Why is laundry lint always blue?

06 September 2009

Question

Why is laundry lint always blue? Why is it that no matter what colour the laundry, I mean even white, the fluff that comes out of filter system at the other end, it’s always lilac, purple or grey in colour?

Answer

Diana - That's a good question actually. And now, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has worked a bit on on this and he actually did win an IgNobel Prize for his lint research. But he says that for both belly button fluff and laundry lint, is actually an average of all the colours of your clothes. So all the stuff that comes off even your white laundry, will end up being sort of slightly grayish, bluish, horrible colour. And if you think about even if you do have a lot of black clothing, and I'm sure most people will have at least one item of black clothing, will tend to sort of fade to grey and those are the bits that are more likely to disintegrate and fall off and become lint.Dave - It's not always blue. I once washed a bathroom mat from the floor, which was already fluffy and bright red. And that shed completely, it jammed up the whole washing machine and the lint that came out of that was definitely red. Chris - And the other slights a bit of additional information or perhaps you might or might not wants to know about Dr. Karl's study, he actually invited to send in their belly button fluff, to see that colour that was. I think it came out pretty much the same, didn't it?Diana - Yeah, the IgNoble people told him to never, ever do research on this again.

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