Human Hair Mats - Hair Matters Program FAQ

You shampoo because hair collects oil. We collect hair, fur, fleece and laundry lint to make mats that clean up oil spills.
GO TO: – Humanity Adding Solutions.
To Donate

Hair Mat History

In 2000, we launched our Hair Matters program, collecting hair, fur, and fleece clippings to make petroleum spill clean-up booms. “You shampoo because hair collects oil.” Through this program we get to meet hundreds of thousands of salons, pet groomers, farmers. We were very involved in the Cosco Busan Oil Spill (2007) and BP Deepwater Horizon (2010) in the Gulf of Mexico. Mostly, we work with cities, harbors, armed forces and industries to promote this waste fiber recycling system for green jobs mobilization which is helping to keep our waterways and storm drains clean. More Information


Donating Hair, Fur, Fleece, Fuzz FAQ 


  1. How do I donate hair / fur / fleece (including horse, rabbit, different types of pet fur)?
    To donate to our Hair Matters program (even for a one-time hair donation), first sign up to our platform – Humanity Adding Solutions. We ask you to do this because our cottage-industry factories have limited space, and we try to match donations with the nearest emergency spills.

    We always need ponytails that are 5 inches (12cm) or longer and separated from the short hair (we use these for the scrims – a lacy outer layer we fill in with shorter hair, fur, fleece, etc.).

    We accept all kinds of human hair (unless it’s synthetic); pet fur – both mixes of dog, cat, rabbit… and single; and horse, alpaca, llama, buffalo, and sheep… at least two inches (~5cm) long and free of debris. You can put anything shorter than 2 inches into your garden, flower pots, and window boxes as a nutrient-rich mulch for the soil.

    We only accept hair from the neck up. Underarm hair, bikini-area hair, and dreadlocks (which don’t work with our machines) are great to put around plants like basil, which get attacked by snails. Long hair is good for gardens too, but it should be covered by soil. For mixed lengths: hair brush, shower drain be sure to put topsoil over the hair to save birds from “stringfoot.”

    We are unable to accept wigs or synthetic extensions.

    We also need a large database of donors that we can reach out to during emergency oil spills, so thank you for signing up!

  2. Steps to Donating (Posting) on The Hum Sum:
    1) Go to, and create an account (only takes a few seconds) if you don’t have one. We don’t sell or share any of your private info.
    2) Click on the + sign to Donate a Gift
    3) In the Title field, enter for example: ponytail or dog fur…
    4) Fill out the rest of the form and click Publish
    5) You’ll get a message, usually within 72 hours with a mailing address.

  3. What lengths of hair / fiber can I post?
    Ponytails 5+ inches (12cm) and longer – Please put loose hair in an envelope. Please do not secure hair with rubber bands.

    Boxes of clippings (over 2 inch / 5cm) – Most salons and groomers simply reuse shampoo delivery boxes and line them with a garbage bag (ideally compostable). The boxes must be debris free, meaning nothing sharp and no cigarettes, food, metal pins, clips, garbage, etc. Your box’s contents will end up in classrooms, felting machines, and natural habitats (waterways, rivers, oceans). See our video on how to donate hair. Please put a towel or mat on the floor and collect it from there. Please do not sweep off the floor.

    Loose fur, wool, and fleece – Fleece and wool can be any grade. Please make sure there are no nail clippings, vegetation, rocks, or anything hard that could damage the needles of our machines, or we will have to throw away the whole batch. See our videos on how to donate fur and fleece.

    We can provide thank you letters for your donation. Donors also pay for the shipping, which can usually be expensed.

  4. Fleece donors:
    Thank you for sending in debris-free fleece clippings for our projects! Please send in cardboard boxes or bags sturdy enough to be shipped.
    Please note: it’s very important for fiber to be debris-free because debris can ruin our felting machines. So, please, no leaves, twigs, rocks, dirt, feces, etc. Otherwise we have to discard the whole container. NOTE: Here at EcoWool, any contaminated fleece will be made into pellets.

    Every length, color, and type of fleece is welcome!

    Please contact us for shipping addresses.

    When you post donations on, please specify the quantity and unit size of your donations (bags, boxes, pallets, truck loads, etc.).

    Check out the other departments on our Free Exchange at The whole program is free and designed to encourage turning waste into useful resources.  We link those who have surplus to those who have need, and to reduce carbon emissions from overflowing landfills!

  5. Why can’t you just give me an address?!
    Due to the sheer volume of donations from the thousands of generous donors like yourself, we have to manage the volume and direct materials to closest recipients.
    Depots are not always open, and we don’t want any boxes returned to donors.
    Please sign up to the Free Exchange on our Hum Sum – Humanity Adding Solutions platform and post your gift of hair under the Hair Matters – hair category. Thanks!

  6. What happens to my hair when you get it?
    Matter of Trust uses hair/fur/fleece donations in several ways. Fibers are felted into mats on site (or at partner felting sites) or they are stuffed into sheaths such as donated nylon stockings, or burlap coffee bean bags, to make booms. (see manufacturing hair mats page for more information.)

    Mats, booms, and loose fibers are being used in research and pilot studies around the world. The mats are used by hazmat teams in oil spill cleanups and by public works departments in storm drain cages to keep motor oil drip spills out of waterways. Booms are best for encircling spills or “sandbagging” a beach to keep sands clean. Natural waste fibers are also used in classroom oil spill clean up demos.

  7. Who first thought of using hair to clean up oil spills?
    Phil McCrory, during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.
    See YouTube video:
    Full news article: Register-Herald

  8. Why divert natural fibers from the waste stream?
    Hair, fur and fleece soak up oil extremely quickly. So quickly that it is dangerous for wildlife to be near an oil spill, as their fur and feathers get coated in oil before they can escape. We take advantage of the adsorbing properties of these hairs and fibers by felting them into the form of mats and making booms.
  9. What are the properties of hair that help in an oil spill cleanup?
    It’s the surface area of the hair – the nooks and crannies along the strands. The oil coats it all. Hair is adsorbent not absorbent. Hair doesn’t swell up like a sponge, instead the oil coats the entire surface area of the hair, and because of the sheer volume, it is a very efficient material.
  10. Do we accept hair that is chemically treated, dyed (including chemical, henna and other natural dyes), permed, or straightened?
  11. Does hair have to be washed?
    No. Donated hair can be unwashed.

  12. Do we take hair swept up from floor?
    Ideally, no. During cut, put down smock for cuts and pull it aside for long hair. We can’t take other kind because of trash/debris.
  13. Is shipping covered?
    Matter of Trust is a public charity and is not covering shipping costs, but you do get a donation verification form to use for expenses if a business and in taxes if you itemize.