Clothes dryer lint

Escondido, CA

This has nothing to do with identifying birds. Don't know where else to go. Has anyone ever heard that putting out the lint from your clothes dryer for the birds to use as nest material is dangerous? A neighbor told me that. Seems a shame. It's so soft for lining. Thanks for your input.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Your neighbour is right, definitely not suitable - it wads down into a cold soggy mess if it gets damp.

Better ideas: moss, dog & cat hair (clipped short if from very long-haired breeds), feathers.


Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Small pieces of natural brown string or old vine pieces work good and the birds can work or weave either they way they want.I've also heard the soap or cleaners in lint can soften or do other things that are'nt good.I was reading that years ago when the robins kept running off with or collecting nylon or polyester string,not good as it scratches eggs thin or chokes fledglings that like to peck.I've heard the same about lint come to think about it

Maricopa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Not recommended ;

"A Note About Dryer Lint
While the soft fluff from a dryer may seem to be perfect to keep young birds warm and safe, it is not recommended as a nesting material. The chemicals in clothing dyes and laundry detergents can be toxic to birds, and the lint itself can crumble and collapse when it gets wet or as growing birds exert stress on the nest. A broken nest offers little protection for birds, and hatchlings can tumble out of a weak nest prematurely, exposing them to injury, cold and threats from predators.".

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi Adeline - I just spotted this thread and although it's been a while since you posted it, I thought this might be helpful to you.

I purchase bags of natural fiber nesting fluff from my local "Farm & Fleet" store in Illinois. They also have stores in Wisconsin, Iowa and maybe others, but not out West. They do, however, also sell online and their prices are quite reasonable. The link below is for both the nesting fluff and also a holder that comes pre-filled with the fluff.

The "refill" bags are larger than they appear in the pics and last a long time as the material is pretty tightly packed. I have never purchased the holder although I've seen them in the store and they're very nice (and a good size). I usually just fill wire suet feeders (the cage type) with the fluff as they are easy to hang anywhere.

The refill bag is only $1.99. It's aproximately 8" square. I think the shipping is $5.00 or less and you can purchase quite a bit of merchandise for that same shipping price. You can actually check what shipping would be by adding things to your cart (you can always remove them).

They're a wonderful chain of stores and have lots of things for birds. We also buy most of our wild bird and critter foods from them, but that's because we can shop locally and don't have to worry about weight.

Even though it's getting late in the season, I still have my nesting material out for the Goldfinches as they are very late nesters...they're nesting now. The rest I just seal up with a "twisty" or keep in a zip-lock bag.

(Zone 8a)

Interesting thread. I noticed the blue tits were much more interested in the twine I'd used to hang up a feeder than in the food itself so I put out some more of the natural jute twine. Not a great photo as it was through my window but you get the idea.

Thumbnail by kniphofia
Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Having suffered from severe chemical sensitivities over the years, I have to agree about being careful about the chemicals in dryer lint.

Unless you are one of the very few people who do not have any non-natural fibers and only use biodegradeable, unscented washing compounds -- and no dryer sheets, then I'd say don't put dryer fluff out for birds.

But on the bright side, I have to tell you that both dog hair and human hair seem to be a hit with birds. I have put hair cleaned out of my brush out along with that of our furry friends, and they disappear too. Actually, I noticed it by accident at first, as I had just tossed some of my hair into the suet feeder along with my dog's -- after cleaning out all of the brushes.

They seem to prefer the very soft, fluffy great pyrenees fur over the shorter, coarser lab hair. Which doesn't surprise me, as when we had a shih tzu (years ago) birds like that fur.

This gives me something to do with the suet feeder in the spring (as I mainly put suet out in the winter).

Rochester, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks so much for post/comments. I've done this before unaware of the hazards. I also put out about 4 inch lengths of cotton or wool yarn. string, ribbon, thin stalks of winter killed grass and flower stems. I put a few shallow baskets of materials near the feeders and trees, preferably out of the wind. Love seeing them pick, choose, squabble over the stuff. After my mom's passing in March 10 yrs ago, I cut up ribbons used in floral pieces and saw them woven into a robin's nest that was used for 3 yrs. Beautiful memory!!

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.