(Human) hair and washing machines
March 2, 2021 7:07 AM   Subscribe

I have long, very thick curly hair. When I do laundry, it feels like half my clothes come out of the wash and dryer with hairs of mine still clinging to them. Is there a way to deal with this other than picking them off by hand?

I already clean my lint trap every load.

This happens in other washing machines when I'm traveling, not just in the one I have at home.

I'm confident that the hair that's on my head is healthy — like, it sheds naturally, the way all hair does, but it's not a serious hair loss situation, and it's not matted or badly tangled: these are just regular hairs shed in the normal way that the washing machine and dryer aren't removing.

I don't use dryer sheets. I've tried those dryer balls and they don't make a difference.
posted by nebulawindphone to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Er, realized the title could be ambiguous. My hair isn't snarling up the washing machine or clogging it or anything. It's just staying stuck on my clothes and annoying me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:13 AM on March 2, 2021

Best answer: Roller Tape Lint Remover
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:15 AM on March 2, 2021

There are things you can throw in the machine that claim to catch hair and lint during the wash. I think if you google hair catcher washing machine or hair lint catcher you'll find them. Can't vouch for them, but worth a try!
posted by penguin pie at 7:17 AM on March 2, 2021

Best answer: According to Consumer Reports, throw your dirty cloths in the dryer for 10 minutes will loosen up pet hair.

I'd imagine your own hair would come loose too. ;)
posted by kschang at 7:53 AM on March 2, 2021

If you brush your hair more often (and more strokes per session), more hair will come off on your brush and less will get on your clothes (and everywhere else) in the first place. You also may appreciate some of the other benefits of more hair brushing.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:13 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've got this exact issue, and have tried a couple things for it with little success. Definitely hoping a better solution is found - sticky rollers like those above can work some, but it still ends up being a post-laundry manual hair removal process. In addition, during washing the hair often ends up interwoven into the fabrics themselves somehow, so still needs to be pulled out by hand when a roller won't lift it right off.

I've also tried pet hair traps for the laundry like this - the idea being that the hair wraps around the little balls and not the clothes. I found from a couple attempts that the balls trap *some* hair, but then the balls turn out to be as much of a hassle to handle as the hair would be... falling out of a pile of laundry while removing from the machine and bouncing across the laundry room, ending up tucked in pants pockets, needing to be picked out of the dried clothes as a gross hairball and then either cleaned (somehow) or thrown away (wasteful). Just a total pain.

A perfect solution would somehow encourage the hair to just end up in the lint trap with the other loose fuzz, which could then be removed to the trash in one go. Is there a way to make that happen?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:29 AM on March 2, 2021

My partner no longer sheds hair all over the place. He does the following things that help:

- Brushes his hair every night before bed so the loose hairs end up in the hairbrush.
- Always keeps his hair in a braid so the loose hairs don't escape.
- Keeps the split ends trimmed so the hairs tangle with each other less.
- Uses a ribbon in his braid instead of a hair tie. The ribbon doesn't have elastic and doesn't grip the hair, so he doesn't lose hair when undoing his braid the way you lose hair to an elastic hair tie.
posted by aniola at 8:45 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Suggestions to brush more frequently might not be as good with curly hair. I know that if I brush a lot it goes from being curly to extreme frizz. What I do find works somewhat better is using a loose tooth comb in the shower while applying conditioner. Helps remove loose hair while still letting hair dry naturally for a good curl.

The other thing I would say is for anything with a somewhat open knit check the back and collar before throwing it into your hamper. That's where I locate the bulk of loose hair.
posted by Ferreous at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2021 [13 favorites]

Best answer: I do my gf's laundry with mine. This is a particular problem because HER hairs get all over MY clothes. Uck. Anyway, the best, but not complete, solution I have found is to put a couple of microfiber towels in with the dryer. The hairs seem to cling to them more than to the clothes. Some still remain on clothes. Cleaning the microfiber towels then becomes the issue. I use a combination of a dust buster small vacuum thing and my fingers picking at it. I also look in the dryer after removing all the clothes. Sometimes I need to dust bust in there to get the hairs in the dryer before I put another load in.
posted by AugustWest at 9:08 AM on March 2, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I have fine curly hair and it sticks to everydamnthing. I use the sticky lint roller prior to washing and have found that to have some success - fewer hairs end up in the washer & dryer and so fewer end up on the clean clothes.
posted by bedhead at 9:24 AM on March 2, 2021

Best answer: A device for catching microfibers helps. I use a Cora Ball, but there's also a Laundry Hair Catchers - none of those have stellar reviews but it's possible people have overly high expectations.

You can additionally use wool dryer balls, if you use a dryer.

I'd been wearing my hair very short for a few years after decades of long curly hair so hadn't had to think about it so much, but it's getting long enough now that I have to think about it again. My old method was to shake everything vigorously before it went in the hamper or into the machine - this now means I'm back to needing to vacuum the bathroom and the hallway right by the washing machine more, it's clearly doing something. (But also - if you're a floor-thrower when you take off clothes, stopping that helps tremendously, there's just a lot of tumbleweeds down there.)

It's not about unhealthy hair at all, it just does this.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi! Please assume I am caring for my hair in a way that is correct for my hair type and texture, that I keep my hair in a style I like, and that I have good personal hygiene in general. Thanks!
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:28 AM on March 2, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have one of these for cat hair but I've noticed that my (noncurly) hair ends up wrapped around them a bunch in the dryer. I don't use dryer sheets or fabric softener, like the product expects.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:40 AM on March 2, 2021

Best answer: I shed a lot of hair every day. Lint-rollering my clothes before washing annoys the hell out of me. I switched to using the roller before I get undressed and toss the garments in the hamper.
posted by wryly at 11:27 AM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have thick, long curly hair and I found that a short, natural bristle brush is excellent for picking up wandering hairs. The short, stiff bristles attract the hair really well, and the brush is easy to clean with a comb.

The only garment I really have a problem with is a boiled wool sweater I bought in London. I really love the sweater, but my hair clings to it and burrows into it and for that I have to use a lint roller or a piece of packing tape to get it completely free.

I hope this is helpful information.
posted by effluvia at 1:06 PM on March 2, 2021

Best answer: I also just remembered I have an auxiliary solution along with the Cora Ball: some types of fabric just seem to deeply desire to have hair woven into them in the wash/dry process. When you identify a piece of clothing that's really determined, use a closed-mesh wash bag (versus open mesh) and do inspect before putting it into the bag. This will keep it from incorporating every single strand it encounters in the wash.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:29 PM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

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