Laundry Lint: It’s For the Birds!

Laundry Lint

Mesh bag of laundry lint, high in a tree

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is just five weeks away.  Within three months of that, we’ll be enjoying spring.Time is wasting!

I save our laundry lint year round, but if you are just getting started you’ll have a few months to amass your collection. I keep a bag in a cupboard above the dryer.  After each load of laundry, I sweep the lint trap and add it to the bag.  It’s a great way to re-purpose what you might otherwise throw in the trash, and a fun way to attract birds to your garden.

As spring approaches, I fluff up the collection and fill the mesh bags I’ve saved from apples or onions. My boys loved this activity when they were young, but now I’m on my own!

Once you fill the bags with laundry fluff, secure them high in a tree. You can also wedge the bags near the top of the eaves.  One year I tied one to an empty swing frame. You lint bag should be sheltered from the elements and away from predators.  Locating them near feeders or water sources helps too.  Whatever you can do to make it easy for birds to find the laundry lint, the better.

A bright red bag of laundry lint, tied with a bow, also makes a fun and funny gift topper for your nature-loving friends.  They’ll think you’re crazy, then they’ll laugh and come spring they’ll be smiling and thanking you as they hang the lint in a nearby tree.

Laundry lint: it’s for the birds!

Mourning Doves

Nesting Mourning Doves

Additional Resources

21 thoughts on “Laundry Lint: It’s For the Birds!

  1. Ah, so. You only put out the lint in the spring and in a tree? I understand better now. I also wondered if the chemicals from fabric softener would have an affect on the birds and squirrels? I have used laundry lint in various shades to add to paper making water. Adds substance and color. People wonder about my sanity when they see I’m saving lint. 🙂 The doves nesting in your planters are so sweet.


    • What a nice way to use your laundry lint. I’ll bet that’s beautiful. Years ago I had a friend that used laundry lint, cardboard egg cartons and left over soap or candles to make fire-starters. I love the creative uses.

      We use an organic laundry detergent, and rarely use fabric softener so I’m less concerned. I’m sure it is something to be aware of. Many years ago I found a small nest on the sidewalk, partially lined with a cigarette butt! I’ve never forgotten that. It seemed so absurd.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. We loved having doves nest so close by.


    • Thanks, PJ. We were thrilled to have doves nest so close to our house. Mama would sit there and get taller and taller as her eggs grew. She had a pair of little ones. Somewhere I have a photo of the two of them side by side.

      Clean nests…I hadn’t thought of that!


  2. I’ve never thought of that but how nice. Do you use dryer sheets with your laundry? I currently do and wondered if it would be bad for the birds. I had a few bird houses at the lake garden and I just loved watching them zoom around the yard. They were Swallows and very good at dive bombing my cat, Paco. Do your morning Doves coo while the sit in their nest? Funny they plopped themselves in your hanging basket…and how sweet of you not to deter them. You’re like mother nature out there in California…great trick, thanks for sharing that.


    • Thanks, Boomdee! I don’t think she made a peep while nesting, but it has been awhile so I may be mistaken. My guess is they keep quiet to protect their young.

      They nest in the oddest places at times. Someone I knew had a nest next to their mailbox. Not very safe from cats at that height. Our neighbor has one nest under her eaves ever year, and every year the crows steal the eggs. I feel so lucky that we had a nest just outside our window for the month.


      • Darn crows anyways. They seem to hang in gangs and they’re noisy. I suppose that’s nature. Maybe they’re just doing their thing to survive. Seems so devious to eat another birds eggs though.


        • It does, doesn’t it. We have several in the neighborhood. They pull up worms every morning outside my kitchen window.

          They make quite a ruckus in May during mating season, too.

          By the way, I’ve been researching dryer sheets since your earlier comment, and that of others. Dryer sheets sound pretty bad in general, but I don’t know what, if any residue remains on the clothes or in the lint. I don’t use them very often, and after reading, may avoid them all together.

          Most of the reading I did, though, referred to direct exposure (for instance leaving dryer sheets for the birds to nest). I hope that helps.


          • Thanks so much for all that work Alys. That helps a bunch. I thought about it while I was doing laundry tonight and saved a couple of balls of lint. I think it’d be fun to hang in the river valley near some stairs we use often. Then I could see if it was getting used. I’ll start saving up for spring. There’s a bird feeder there too someone fills up. We always see squirrels there, maybe they’d use it too. I guess I could just use liquid softener in the wash instead. That probably washes away b4 you get the clothes in the dryer. I popped over to you links..nest are so neat.


  3. Boomdee, I’m sure the squirrels would use it too. One year a squirrel removed all of the flocking from the back of a table cloth. They are quite resourceful. Please let me know if you get any activity near the river valley stairs. It sounds like such a pretty place.


  4. Pingback: Nesting Material: Do’s and Don’ts | Gardening Nirvana

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