This is the beginning of a miniseries (3 instructables or a trilable) on washer lint filters. While working through this project I learned a lot and I want to share my successes and hindrances. Each model has its own pros and cons in design and application. Also what works best for me may not be the model for you. I understand some people will look at the final model and skip over its predecessors but spend some time and review each model and learn as I did and avoid similar issues, ultimately to design a better Washer Lint Filter.
A couple of summers ago we had to have the plumber come to snake the septic drain for our washing machine. This was the second time it had been done in 15 months. The landlord gave us a package of disposable lint catchers and asked that we use them. I installed one but it didn’t last long (6 loads). Just about a week; 1 x $1 = $52 extra per year. In a simple cost comparison, $52 for disposable catchers vs. $150 to snake the drain, the disposable catchers seems a good trade off. But they are disposable, not eco-friendly at all, I am more environmentally conscious then to throw most things away after a single use (in this case 6 uses).
Why so much lint?
1)Volume: We produce 7-8 loads a week. More clothes more lint.
2)Material: Different types of material produce more lint than other material i.e. Cotton and Terry cloth vs. Synthetic. Other natural fibers e.g. tissues, “notes to self” or receipts (paper) and food. Surprisingly new clothes “shed” more than well worn clothes. That is not to say as clothes become mature they do not “shed”. They do, the fabric breaks down, wear out, become thread worn because they are losing their bond.
3)Agitation: All of which is exasperated by the type of agitation during the wash cycle i.e. Heavy Duty vs. Gentle.
The intent of this instructable is to
1) provide an alternative to the costly extraction of a blocked sewer pipe,
2) provide an alternative to the additional cost of buying replacement (disposable) filters,
3) encourage you to engage in a Do It Yourself franchise and community.
My first thought was to clean the disposable catchers and reuse them, but that proved difficult, they are cylindrical (tubular), have a metal crimp at one end and a nylon zip tie at the other to hold the filter to the discharge hose.
Filter Design (Disposable)
1) The nylon zip tie can be manipulated for reusing or replaced with a clamp.
2) The crimp can be removed and replaced with a clamp.
3) Cleaning the filter ….
a) I tried burning the lint after it dried. Failed – the thin metal charred and fell apart.
b) I turned it inside out to use tape, after the lint dried. Failed - waste of tape, completely inefficient, not practical.
I went to the drawing board and came up with this.....
Step 2: Filter Redesign
Create a filter easy to disassemble, clean and reassemble.
Easy. Follow these instructions to make and clean your own Washer Lint Filter.
1) Window Screening – Nylon or Aluminum,
2) 1/4” hose clamp,
3) 2” hose clamp and
4) Furnace filter wire (what I had on hand).
1) Ruler or tape measure
3) Wire cutters or Linesmen pliers
4) Screw driver
Step 3: Assemble
1) Cut a strip of screening 10” (25.4 cm) long by 5.5” (5 1/2" or 13.97 cm) wide (I used Nylon screening). Note: Length and Width are discretionary (up to you).
2) Slide the 2” hose clamp over the end of the washer discharge hose.
3) Wrap the screen around the washer discharge hose.
4) Slide the 2” hose clamp down over the screen and hose, then tighten.
5) Twist or roll the other end of the screen,
6) Slide the 1/4” hose clamp over the end of the screen, then tighten.
7) Cut the furnace wire 6” (15.24 cm) long by 6” (15.24 cm) wide. Note: Length and Width are discretionary (up to you).
8) Wrap the wire around the outside of the screen (this will hold the filter from separating under the force of the water).
You are done with your replacement filter, although best practice requires making a second filter. When one filter is full use the second filter to keep the laundry moving while you clean the first filter.
Next steps - Clean your filter.
Step 4: Clean Filter
Time for cleaning 3 - 5 minutes
Note: this procedure works best while the lint is damp. I tried cleaning the filter after it dried, using tape, but it was again wasteful, time consuming and it just didn’t completely remove the lint. If the lint is thick and sopping wet it takes more time and effort to clean.
1) Unwrap the wire around the outside of the screening.
2) Loosen and slide the 1/4” hose clamp off the end.
3) Loosen the 2” hose clamp of the washer discharge hose.
4) Remove the filter.
5) Pull off any loose lint first and discard.
6) Use your thumb and index fingers to rub the lint off the screening.
Note: If you want to completely clean the filter add this step, otherwise skip to Step 8.
7) After you removed as much lint as you possibly can, put the screen in a partially filled bucket of water and swish it around until the remaining lint is completely removed.
8) Wrap the screening around the washer discharge hose.
9) Slide the 2” hose clamp over the screening and hose, then tighten.
10) Twist or roll the other end of the screening,
11) Slide the 1/4” hose clamp over the end of the screening, then tighten.
12) Wrap the wire around the outside of the screening (this will hold the filter from separating under the force of the water).
Step 5: Observations & Summary
I used this model for 3 months. This model gave me some more challenges.
1) The window screen holes were still big enough to let lint through, I over came this by using the second filter and attaching it to the sink drain. This worked well to capture runaway lint. But now I had to be quick to clean and reassemble the first filter before the washer drained.
2) I used a furnace filter wire which is thin and not designed to be exposed to water, it rusted after a month and half. Chicken wire is designed to withstand the elements better and should last longer.
3) This design works best when the discharge hose is emptied into a basin, tub or sink.
4) The nylon screen will last for 7 months before it wears out.
Here is the link to the 3rd instructable in this series https://www.instructables.com/id/Window-Screen-Washer-Lint-Filter/
This model was OK, but it was more cumbersome to disassemble, clean and reassemble than I wanted. I went back to the drawing board.
Then I saw, and considered it well. I looked upon it, and received instruction..