How to Avoid Pilling on Clothes and Sheets

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

January 24, 20080 found this helpful

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 w/ 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

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 25, 20080 found this helpful

Wash the sheets separately, just by themselves. Also, if your water is too hot, this can happen. Good luck!

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January 27, 20080 found this helpful

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 27, 20080 found this helpful

Well for pilling on the clothes,at least for clothes you have a few option's.

1-Buy dryell sheet's,they come with 2 bag's (about $9.00 still cheaper then the cleaner's) Each bag will clean 5 thing's and this is how I do my sweaters, furniture throws,Quilts.

2-They have hand held machines (small and large, you hold them in your hand's they are light).They operate by batteries and you can run them over anything and they take the pills off.I often do this to some blouses and shirt's while watching T.V or a good movie.

3-Take them to a cleaners. This keeps them from pilling as the washing machine does a good job of that. I use all 3 way's depending on time and how many sweaters or blouses I have.If I only have 1 or 2 I just take them to the cleaners. It is the easiest, but then if you clean them at home you can clean 10 Items for what it would cost for 4 item's at the dry cleaners,

It boils down to money and time as how you would like to do this.I have used my big pill remover on my one couch, I have, and as usual while watching T.V.I hope this helps you some. Good Luck dar

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January 27, 20080 found this helpful

Usually 100% cotton sheets do not pill--maybe your sheets have some polyester. Those tend to pill. Considering we spend about 1/3 of our lives asleep in bed, I think it's worth it to spend a little extra on high quality comfortable sheets.

Nylon does tend to pill and I don't think it feels good on anyway. I don't buy nylon clothing unless it is on sale really cheap and looks nice.

I think that natural fibers like cotton or silk or wool are much more comfortable and hold up longer, so I try to stick with those.

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January 28, 20080 found this helpful

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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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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April 23, 20080 found this helpful

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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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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January 22, 20150 found this helpful

Hi, Sheila. I've found that if I wash my sweaters and other knitted items separately, they don't pill as badly. Towels, for instance, seem to be the worst for forming pills on sweaters. Too, after fluff / air drying sweaters for only a few minutes, I lay them flat on either my bed or the living room floor: pilling isn't so much of a problem these days.

Hope these small tips help,

Rose Anne from Calgary

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