What is fabric pilling and how do we prevent and remove it?
After a few years or lots of wear, you may notice your clothing starting to “pill”. Pilling is the term used for when your fabric starts to develop little firm, fuzzy balls of lint on the surface. This can happen to your women and ladies clothing including dresses, skirts, tops, pants and other items. While they can seem like a hassle and are often unsightly, thankfully there are a few ways you can remove pilling from clothing, and even prevent them from forming to begin with. So instead of throwing away your clothes, read on to learn more.
What Causes pilling on clothes and fabric?
This pesky pilling is the result of normal wear and tear, everyday friction and fabric rubbing against itself as well as agitation from washing and drying. When broken clothing fibres on the surface become tangled and over time clump together, forming these little balls.
How do you prevent pilling?
We stress our clothes every time we wear them, therefore with most fabrics, some degree of pilling can be inevitable. But luckily there are a few handy tips to help prevent pilling from forming or becoming worse.
1. Check the care label.
Firstly, you should always check the care label for washing and drying instructions. Following the manufacturer’s specific fabric label is a great start to keeping your clothing in good shape.
2. Avoid excess friction when wearing your clothing.
Trying to avoid or reducing the friction your clothes experience day-to-day can help. This could include avoiding wearing a backpack with your favourite top, or holding your handbag in your hand instead of on your shoulder where it hangs and can rub against your side. Reducing the amount of layers you wear at one time can also help prevent fabrics from rubbing.
3. When washing, seperate clothing and turn inside out.
To reduce abrasion, try to seperate and wash clothes with similar fabric types. For example, washing heavy items like jeans with a lightweight sweater or shirt, can result in pilling. We also suggest turning your clothes inside out, which can help prevent direct rubbing on the surface of the item.
4. Use a washing detergent with enzymes, on a gentle wash.
To reduce the likelihood of the fibres knotting, we suggest using an enzyme-based detergent. Adding a fabric softener, as well as washing on a gentle cold wash can also help keep the fibres from becoming rough and breaking. Washing clothing in hot water doesn’t directly cause fabric to pill, but it can make clothing more susceptible to pilling. Did you know that even if your hot water is not connected to your washing machine, and warm wash has been selected, your machine will still warm the water up itself during the cycle. So try to always select a cold wash!
5. Air dry your clothing
Pilling can form from the friction of items tumbling against each other in the dryer, so we always like to suggest drying your items on the line instead, or laying them out flat on a surface.
How to remove pilling on your clothing?
Unfortunately even if you’ve taken every precaution to avoid pilling, some degree of pilling on certain fabrics in often inevitable. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to remove pilling from clothes.
1. Remove fuzz with a lint roller or tape.
Lint rollers and standard sticky tape that you may have at home is quick and easy ways to pull looser pills from fabric. All you need to do is press the sticky side of the tape down on the item and pull off to remove.
2. Remove pills with a ‘Sweater Stone’.
Easily found online, a Sweater stone is a natural pumice like stone, and is an effective way to remove pilling. Gently rub it along the surface of an item and you’ll quickly see results.
3. Use a Fabric Shaver to remove pilling.
A very handy item to have at home, fabric shavers or sweater shavers can also be great to help remove pilling and fuzz from clothing and other fabric. We do recommend to please use caution with fabric shavers, as applying too much pressure can shave away more of the fabric than you want. Again, these can easily be found online.