MTs first agitator mounted filters with the SS screen with a gasket on the bottom to keep the lint from merely washing past the screen.


At the end of the pack would be several White Westinghouse edge style filters and MTs agitator mounted filter after it was all plastic. This last groups filters were all but useless.


When I was growing up we had a solid tub 1960 Franklin built washer and then I got a hold of one of my Mothers friends old 1959 LKMs. I rebuilt the LKM about 1967 as the Franklin was pretty much worn out doing laundry for a family of 7 including us 5 boys. One of the first differences that Mom and I noticed was when we went to clean the 1963 KM 70 model lint filter after we started using the 1959 LKM was there was less than 1/2 the amount of lint in the dryers filter after each load. At first Mom and I wondered if there was something wrong with dryers filter LOL. But as I started rebuilding various different washers and we would go back and forth using different machines you could always see the difference in the amount of lint that had been left on the clothes when they went into the dryer by what the dryers filter collected.


Dryers produce very little lint as they are not hard enough on clothing to cause much wear. You can prove this by drying a load of  towels that have just been washed in a TL washer. Then without rewashing re wet the towels and put them through the final spin of the same TL washer and dry them again in the same manner and you will likely see less than 1/2 as much lint in the filter when they are dry.


Note I did leave out one of the best TL washers Lint Filter system which is my old 1948 GE AW6 washer that I traded to Robert. This GE had a very effective and clever Self-Cleaning filter.

Post# 590181 , Reply# 12   4/17/2012 at 08:09 (2,199 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        
a gimmick that was unintentionally useful

I think its possible there was concerns about plumbing,  CU once mentioned the self clean filters on Kenmores and Whirlpools could make sluggish drains worse.  Not that they created any more lint than any other brand,  but they did send a concentrated flow of lint down the drain at the beginning of  the drain cycle. So i would think you would be better off if you could clean a filter, and save some of the lint from the pipes. Early on in the automatic age  plumbing  was retrofitted in existing homes and many times it may not of been up to code as we know it today.  I can tell you i always wash the girls/cats, blanket and towels in the old Tag with a Lint filter and it is packed full  of pet hair at cycles end.  If you are using  a high efficiency machine in a older house with original plumbing, it may be something to consider,  there is the same amount of lint with less water to wash it through the drain pipes.  Similar to the "low flow" toilet discussion we had a few months back.   alr

Post# 590185 , Reply# 13   4/17/2012 at 08:30 (2,199 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My very first washer was a coppertone Kenmore 70 with self cleaning filter I bought used for $100. Worked perfect for 10 years and suddenly refused to pump out the water. I gave it to my brother in law who discovered the filter itself was clogged full. He simply bypassed the filter with a section of hose and used the machine for several more years. Yes Joe, that Bendix pilot was a pain to light each time. You had to go thru the bottom access panel, turn the gas on, push and hold the red button and light it with a long wooden match. It did not have a start button, only a 0 -60 minute timer you turned to start it and it also baked the clothes. Had a very high airflow with a small 3" vent pipe

Post# 590211 , Reply# 14   4/17/2012 at 09:16 (2,199 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Lint became a problem when the laundry was no longer lifted out of the suds and put through the wringer into successive rinse tubs. Lint, like threads and hair, was suspended in the suds which were not drained away through the clothes or it settled to the bottom of the rinse tubs. In automatics, the lint became more noticeable because the fabrics stayed in the same tub for all of the laundering operations done in the washing machine. In the early days of automatics, women not only were more concerned about how their wash looked, but were also more likely to hang it to dry and, on a still day or in the basement, the lint was not blown away. I think dryers are far better at trapping lint than washers and even loads washed in a washer with an effective lint filter give up lint in the dryer.

Post# 591389 , Reply# 15   4/22/2012 at 17:39 (2,194 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Hauled Out The Whirlpool Portable This Weekend

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Just to give the Miele a break, and did several loads of washing.

Am here to tell you that IMHO top loaders do produce more linting of material than H-Axis washers, hence the need for a filter.

The Whirlpool's filter was full of lint as one might expect after each wash, but the tale was told in the dryer. Normally after washing loads in the Miele there is not much if any lint in the dryer's filter, this includes bath linen (terry towels and wash cloths), not this time. Since one separated bed and bath linen for the Whirlpool (the one load would have been easily managed in the Miele), it was clear the *terrycloth* load must have been beated up during the washing by all the lint captured in filter.

Post# 591416 , Reply# 16   4/22/2012 at 19:15 (2,194 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

The 'Tag agitator filter DID do something. Lemme tellya how I know. I had roommates who never cleaned it. You know how hard it is to clean one of those things once lint has dried on it? And I don't mean a little lint, but completely glommed. Now if it was doing nothing, where did the lint come from?

Post# 591422 , Reply# 17   4/22/2012 at 20:06 (2,194 days old) by akronman (Akron/Cleveland Ohio)        
Maytag lint filter

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Maytag filters work adequately, they just aren't the very best, and have to be cleaned thoroughly while still wet right after the load is done.

Post# 591424 , Reply# 18   4/22/2012 at 20:14 (2,194 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Find Wet Cleaning Is True Of Most Manual Models

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I mean the Whirlpool is so easy when it is fresh "lint". Just whack the thing face down against a hard surface and 99% of the stuff comes right off. Mind you apply to much force to that whack and you can break the thing.

The brush filter on Mother Dear's vintage (well by now anyway) Whirlpool was easy as well when wet. Especially if one used a small comb to do the job.

Post# 591431 , Reply# 19   4/22/2012 at 20:31 (2,194 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Automatic lint filters were available relatively early (my '65 Whirlpool set has an automatic lint filter). Looking at the construction, however, I think they were phased out in later models, in favor of the edge-type filter, because the edge type was cheaper, and perhaps because marketing thought that owners were happier to actually see the lint. My '83 Whirlpool washer had one of those edge filters, and I hated it. It didn't catch much, and what it did catch was nearly impossible to clean off the teeth.

I tend to doubt that manual lint filters do much to protect drain plumbing. If a drain system can't handle soft washer lint it's probably got other major problems.

With front loaders most lint gets collected by the dryer lint filter anyway. I've also noticed, at least with the Neptune, that some fabrics produce far more lint than others. Like bamboo fiber throw rugs. Major lint producers in the dryer. Soft fluffy cotton towels, much less. Average load, mostly human and pet hair shows up in the dryer filter.

Post# 591443 , Reply# 20   4/22/2012 at 20:53 (2,194 days old) by washer111 ()        

We are unlucky enough to own a Simpson HE Top loader from around 2009 (the one with Simpson Snot, bad lint filters, unfiltered recirc water etc). The lint filter broke early in the life of the machine.

What we do (sometimes) is use a small panty-hose bag and stick it on the end of the removable inner bit of the agitator (where the rinse aid stuff is put). After a wash, you get around 10 finger nail sized lumps of lint in there, and none on the clothes! The filter in the agitator works because as it agitates, the water inside is spun out, causing suction thru that filter and into the wash bowl. Some of the lint may also float into the outer wash bowl...

This Simpson model only has around 15 drain holes, so that the water saving recirculation could work it's magic... Sadly, that pump is broken now, so we use 10L extra water (or so). We still use Eco Rinse, and that works fine!

I think if we used a dryer, the lint wouldn't be a problem (it isn't anyway). When we were on holiday recently, a fairly recent SQ dryer was in use WITHOUT a vent in the laundry room. There was lint everywhere! It was a fire risk... Management was greedy enough to use that dryer DURING the paying patrons hours of use - instead of the Hoover dryer reserved specifically for the task (Grrr!) They rang our apartment to tell us it was finished, so they could get their washing in (greedy barstards!). Their personal washer was a WP 6ALSR???? which sounded like a steam train during operation! They coin Maytags both had terrible screeches during spin cycle...

Post# 591512 , Reply# 21   4/23/2012 at 01:47 (2,193 days old) by badgerdx ()        

Speaking as a man with a horse and "horse laundry" (towels, wraps, etc)... I'd give my eye teeth for an effective washer filtering system. My '99 Crosley HD20 (Norge-Magtag Performa) has NADA, and after a wash, I have to wipe the fur off the inside of the washer...

Post# 591542 , Reply# 22   4/23/2012 at 07:51 (2,193 days old) by drewz (Alexandria, Virginia)        

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I remember cleaning that nasty filter thing as a child, but now as adult I understand the importance of the thing. Self cleaning means nothing to me or my Kenmores except calling the plumber once every two years because of the lint. Got to be at one end or the other, so now I purchase those mesh lint screens for the end of the washer hose and you would not believe how much lint it catches and fewer calls to plumber. You would think now that most people only have laundry boxes because space does not allow for a laundry tub the appliances makers would put them back on washers.  A major source of mold found in homes, apartments, and condo's are found around laundry boxes.  When stoppages do occur due to lint build up, water is introduced inside the walls where the mold can thrive. And, as everyone knows you cannot use the hose mesh lint screen in a wall laundry box otherwise you would really have a flood. How many people do you think do preventative maintenance on their laundry boxes by snaking them yearly?

Post# 592315 , Reply# 23   4/26/2012 at 10:36 (2,190 days old) by bwoods (Oak Ridge, Tennessee (formerly Dayton, Ohio))        
front load lint filters

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Some of you mentioned that front loaders do not have lint filters. Unless I am imagining it, I recall my mom cleaning a lint filter on her late 1950's Bendix front loaader (when I was very, very young). It seems like it was located behind the lower front panel. I remember it being cyclindrical and having a latch on the fron cover. Is this correct??

As Laundress mentioned, I found wacking, also, to be the most effective method of cleaning my Frigidaire's 1-18 lint filter. Instead of trying to get the lint from out of the bed of nails, I just wack it across my leg and the lint falls out. (although you get a wet leg, but I can't whack it on something hard or it would do damage.

Great picture of you and your horse, Bob!!

Post# 592320 , Reply# 24   4/26/2012 at 11:31 (2,190 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Barry, you are correct in your memories of the Bendix. What you are describing was more of a pump protector (I think Bendix called it a strainer & users called it a lint trap)than a filter because, while it caught lint, it was not actively filtering lint out of the water when the clothes were tumbling around in it. Front loaders did not usually produce as much lint as a TL and the way the tub was perforated allowed solid matter to fall through the holes to be drained away. Was your mom's machine a bolt down or a model with a suspension system? Do you remember what detergent she used in it? Spill the tea.

Post# 592321 , Reply# 25   4/26/2012 at 11:32 (2,190 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Nice horses!

Post# 592406 , Reply# 26   4/26/2012 at 21:11 (2,190 days old) by bwoods (Oak Ridge, Tennessee (formerly Dayton, Ohio))        

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Hey Tom,

I was only five years old, so I don't remember what detergent my mom used, but the Bendix was not a bolt down, but had the suspension. Other memories of it, was that it had a circuit breaker built into the plug. It was getting old and I remember my mom had a lot of trouble with the machine. It frequently would not start tumbling without assist.

She would flip the circuit breaker back and forth and then reach in and try to spin the tub, full of water and clothes, by hand to get it started. She was good ant doing it very quickly so not too much water would slosh out on the floor, but it still made a mess and she would be very frustrated.

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