Dog hair? 

Yes, pet (and human) hair is OK to compost

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one from May of 2015.

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I was talking to my daughter yesterday about our composting. Neither of us knew if pet hair or dryer lint would be ok to compost. I have just read a dozen articles that say both are fine. This time of year we get a bag of fine undercoat hair from our lab every time we brush her. We will also start just putting the whole canister of dirt from the vacuum cleaner in. It is mostly dog hair anyhow.


Hi Deborah,

Yes, pet (and human) hair is OK to compost. Hair is rich in protein and other nutrients, so your compost will eat it up. It takes a little longer than other items to decompose, but hair is high in nitrogen, which helps create heat in your compost pile.

I’m a maybe on dryer lint. It’s likely that you are drying clothing made from synthetic materials, in which case it’s ok to compost, just know that there may be synthetic fibers in your compost. That’s totally fine, but I just want you to be aware. If you are using synthetic perfumed dryer sheets, then I would not compost your dryer lint.

We sometimes save dryer lint to use as a fire starter when camping. Others may suggest putting it out for birds to gather for nesting.

Piece out,


(NOTE: This letter appeared in the May 6, 2015 edition of NUVO.)


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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