Water Lint Trap From a 5 Gallon Bucket for All Seasons





Introduction: Water Lint Trap From a 5 Gallon Bucket for All Seasons

About: I am a bath installer by trade. I also enjoy gardening. I just celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary.

Vent warm humid air into your house from the dryer. Don't send your nice heated air outside. When it warms up outside, quickly configure the lint trap to vent to the outdoors and save your air conditioning.  

Step 1: Cut the Holes

Cut 3 vent holes in the lid of a 5 gallon bucket. I am using a 4" can as a template, so that I will ensure a snug fit.
Diameter of the first 2 holes is slightly over 4" to accept the 4" dryer vent hose. (A jigsaw cuts the best, a drywall jab saw wants to get stuck.  I used a utility knife.  Scary!...but the cut was great.) The third hole is a half inch bigger (4 1/2" diameter) so I can use the scrap as a cover for the unused vent hole. I am using cans that just happen to be the right 4" size. The cans will be used later to stiffen up the ends of the dryer hose.

Step 2: Screened Vent Hole

This is the bigger of the 3 vent holes.  Air from the dryer exits from this vent into the room.  It must be at least the size of the 4" vent coming in or bigger.  2 layers of window screen wire. Attached with glue gun on the bottom of the lid.  Added little more hot glue for the screen wire on the top of the bucket lid, just to make it easier to clean and stronger.

Most water based lint catchers don't bother with any kind of screen, and a small amount of lint escapes.  Alternative filter: pantyhose. Something that will show the lint when it has blocked the filter.  But I wouldn't recommend something that can't handle humidity such as cheesecloth or a sock.  100% silicone can be used as an adhesive rather than a glue gun.  Painter's caulk won't work.  It's not waterproof. 

Step 3: Attach Metal Sleeve

Attach cans with hose clamps. (I currently only have one can, so on the other hose I had to make due with foil tape that I had in abundance.) If 4" cans aren't around, any hardware store sells the proper fitting for a dryer hose for 3 bucks or so, and it probably can be cut in half to do the job for both vent hoses.

Step 4: Weighted Cap

Top of vent hole cover diameter 4 1/2".  
On the bottom of the vent hole cover, I added some weatherproofing foam. The foam strip didn't want to stick, so I hit it with the glue gun.

Step 5: Add Water and Bleach

Partially fill the bucket. The vent hose does not touch the water.  It just blows on the surface of the water and the lint sticks.  

Safety considerations:
-Not for use with gas dryers.
-If used in a small room, keep the door open while in use to avoid too much heat or moisture to build-up.
-Add a cup of BLEACH to the water to keep stuff from growing.  Prevent Legionnaire's disease.  I would guess that a toilet tank drop-in tablet would work too, like the one Clorox makes.   

The lint trap has been in operation for one month to date as of this post.  About 2 1/2 gallons have evaporated in that time. I go through about 6 loads of laundry a week.  It still maintains a faint bleach smell, so I am reassured the bleach hasn't dissipated yet.  The trap has been successful in keeping lint from accumulating all over my laundry area.



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    23 Discussions

    Nice idea add a cup of BLEACH with water wouldn't hurt. But the air in whole house everyone breathe would hurt respiratory. This can be found in Wikipedia about BLEACH. Chlorine is a respiratory irritant that attacks mucous membranes and burns the skin. As little as 3.53 ppm can be detected as an odor, and 1000 ppm is likely to be fatal after a few deep breaths. Exposure to chlorine has been limited to 0.5 ppm (8-hour time-weighted average—38 hourweek) by OSHA in the U.S.[14]

    1 reply

    I have had one 20yrs. They work great. Mine I have no screan on top instead I have 5 holes 1 1/2" around the sides. The water catches the lint. Instead of bleach I put fabric softener or dawn.

    How much water do I need to fill? How often do you clean your screen? My lid is a pain to open, so I don't wish to mess with it every time I run the dryer. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Just keep your dryer vent hose from being submerged. 3 to 4 gallons is okay. I don't have to clean the screen very often, since the water catches most of the lint. We are a family of 2, and I clean it maybe twice during the cold months.


    4 years ago

    It's against code to use flexible venting, only 4" pipe without screws should be used. The flex duct catches a lot of lint in it and it can be a fire hazard.

    Chlorine based bleach evaporates in a mator of hours.
    You should use an algacide like copper sulfate (the blue weed killer).

    Anyway, this is on my to-do list.

    2 replies

    I still had a reassuring bleachy smell even after 3 months with the same water, and nothing appeared to be growing in there. Please document your claim.

    Sorry I should have bean more specific, there are two types of bleach. You probably used a Peroxide-based type.

    Thank for the reply. Yes, the lint flies all over the cars in my garage (which is covered by a roof but has 3 of its sides open).
    PS I'm having problems in replying directly so I have to create a new comment.

    Don't use this project with a GAS DRYER.
    Ok, the main concern here is due to the risk of CM poisoning, only if the exhaust air is used to heat the room/home, right?
    What if I just use the project to get rid of the lint and exhaust the hot air to the outside? Is it OK?


    1 reply

    Gas stoves and fireplaces are in regular use without any outside venting. The burning of natural gas is fairly clean. The biggest bulk of unwanted vapor from natural gas is water vapor. Carbon monoxide is present, too. My vent pipe on my gas water heater clogged in an unoccupied home I owned. After 2 days, all the windows condensed so much water vapor it looked like they had been rained on, and they sustained heavy damage.

    Remove lint from going outside? Is lint accumulating on outdoor objects at your place? Or is it clogging your exhaust hose? I'm trying to think of a reason why lint would be a problem outdoors.

    It would work well to remove lint. Of course you would only need to create only 2 holes instead of 3 so that no dryer vent air would go into the house.

    I made a similar device about 7 years ago. I added a furnace filter cut to fit the bucket to capture any lint that made it through the water trap. It was a great way to keep my basement warm in winter.

    2 replies

    Did the fiber filter get soggy? Did it make the water level and cleanliness of the water difficult to check? (because I can see through my screen wire to the water)

    This is a good way to stop the lint from floating around after running the dryer. My only concern when I used a similar setup was the potential for unwanted fumes coming from the dryer. It was an electric dryer but I wasn't a fan of the smell. Instead of allowing the smelly dryer air to vent directly into the house, I built an air exchanger that passed the hot dryer air over a fresh air intake duct before getting exhausted outside. This allowed me to harness some heat from my dryer without having the stink fill my basement.

    2 replies

    There is a scent. I kinda like it, but I gotta ask my neighbor what laundry products he uses, because his vent trap blowing into my driveway had stopped me in my tracks to enjoy it for a moment.

    I like that you've included in your design a screen on the opening from the bucket to the room. I didn't have the screen (before using the heat exchanger) and some lint still managed to float around.

    Great instructable! And great advice for not wasting hot air (which is what happens when you let warm dryer air just blow outside).

    This is ideal for any home with a wood stove as this can easily solve any low humidity and dry-air problems.

    Indeed, only use on ELECTRIC dryers.

    And I can only recommend putting a hygrometer at the opposite end of an open basement, or a nearby hallway or room. This way, you know the humidity levels (and whether or not to run the dryer).

    I'm working on a similar model that has a draft trap to easily allow air to vent outside (in summer) and inside (during winter).

    Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Draft Trap: There is an in-line trap that diverts air either into the room or out the other end of the hose. Sears and Home Depot http://wwww.sears.com/search=DEFLECTO%20EX12%20HEAT%20SAVER%20LINT%20TRAP?catalogId=12605&autoRedirect=false&storeId=10153&yikes_prod=1696698595

    Metal dampers in the HVAC section of Home Depot, but they only accommodated 6" vent pipe. Might spark an idea.
    4" exists go here for picture: http://www.warrenpipe.com/hardware-store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=11646

    When I think about how much water I see coming from air conditioner condensate lines, or how much water a humidifier goes through, I would be very surprised if dryer air can compete with those.... but I don't have statistics. A hydrometer would be more accurate.