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Whatever happened to washing machine lint filters?
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Post# 778503   8/21/2014 at 18:05 (885 days old) by murando531 (Huntsville, AL)        

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It seems like there was an abrupt stop to the use of any lint filtering system over the past 10-15 years, manually or automatically cleaning, but why? It's not as though clothes no longer produce lint, unless I'm just shopping in the wrong places.

This thought struck me after we bought a set of eight solid white bath towels the other day, 100% cotton. Now, they aren't fancy, as it was an 8-pack from Sam's Club, but I've been wanting us to have towels that were hotel-style, great at absorbing, and easily sanitized now and again through a bleach run. Of course, I put all eight into the washer immediately, with hot water and detergent. During the rinse I poured in a cup of vinegar to rid them of any factory oils and public funk that stuck to them while in the store. When they were dried, I could have stuffed a pillow with the fluffy lint build-up on the dryer filter. I put them through a couple of 30-minute air tumble cycles just to loosen and catch as much as I could. Upon use, they still of course have some fluffies that stick in your hair and fall all over the floor. I realized then: All the lint and fluff that rubs off in the washer just floats around with the towels, and when it's all done, what hasn't gone down the drain is left stuck to either the towels or the tub and interior.

The new WP belt-drive I have has no lint management system at all. I took the agitator off a while back, and where the openings would have normally been for water flow through the "MagicClean" filter, or the round finger-style inserts that came about later, there are just tiny little slits, which ironically were all plugged with tiny fibers from the water that was pulled from the unaltered vanes on the hidden underside of the agitator. There is also no filter assembly underneath the basket according to the diagrams. I've noticed that every newer machine (that I've researched or am aware of) has no form of lint catcher. Even the 2002 Maytag MAV I have over at my father-in-law's is the same, which actually did cause issues in regards to linty towels and the like.

I wonder why they now deem lint filters unnecessary in machines. The trend for dishwashers lately is to have manually cleaned filters, which is the opposite method I'd want for handling nasty food bits and grime, yet I'd be perfectly happy tapping a washing machine filter into a garbage can, or better yet, knowing that the washer will catch it and then flush it down the drain automatically, especially when I'm washing the dog's bedding or towels used to bathe him. No matter how much you shake outside, there's always the endless battle of wiping out leftover hair in the washer's tub, and that much more to block up the filter in the dryer.

Post# 778514 , Reply# 1   8/21/2014 at 18:49 (885 days old) by washman (Butler, PA)        
Not sure if there ever was an

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official stoppage per se, but if I had to guess, I would say cost. Any person at any company that can take a few cents cost out of a product is a person to watch, an up and commer if there ever was one.

Second reason is laziness. Who, after spending countless hours trending, crowdsourcing, insourcing, watching DWTS, a reality show, and telling the world of your every move on Facebook has the time to clean a lint filter?

Third reason is Americans are, for the most part, brain dead. They refuse to do anything beyond breathing, performing bathroom biological tasks, sleeping and posting on Twitter to even give 2 seconds thought to cleaning a lint filter. Which is why they go ga-ga over the techo laden, eco-approved computers in the laundry room. Why think about your load, the temp, the detergent when you can dump it all in and 3 hours later, maybe sans error code, have it done?

Post# 778520 , Reply# 2   8/21/2014 at 19:14 (885 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Lint filtering

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If I recall correctly, it was decided on this board that filtering the wash water was obsolete with the switch from line drying to an automatic dryer.

I could be wrong, but that is what I recall...


Post# 778577 , Reply# 3   8/21/2014 at 22:42 (884 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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My belief is that lint filters in washers was a way the manufacturers would use a screen ,brush or perforated tray or pan to catch any loose fabric the vigorous agitation would cause. They also used it as a step up feature on different models to make more of a profit. I,personally saw no real use for it other then to increase profit and use as a sales tool. If that isn't true and lint filters are a must to have with washers,they'd have them today. Especially top load agitator type washers.

Post# 778580 , Reply# 4   8/21/2014 at 23:48 (884 days old) by murando531 (Huntsville, AL)        

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Those are all great points, especially yours washman haha. I had quite a chuckle at that. Still, with that logic being completely true, it strikes me as even more odd that it is now common to have a manual filter in a dishwasher. It is much easier to pop out a tray/cup/what-have-you from a waist high machine than to get down on the floor to twist out the screen from the bottom of a tall tub dishwasher.

It would seem to me that filtering some of the excess lint would actually help the dryer's airflow, increasing its efficiency. I know there was a big difference between when we had our KitchenAid with the MagicClean filter versus after we got the Maytag Atlantis with no filter, at least in the dryer's case, particularly with towels. The top mounted filter, which has much more capacity and surface area than a front mounter, would be absolutely packed.

It also seems that eco-minded people would prefer to have a way to reduce the amount of lint going down the drain and into the water system. It would at least be a very helpful feature to be incorporated into washers with recirculation pumps as a solution when washing pet bedding and new clothes.

I created a make-shift, albeit temporary, solution last night when rewashing the new towels in an attempt to reduce the lint even further. The WP being electronic, I've memorized the dial combination to put the machine into manual diagnostics mode, and at that point can control any aspect of the machine at will, be it fill valves, agitation, spin, drain pump, and all at the same time if desired. So, I got an old mesh screened kitchen sink strainer, pulled the drain hose around so that it could go back into the tub, filled the tub with the towels added, and let it agitate. I then started the drain pump and let the water flow back into the washer through the screen, catching layers upon layers of fuzz from the towels, cleaning the screen while letting the drain pump rest for a bit at a time. By the time I got tired of doing it, I had a nice golf ball shaped wad of wet lint, and the fuzz was still coming. The dryer's filter, again, came out looking like a dense cloud.

Post# 778583 , Reply# 5   8/22/2014 at 00:37 (884 days old) by washer111 ()        
My Solution...

Our previous Simpson TL machine had a lint filter, a pathetic affair that broke in short order.

My solution: Use a panty-hose bag strapped around the agitator caught a significant amount of lint and really helped.
This should hopefully work the same for you if your agitator works the same. If not - maybe you can find some other DIY solution to your problem.

Post# 778598 , Reply# 6   8/22/2014 at 06:08 (884 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

The manual non flush lint trap would be good for those folks like me that have septic tanks instead of a sewer line.And even the sewer co would benefit-they don't have to clean accumilated lint from their sewer lines.A manual lint trap or dish wouldn't bother me at all.It doesn't take THAT long to empty it.

Post# 778606 , Reply# 7   8/22/2014 at 07:00 (884 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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More man-made fibers, processing and coating/treatments of the "natural" clothing fibers reduce the amount of linting significantly. 


Most U.S. washer users have an automatic tumble-dryer so whatever small amount of lint makes it that far is abraded away by the tumbling action and trapped in the dryer's lint catcher.  Active lint filtering wasn't necessarily a gimmick if you hung most of your clothes on the line to dry, but those days are past.  At least for now.

Post# 778656 , Reply# 8   8/22/2014 at 09:35 (884 days old) by brib68 (Central Connecticut)        
Lint filters

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My LG front loader (WM0642) has a catcher basket that pulls out from the lower front of the machine (not the washing compartment, it's accessed from the front panel)that catches lint, but seems to be mainly meant to catch coins, buttons and other misc debris before it gets into the pump and causes major damage. I've only pulled it out once or twice and the lint collected on it is always minimal. Certain loads, however will generate serious lint in the dryer. My wackadoo theory is that newer washers (front-loaders, at least) have a much more gentle action on the clothes, so less lint is put off, whereas dryers are still basically the same and the clothes have a lot more friction off each other as they tumble, so more lint is generated. That, or Bigfoot gets to the washer lint ahead of me while he is stealing single socks. ;)

Post# 778657 , Reply# 9   8/22/2014 at 09:44 (884 days old) by nmassman44 (Boston North Shore Massachusetts)        

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I know my SQ washer has a filter under the washbasket. That said it's rather useless in some ways since I do line dry and the lint I get from that washer is eye opening. My GE front loader on the other hand does a better job at filtering since it uses the wash vanes to sweep the lwater of lint.
Malcolm is right I also read in a GE washer manual that if you have linting issues, a dryer will take care of it. New towels will shed lint like crazy, the worst offenders that I ever encountered were The Big One towels that are sold at Kohls. No matter how many times I washed them when I got them, they still filled the lint filter of the dryer, and they had loose lint on the surface of the towels. After a month of washing I still got mega lint....I still have the towels and they don't shed anywhere near what they did new...but they are not as thick either.

Post# 778674 , Reply# 10   8/22/2014 at 12:31 (884 days old) by brib68 (Central Connecticut)        

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You are right, nmassman44! By their nature, terry towels will shed a lot of lint the first several times through the wash. I learned long ago not to mix loads of my good towels because they come out covered with contrasting lint. I have a couple sets of super thick Ralph Lauren towels that are several years old, but are good as new, and they hardly give off lint in the dryer any more. On the other hand, I had a set of Wamsutta towels that I got when Filene's was clearing out old merchandise to make way for Macy's. They seem like they shed themselves to death. They don't seem nearly as thick as when they were new, and I quit using them because they wouldn't dry us off after a shower.

I miss the Royal Velvet towels I used to snag on clearance with my employee discount when I worked at LS Ayres in Fort Wayne. Most of them are still around, but nothing is a matched set, so they are all just spares now.

Post# 778681 , Reply# 11   8/22/2014 at 12:57 (884 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
I second what Malcom said

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I was advised by both a sales person and a repair person that the washer lint filter was deemed unnecessary due to most people machine drying and the dryer would handle the lint. Back when more people line dried it was more important for the washer to catch the lint.

Post# 778735 , Reply# 12   8/22/2014 at 16:01 (884 days old) by jerrod6 (Downtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

Perhaps most dryers will catch some of the lint but many dryers will just blow the lint outside or let it get trapped inside the dryer and pipes.  No wonder there are dryer fires. Excess lint is still in the wash water.  I use a metal type lint filter that slides over the end of the drain pipe.  You roll it on like a condom.  It  catches a lot of lint and prevents it from going down the drain, but you will still have lint from new items in the dryer.  I like the use of these washer filters because most of my laundry is cotton and therefore linty regardless of their age. 


My washer has a trap that is present before the pump.  You access it through a door in the front, but I believe it is there to prevent damage to the pump and not to filter lint.  In fact the user manual makes no mention of lint and instead talks about coins, buttons, zippers and clips, so the lint sails right on through.

Post# 778773 , Reply# 13   8/22/2014 at 19:49 (883 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
By and large yes, those traps on fronters

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Are there to protect the pump from items such as buttons, coins, hair pins, etc... that might cause damage. Some do a better job of catching lint than others besides, but still.

Speaking as one who recently spent several days with a backed up sink drain that nothing would solve until a man was called out, laundry water should not be allowed to drain "unfiltered". It took the man over an hour with an electric powered snake to dislodge the mass blocking our drains. Turns out it was deep into the pipes inside the walls. When he pulled the snake out afterwards could see what one could tell were bits of lint and God only knows what else.

Have various filters that fit over the sink drain to catch lint, but one did get sloppy about using. It became such a bore because after one or two of the six changes of water by the Miele the things would be clogged. If not cleared you'd have an overflow situation. This is more apparent with the Miele than say the OKO-Lavamat because the former uses five gallons for the "Normal" wash and ten or so for each of the five rinses. OTOH the Lavamat is much more frugal.

Have taken to simply covering the end of washer drain hose with half a pair of nylons. Use a twist tie to keep the thing secured and it works a treat. Far cheaper as well than what one gets at the shops.

All methods of washing laundry produce lint. Tumble loaders perhaps less so than beaters/agitators but never the less lint is created and it is not a good idea to send it down the drains. Of course if one has a sink/drains dedicated to just laundry the perhaps the clogging issue will be lessened. But if using the kitchen sink or any other were greases, fats, oils, bits of food, dishwasher drains, etc.... then you risk combining lint with that lot. Sooner or later you are going to have the mother of all clogs.

Post# 779147 , Reply# 14   8/24/2014 at 19:31 (881 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

I have to say I've absolutely never had any issue with blocked drains with Miele and other machines that just have coin traps.

Likewise with the dishwasher I've never had any issue.

Our washer just goes straight down a stand pipe with simple U-bend trap and then into a normal drain gully outside.

In a lot of plumbing systems here the drains for sinks and washing machines enter the sewers via a gully trap (drain) outside the house, rather than going directly into a pipe. The toilets would be the only items with a direct connection.

In newer buildings they would possibly connect directly, but the gully-trap approach is still very common.

Like this or, with more modern plastic pipes.

Most drainage is done outside the house on the exterior walls as there's no risk of freezing

You'd just have different gullies for rainwater and foul water, so you wouldn't put your roof water down the sewer or your washing machine suds and shower down the surface water drainage.

Post# 779333 , Reply# 15   8/25/2014 at 14:01 (881 days old) by jerrod6 (Downtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

Hmm  I am going to say that I think in my city everything is going down to one place. In my case I have a sump pump in my laundry that the sink drains into because the waste water pipe is on the other side of the house and is actually suspended from the ceiling until it reaches near the outside wall of the house, then it suddenly plunges down about 7 feet from the ceiling to the ground and runs outside.


The rain water from the gutters also runs through pipes from the outside to the inside and to this main waste water pipe.  Our water department also adds a storm water charge to our sewer bills( I don't like this because they charge everyone the same amount based on what they think the average size of a house is.  Just some BS explanation to get more money. ) so I think they are expecting all water to enter the same sewers. 

Post# 913487 , Reply# 16   1/1/2017 at 13:24 by Ann (ABQ)        
Miss those lint filters

Well, I remember them quite well. What happened is that people started using clothes dryers which caught the lint. Now that I'm trying to be "green", I miss that function of the old washers. So now I'm left with lint and animal hair after washing which would have been collected by the old lint filters. I think it's time to re-introduce them!

Post# 913570 , Reply# 17   1/2/2017 at 04:06 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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Lint filters on washing machines were never really anymore that a gimmick or selling gadget to begin with. It was GE washer's big claim to fame was for years. The dryer is what catches the lint anyway. The tiny bit of lint an old GE FF catches is nothing compared to what the dryer catches and clothes look about the same coming out of a washer with no lint filter at all. The only time a lint filter on a washer might have some advantage is when you are hanging things to dry, but even then the results are minimal.

Post# 913585 , Reply# 18   1/2/2017 at 07:55 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I agree mostly Bruce.

Here is why; My old Maytag had the lint filter beneath the fabric softener cup in the agitator. It did collect some lint, but never as much as the lint screen I had on the drain hose over the laundry sink.
My next Maytag from 1995 had screens in the tub bottom, same thing with the sink lint screen. My current Whirlpool product has a plastic comb like filter and same thing.
The old belt driven Whirlpool self cleaning filter that had small metal balls in it likely would have clogged had it collected any substantial lint build up.
Still, my mom always used an old nylon stocking over the drain hose, and still had lots of dryer lint.

Post# 913681 , Reply# 19   1/2/2017 at 18:34 by Intuitive (Sydney-Australia)        

The machine says it filters by pushing the water through the internal perforated drum leaving lint ready to go scooting down the drain on the next pump out. Apart from the odd escaping tissue, i have never had fluff issues or drain clogs BUT i think we have bigger drainage pipes 100mm minimum on all pvc pipes. Both gray & black water share same lines. I line dry 90% of the washing.


Post# 913915 , Reply# 20   1/4/2017 at 11:12 by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
My opinion

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This is only my opinion with no specific proof to back it up.


The GE Filter-flo was more efficient at handling lint not because of the filter pan, but because of the spin-drain.  Same with Maytag.    When we moved to a house and had a Whirlpool neutral drain, you would find a layer of lint on top of  your clothes.

Post# 913919 , Reply# 21   1/4/2017 at 11:33 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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That makes a fairly valid point that solid tub washers with overflow rinse and spin out at the top of the tub does get rid of lint.

Post# 913925 , Reply# 22   1/4/2017 at 12:01 by wishwash (Illinois)        

Those higher end WP and GE top loaders with the recirculation spray could easily have lint filters added, but imagine all the complaints from customers having to take the extra step. A more practical approach could be used by the likes of LG with their Waveforce system. If their washers are designed to spin a full load up to speed to spray water back down over the clothes, then a spin drain wouldn't hurt at all.

Post# 913945 , Reply# 23   1/4/2017 at 14:33 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
One thing did not like about the "convertible" WP co

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Was the neutral drain system. Was told it didn't make a difference and or the spray rinses both after wash cycle and or final rinse would assist. This and or the dryer is where much lint was removed anyway. But still didn't like the thing.

One didn't notice much on whites/lights, but dark or black items came out of the wash coated with lint, not all of which was removed by dryer.

Going back years good laundry practice dictated *not* to drain water through laundry. One good thing about wringer washers was that one lifted things from mucky water and thus left much of the lint, scum, dirt, hard water minerals, or whatever behind. I believe overflow rinsing on some automatic washers was, in theory, meant to provide same benefits.

Post# 913949 , Reply# 24   1/4/2017 at 14:52 by Pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
brush lint filter on older inglis whirlpool washers

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anyone remember the old brush lint filter on older whirlpool inglis washers those would be a pain to clean before they switch to bed nail type lin filters credit to original members who originaly posted these pictures that i saved on my pc

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 914006 , Reply# 25   1/4/2017 at 19:41 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I've not noticed lint to be an issue for all the 37 years that my clothes were washed exclusively in Whirlpool-made neutral-drain machines and the occasional instances following ... including 8+ years of Calypso which technically is a neutral-drain machine and technically strains all the wash and rinse water through the clothes.

Post# 914059 , Reply# 26   1/5/2017 at 03:10 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Hmmm.  Just came to mind that the period between the WP neutral-drain machines and the Calypso was handled by F&P which are also neutral-drain.  Seems I've successfully avoided lint in all cases.

Post# 914060 , Reply# 27   1/5/2017 at 04:13 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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The whole thing is kind of ridiculous in reality. Lint filters on washing machines did so little to help lint that it is kind of pointless. They were only selling tactics and another feature for machines of the day. Dryers were and still are the real lint catchers and anything you dry on the line is going to have some lint still on it no matter what washing machine you use. The more aggressive the washing action, the more lint you will have in top loading machines anyway. DD Whilrlpool/Kenmore, Norge/Monkey Wards/Magic Chef, GE, Frigidaire(at least the jet action agitator) and a few others were worse about linting. But the whole concept of top loaders was to really sort of "beat" the dirt out of clothes with the agitation and did promote lint. The only really good washing machines for getting rid of lint are front loading ones, partly because they don't promote any linting at all with their tumbling action.

Post# 914068 , Reply# 28   1/5/2017 at 06:12 by alr2903 (TN)        

I wonder if a manual clean lint filter made people with suds savers feel  better about reusing wash water? 

Post# 914111 , Reply# 29   1/5/2017 at 13:25 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Though for many there was a *yuck* factor

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Associated with suds return washing machines, those who sought them out had their reasons. Many were either die hard wringer/conventional washer users, or needed to conserve water (hot and or cold) for various reasons. As such don't think lint the lint issue (manual filter or no) was a huge issue for such persons.

After all if they had come from using a wringer washer (or worse, doing the wash manually with tubs), they knew what they were getting when wash water was reused in terms of lint/muck.

Post# 914844 , Reply# 30   1/9/2017 at 21:53 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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We have pets and there is zero question but what the Filterflos do an enormously better job of catching lint than does the Maytag, which is pretty good compared to the Whirlpools with their useless 'magic' filter.

It's easily seen when we put the clothes in the dryer - there's less lint with a load washed in the GE Filterflos than with the others.

It does make a difference, especially with pet hair.

Worth noting: Many European detergents have enzymes which eat damaged cellulose pretty well.


I don't care what anyone says, the facts arebest lint removal  - GE Filterflo, Maytag, Thumper with overflo rinses and then useless Whirlpool 'magic'.

Post# 914853 , Reply# 31   1/9/2017 at 22:36 by Lowefficiency (Iowa)        

I'll second the pet hair comments. A load of Guinea Pig bedding will bring any lint filter to its knees. Getting as much of it caught at the wash stage as possible is about the only way it's even feasible. There's just too much fine hair, on too large of a surface area, for a dryer to be able to catch or remove it all.

Post# 914888 , Reply# 32   1/10/2017 at 04:08 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I really can't say that much about pet hair removal, since that is not a problem I have encountered. I can see where GE or like machines would be helpful with removing that. Just lint in general doesn't seem to be any issue at all for me in the front loader. Animal hair might be a problem, I don't know. I used a lint roller on things that the dog laid on before washing it though. New towel lint and the like, I have no problems with in the front loader. It knocks loose any lint and pumps it down the drain and it creates no more lint in washing.

Post# 915031 , Reply# 33   1/10/2017 at 22:12 by arris (Rochester New York)        
Lint filters

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I asked this same question a few years ago and was informed by John ( Combo52 ) when detergents removed " Phosphates " it caused the lint filters to become gooey and plug up...... could also be from the comments mentioned above.... I would like to see them come back....If washing pet items the hair seems to either end up in the bottom of the tub, or ball on the fabric... which led me to finding this site,and find a washer with a lint filter to prevent that as well as cutting down on lint when hanging cloths on the line in the warmer months....

Post# 915061 , Reply# 34   1/11/2017 at 05:37 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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A sticky tape lint roller can be a wonderful thing when it comes to pet hair. I learned that in my dry cleaning days.

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