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What is a Lint Roller?

By K. K. Lowen
Updated: May 16, 2024

A lint roller is a device that rotates over a surface, collecting lint and other light debris. One popular form of this tool utilizes sheets of sticky paper to pick up the lint. Others use a permanent surface, allowing users to wash and reuse it.

Also called a lint remover, lint rollers are popular cleaning tools and may be used on clothing, furniture, car interiors, and carpets. They are suitable for any type fabric where lint, hair, and other debris may accumulate. Some people may use the roller to clean other types of surfaces.

Pet owners have found the lint roller particularly successful because many animals have a tendency to shed. In addition to shedding hair, many pets leave behind dander or dried skin. These rollers pick up both hair and dander, leaving furniture cleaner.

A long-handled lint roller is one that has an extended shaft for the purpose of removing lint from hard to reach places. People also may use long handled rollers to remove lint from a large area with fewer strokes. Some people take advantage of the extra length and use it to clean high curtains and cobwebs on ceilings.

Washable lint rollers do not utilize adhesive paper but has a sticky surface that allows people to clean and reuse it. Some people prefer these items as they do not have to purchase refills, which saves them money. Other people may prefer buying disposable products and do not wish to use a cleaning device that requires maintenance. Some people have questioned the longevity of washable lint rollers, proposing that the reusable surface does not last long enough.

Lint rollers are available in a range of prices. People can purchase them from a variety of sources, including discount and bargain stores. More costly rollers also are available and some have special features, such as holding larger adhesive paper rolls or fitting in a person’s pocket for easy transport. Some can be purchased in a set that includes various sizes as well.

Adhesive paper lint rollers sometimes require users to purchase refills of one-sided sticky paper once the supply runs out. Many of the paper rollers are inexpensive enough to be considered disposable items, even if refills are available. Rather than purchasing a refill, many people choose to throw the empty roller away and buy a new one.

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Discussion Comments
By Monika — On Mar 18, 2012

I've actually never seen the point of buying a lint brush. Most of my friends swear by them, but I've never purchased one myself. I prefer to use masking tape to remove lint from my clothes.

What I do is tear off a piece of masking tape and then wrap it around my hand, sticky side out. I stick it together at the ends so that it forms a ring around my hand. Then I use it to get lint off my clothes. I think it's a lot cheaper than a lint roller!

By indemnifyme — On Mar 18, 2012

@strawCake - I use lint rollers a lot too, but my favorite is the Evercare lint roller. I mostly just use it on my clothes though.

I have a few friends that like to use lint rollers on their furniture, but I think that's really a waste. My vacuum cleaner has a really good upholstery attachment that I like to use on my furniture. I find that it removes pet hair and lint just fine, and it's definitely cheaper than continuing to buy more lint roller refills.

By strawCake — On Mar 17, 2012

I've been using 3M adhesive lint rollers for years. I have a few of them, and I just buy refills when I run out of the adhesive part. I always thought it would be wasteful to throw the whole thing away and buy a brand new one.

However, I had no idea there was any such thing as a lint roller that was completely reusable! I think buying one of these would be even better than buying refills for a regular lint roller. I always feel a little bit guilty about the amount of trash I generate every single time I use my lint roller. I'm going to look into getting one that can be reused.

By cloudel — On Mar 17, 2012

@lighth0se33 – The uses of a lint roller really are endless, aren't they? I use mine to pick up pencil shavings and eraser debris after my son does his homework at the kitchen table.

At times, I have let myself run out of refills, but I can always make my own lint roller using two-sided tape and an empty cylindrical container. I save all my old cake frosting containers, and they are just the right shape to serve as a makeshift lint roller.

I put the tape on in sections, cutting the ends to meet piece by piece. It takes about five pieces of tape to cover the container.

I stick my hand inside the container and roll it across whatever surface needs cleaning. I probably wouldn't rely on my homemade lint roller for every occasion, but it works fine as a substitute.

By lighth0se33 — On Mar 16, 2012

I use a refillable lint roller to remove the pills from my old sweaters. I have several that I have worn so much that they get covered in these, and the lint roller is good at picking up the worst ones.

It's also good for removing dust that has settled on my winter clothes during the summer. I just fold up my off-season clothes and put them on the top shelf of my closet, so they are open to the dust. A couple of swipes with the lint roller will have them looking fresh.

I even use a lint roller in the kitchen at times. I am really bad about spilling uncooked rice while scooping it out of the bag, and since my kitchen counter and floor are off-white, it is really hard to see exactly where I have spilled all of it. I rely on the lint roller to pick it up.

By Perdido — On Mar 15, 2012

@bagley79 – My sister has five dogs that live in the house, and she also has several lint rollers. Her dogs are all large breeds, and several of them have long hair.

Though she uses a vacuum cleaner for the carpet and for her sofas, she has to use the lint roller on all her clothes, if she plans to leave the house wearing them. I stayed with her for a few days, and even after she had just vacuumed, I had to use the lint roller on my pants after sitting on the couch.

I suppose that pet hair is always floating in the air, so you can never really suck it all up with a vacuum. It is best to be prepared by having lint rollers ready for when the hair finally does settle on your clothes.

By kylee07drg — On Mar 14, 2012

I have a couple of pairs of black pants that I wear to work, and they always attract dust, fuzz, and anything else that will show up on them. Because of this, a lint roller is essential for me.

It's crazy how my clothes are like a magnet to lint. I can use a roller before leaving the house, and by the time I get to work, I have more on me.

So, I keep a lint roller in my glove compartment. I use it before getting out of my car to go into the office.

I prefer the disposable kind, because they are less expensive. Also, I can make them stickier by changing out the adhesive sheet any time it starts to lose its power.

By John57 — On Mar 14, 2012

I tried a washable lint roller but went back to my 3m lint roller. For me, the washable lint roller didn't stay sticky for very long.

Also, I had a hard time getting the lint off when I was washing it, and my hands ended up getting sticky from residue.

For me, this just wasn't worth the hassle. I always keep 3m lint roller refills on hand so I never worry about running out.

I like to use a lint roller after a haircut. It gets rid of all those little hairs that are still on your neck and the outside of your shirt. Using a lint roller is the best thing I have found to get rid of those hairs so they don't itch and keep going down the back of my shirt.

By golf07 — On Mar 13, 2012

I don't have any pets in my house, but still keep a lint roller around. I wear a lot of black clothes and it seems like this is the worst color for picking up lint and hair. It really works well on my long, black dress coat.

Even though I don't use this every day, I have a reusable lint roller that works well. Once the roller is full, all you have to do is wash it off and let it dry.

Once it is dry, it is sticky again. I am sure at some point it will not be sticky anymore and I will have to buy a new one, but this has lasted me for a long time.

I am not constantly throwing something in the recycle bin, and I also don't have to worry about running out of lint remover sheets.

By myharley — On Mar 12, 2012

@bagley79 - Yes, pet hair is the worst. I probably use a lint roller at least once a day to keep the pet hair off my furniture. I am down to only one cat, but I think she sheds more than my dog did.

I don't like sitting down on furniture that has pet hair on it, so keep this in my living room so it is always handy.

The chairs around my dining room table are made of a brown, suede material and my cat likes to sit on every one of these chairs.

My Scotch lint roller does a great job of picking up this hair from the chairs. It is more convenient than getting out the vacuum and even works better than the vacuum does at removing the hair.

By bagley79 — On Mar 12, 2012

I have dogs and cats in my house, so I have more than one sticky lint roller around. Not only do I have these in my house, but keep one in the car and also have one at work.

As hard as I try to keep the pet hair cleaned up, it seems to stick to just about everything. Just one quick swipe with the lint roller and the hair is gone.

I always buy the cheap, disposable lint rollers and buy more than one at a time. That way I don't have to worry about being without one. I have found some of these at the dollar store, so I am never out much money for them.

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