How To Get Rid Of Pilling On Clothes

Last Updated on 4 weeks by Susan Mayrich

Are you wondering how to get rid of pilling on clothes? Pilling on clothes is an annoying and common problem that can occur with any type of clothing, but it’s especially noticeable with cotton.

how to get rid of pilling on clothes

Fortunately, there are ways you can remove those unsightly pills from your favorite sweaters, shirts, and coats, so they look as good as new again!

We’ve put together this guide for removing pilling on clothes to help you save money by avoiding expensive dry cleaning bills and replacing your garments before they’re completely worn out.


What Is Pilling On Clothes?

Fabric pills are essentially loose bits of textiles that come off of clothes. They can also be called “poppies” or “lint balls.” A lot of the time, you’ll need to shake your clothes out for these little buggers to fall off them. If they’re not doing so on their own, try using a fabric shaver or an adhesive tape dispenser to remove them.


What Causes Pilling On Clothes?

Pilling on clothes is caused by broken or short clothing fibers on the surface tangled together. When you wear your clothes, the agitation causes these pieces of fabric to rub against one another and break apart. This creates “pills” or little bunches of fabric stuck to the other fibers in your shirt.


Ways To Get Rid Of A Pilling On Clothes

Here are the ways on how to get rid of pilling on clothes:


Use a pumice stone or fine-grade

For most synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon, etc.), use a pumice stone or fine-grade sandpaper with light pressure to rub out the pills.

This method works best when removing small pills that aren’t too deeply embedded into the material.

how to get rid of pilling on clothes


Use hair dryer

For larger or more stubborn pill clusters, try using a hairdryer with a heat setting set between warm and hot.

Once you’ve removed as many loose threads as possible hold the garment up against an ironing board and press lightly with medium heat until smooth again.

If any remaining pills are sticking up, use the hair dryer to heat them until they’re completely flat.

use hair dryer


Use adhesive tape

Try using adhesive tape if you can’t remove the pilling or lint with any other method. Peel back the tape and rub it over any debris on the fabric’s surface.

The pill should stick to the tape and come off the clothing.

use adhesive tape

Note: If you’re using store-bought adhesive tape, ensure you know how to remove adhesive residue without damaging your clothes.


Use an electric sweater shaver

An electric sweater shaver is a device that can be used to remove pilling on clothes.

The process of using an electric sweater shaver is simple. Plug the device in and turn it on to remove those pesky little pills.

These devices work best when removing small or medium-sized pills from sweaters, coats, and other fabric items.

Begin with the lightest touch and work your way up until the pills are gone. They’ll build up in the shaver’s barrel, which you can empty as it fills up.

use an electric sweater shaver


Use a sweater stone

A sweater stone is a rectangular block of natural or synthetic material used with a light hand to remove fabric pills from a garment.

It’s essential to go with the direction of the nap on the fabric and not against it.

Rub the stone against the afflicted region slowly. Collect the extra pills by dragging them across the cloth and removing them with tape or your fingers as they build up.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to your questions:


How to get rid of pilling on the couch?

Rub your clothes against a dryer sheet or hairbrush to remove loose pills before they cause more damage. It is important to note that not all pilling on clothes is an emergency. If you notice small, dime-sized pills or lint balls, they can easily be removed by plucking them off the fabric’s surface with your fingers.


How to get rid of pilling on the couch?

Use a nail brush. Gently run it over the couch in circular motions to remove loose threads from the fabric. After you do this for a while, the pills will also flatten out.


How to get rid of pilling on sheets?

One of the easiest ways to get rid of pilling on sheets is to use a fabric shaver or a vacuum cleaner. If pilling is an issue that you have with your clothes, then go ahead and wash them. We sometimes forget that our garments need clean washing now and then as well. Rinsing your clothes in cold water will also help by removing the excess fibers from the creases of your garments.


How to prevent pilling on clothes?

Here are some ways to prevent your clothes from piling up with pills in the future:

Buy garments that are less susceptible to pilling. This includes natural fibers like cotton or wool, which are easier to protect against this type of damage because they hold together better than synthetic materials. Keep in mind that not all polyester fabrics will pill. It’s usually harder for synthetics to stay together, so the impact is weaker and the fabric breaks down less quickly.

Follow these simple rules when wearing your clothes to decrease lint accumulation: avoid using a clothes dryer when possible, use low heat when drying clothes in the dryer, remove garments immediately after washing to avoid them being caught on anything else in the load, and use a lint shaver regularly.

Iron your clothes. Iron can help flatten pills or lint accumulating into more giant clumps. The heat from the iron relaxes the fibers and smooths them out without damaging the quality of your garments.

Buy a lint shaver. A lint shaver is a small device that removes pilling from clothing, carpets, or any other fabric. The process can be done right in the convenience of your home with little effort. Simply plug the device in, turn it on, and shave away those lint balls. All you have to do is press the shaver against the fabric and watch it work its magic!

Use an adhesive tape roller. These rollers are used to remove pills or fuzz from clothes, furniture, linens, etc., using an ordinary piece of tape. You simply roll the adhesive side over the surface of your clothes and watch as the pills lift right off. This is a fast and convenient way to remove pilling from clothes.


How to get rid of pilling on wool?


What type of sheet does not pill?

Egyptian, supine cotton and Pima are sheets that do not pill. They can avoid the problem because they are very tightly woven and do not have a lot of loose fibers to create pills.


What fabric pills the most?

Knitted Fabrics pills the most when it’s made of wool or cotton. This is because these types of fabric are more coarse and rough than other types and the consequence is that they attract and hold on to more lint and hair.


Can a washing machine cause pilling?

No, It is not true that washing machines can cause fabric pilling on clothes. Although it will worsen the growth of pills on clothes.


Is pilling a sign of bad quality?

No, it is not true that pilling is a sign of bad quality. Pilling is caused by broken or short clothing fibers on the surface becoming tangled together.


Does cotton pill?

No, it is not true that cotton will always pill. Cotton pilling is more prevalent when it’s made of wool or cotton. This is because these types of fabric are more coarse and rough than other types, and the consequence is that they attract and hold on to more lint and hair.


Does fabric softener cause pilling?

No, it is not true that fabric softener causes pilling. Fabric softener does not cause pilling.


What are fabrics that don’t pill?

Linen, silk, and nylon are some fabrics that are less likely to pill.


How do I stop my purse from getting piles?

The best way to prevent pilling in your purse is to periodically remove any accumulated lint by hand with a small brush or duster.


How do you control pilling?

It’s usually harder for synthetics to stay together, so the impact is weaker, and the fabric breaks down less quickly. You may also be interested to know about what is fabric pilling.


It’s A Wrap!

Now, you’ve known how to get rid of pilling on clothes! What do you think? Do you know how to remove pilling on clothes? What tips and tricks have worked best for your clothing? Share your advice in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading. You may also want to read about can you wash jeans with other clothes and how to get polyurethane out of clothes.

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