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How to Avoid Pilling on Clothes and Sheets

Pilling on clothing and sheets can make them look unsightly and feel rough. This page has advice about how to avoid pilling on clothes and sheets.


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January 24, 2008 Flag

How do I avoid pilling on clothes/sheets. I have cotton sheets that have this and this is rough to sleep on. Also my nylon nightgown is the same way. Does anyone know what causes this and how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it.

Sheila from Ontario, Canada

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January 24, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Wash the sheets alone, separate from towels. Wash your lingerie separate from all the laundry. Dry sheets in dryer with nothing else. You'll see a BIG difference in how good the sheets feel. You may have to start over with new sheets, but this method works. Always wash YOUR girl clothes separate from your husbands. The oils from his clothes comes off on your things. Enjoy the nice smell too.

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January 24, 20080 found this helpful
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All fabrics do this to an extent but the worst offenders are synthetic fabrics not natural fibers like cotton. Are your sheets 100% cotton? I read somewhere to wear nightclothes in the same type as your sheets. Maybe switch to cotton nightie. Fabric rubbing together is the cause of happens both when you wear the clothes and when you wash them.

When you launder clothes:

- wash natural fibers and synthetics in separate loads

- wash towels and other lint-y items like fleece/flanne in a separate load from clothing

- turn them inside out,

- wash on a gentler cycle and/or a shorter cycle,

- don't overcrowd the load in the washer,

- use something as a fabric softener,

- don't over-tumble in the dryer,

- hang dry the items if possible is better yet

- put items in garment washing bags in the washer if possible

You can buy a battery operated sweater shaver to shave off the pills for cheap. Put the clothing on a hard flat surface to shave. (Be extra careful on knit fabrics with these though.) There also are sweater stones to de-pill stuff but I haven't had good luck with those.

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January 27, 20080 found this helpful
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I have found that the better quality sheets do not do this. I bought some inexpensive sheets and they pilled dreadfully, however more expensive ones did not. It has something to do with the thread count.

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January 28, 20080 found this helpful
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It is the thread count, it doesn't matter if you wash them in hot or cold water. I suggest you buy a higher thread count. I know there are a little more expensive, but worth the price. If you are on a limitted budget, check out the thrift stores, after all you will wash them before using.

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April 23, 20080 found this helpful
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The best way to get rid of pilling is to get a razor and shave it! Yep, you heard me right! It works a treat. Just hold the sheet flat and taut and shave away!

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January 28, 20080 found this helpful

I know that anything with acrylic in it will fuzz ball very easily. I refuse to buy any sweater made of any percentage acrylic because after only one wearing it starts!

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January 30, 20080 found this helpful

I once bought 300-thread count sheets at Bed, Bath & Beyond and they pilled badly. I took them back and got another set and the same thing happened. I took them back again and then spent about $20 for the next higher-priced sheets and they are fine. But if they pill on you - take them back! Also, since these were king-size, they were the only thing in the machine when I washed and dried them. And they pilled on both sides -- where I slept and where my husband slept. So the clothing didn't seem to matter.

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February 6, 20080 found this helpful

We are being ripped off. Don't buy any sheets unless they say 1 (one)ply. Manufacturers are taking one ply and spliting them into two ply, so they can increase the thread count. that means 200 thread count becomes 400 and so on. Take them back.

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February 15, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you for all your suggestions.


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Anonymous Flag
October 13, 20120 found this helpful

Wow, I used the razor method mentioned in another comment and it worked like a dream! I finished my entire fitted sheet in about 5 minutes and it feels brand new again! People, seriously, just use an average razor blade and shave until they're gone. No need to buy new sheets! :D

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