Removing Pills From Fabric

Category Repairing
Unfortunately some types of fabrics are susceptible to pilling, ruining the appearance of your clothing or linens. This is a page about removing pills from fabric.


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It seems like it's always your old favorites that get those awful little fabric pills. Here's a tip that will help your favorite sweater go from worn out to like new again! Take a new disposable razor and lightly go across the garment. Use short strokes while pulling the fabric tight. Don't press too hard and be careful when going near the seams. Stop frequently to blow the pills out of the razor. Your clothes will be looking like new again in no time!

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Instead of using a lint shaver, try using a block of pumice stone. Those nasty tiny pills, and small specs will disappear onto the stone. It's easy to clean the stone that once helped the rough spots on your feet.


While getting ready for the fall and cold months ahead, my electric blanket was matted with small knots and pills all over. I folded the blanket into 4 quarters and used my pumice stone in these small amounts. It didn't take long before the entire blanket was pill free and looked almost new again.

By Sandra from Montvale, NJ

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We all hate the little fuzz balls that end up on our clothes after washing and drying them. They make our clothes look old and grungy. One option many people use to combat this is by using a battery operated fabric shaver. There are a few disadvantages to these.

Using a disposable razor to remove lint and pills from your clothing.

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We all have that favorite sweatshirt or blanket that accidentally got put in the dryer. Well there is a way to get rid of almost all of the balled up lint that has been stuck there.


Just take a razor preferably new and run it over the fuzzies stuck to your sweatshirt.


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December 22, 2014

I use a sweater comb to remove pills from lots of different fabrics and it works great. One drawback is that it has only a small surface for removing the pills, so I think next I will try a suede shoe brush.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Remove fuzz balls from sweaters with a shaver. Go over the surface slowly and carefully with a disposable razor.

By Monica from Cortez, CO


October 22, 20110 found this helpful

Use an electric razor to remove pilling on any clothes. It won't cut the material and just shaves off the pilling. I use an old electric razor for this.

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October 22, 20110 found this helpful

Great idea! Thanks, I have several sweaters I thought I was going to have to get rid of!

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August 2, 2004

For some reason, I seem to have an incredible ability to develop pills on my clothing. What causes this and what can be done to eliminate it or at least decrease it? Sometimes I get pills within just a few wearings!!


I thought that perhaps it was our water, as it is somewhat hard, but then I noticed that some of my clothes had pills down the front and back, but not on the sleeves! I've also noticed that some types of clothing/fabric pills faster than others. Is it the brand or the type of fabric used?

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!



August 11, 20041 found this helpful

Try turning your items that pill inside out before washing. Notice you never get pills on the inside always the outside.

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By Calihafan (Guest Post)
August 28, 20040 found this helpful

Then why, when I washed my sweatshirt, there were pills on both the inside and the outside?

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By Carmella (Guest Post)
February 8, 20051 found this helpful

A couple of things cause "pilling". Yes, cheaper fabrics pill faster or worse than nicer fabrics. (Price is not always indicitave of quality fabrics) Rubbing causes many fabrics to pill. example: sitting in a fabric office chair, you might get pill on the back of your sweater from moving back and forth. Sometimes rubbing together in the washer and dryer contribute to this as well.


BUT, I have discovered a solution. A clothing manufacturer told me to put fabric softener in with my knits when washing to prevent pilling. I have been doing this for about two years now and it seems to work. The cost is offset by not having to replace clothes that look shabby from pilling.
ALSO, it doesn't take very much to accomplish this task...I use about half of the recommended usage on the bottle. Hope this helps

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By denise (Guest Post)
July 13, 20080 found this helpful

I found that if I wash my clothes with towels wash clothes or rags- it causes terrible pills - since not combining them I have saved my clothes.

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By AHA! (Guest Post)
July 25, 20080 found this helpful

Waaa! I recently splurged and purchased high thread count sheets and after washing them have pilling that feels uncomfortable to lie on! I know it is from mixing various materials together in the wash.


I used to work in a dry cleaners and they actually have a lava-rock like item that we used to lightly run over clothing which pulls and cuts pills off. Can't FIND it available to the public though. Even tried a pumice stone for nails (which is similar to the Dry Cleaner item) but it isn't as effective.

Have tried a clothes shaver, no good. Don't want to give away my sheets but can't sleep on them. Any effective PILL REMOVERS OUT THERE?


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By Kaldaka (Guest Post)
January 8, 20090 found this helpful

It sounds weird, but actually I use a cheap disposable razor to shave them off. It works great.

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

An answer for the question about pilling on sheets. I bet the sheets that you have pilling problems with is a "satin" weave sheet. If they have any synthetic fiber in them it will be even more pronounced. Manufacturers have been pushing "satin" weave for the last few years, because they can advertise a higher thread count because of the type of weave. "Satin" weave sheets pill. I doesn't mater how much you pay for them, they always look and feel terrible after a few washings. More of each thread fiber is exposed to friction in the wash machine. I always buy 100% combed cotton sheets in plain weave in the highest thread count as I can afford. These plain weave sheets are getting harder and harder to find. My sheets last for many years and are always very smooth.

If your sheets are flannel, that is another huge problem with pilling. I really don't know why some flannel sheets pill and some don't. It must have something to do with the quality of the cotton fiber.

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February 13, 20160 found this helpful

I find that the RATIO of cotton to polyester is a key. It's best to have more cotton than polyester. Check it out! IF there's more poly (or other synthetic), I will at least wash the item inside out, never with known "linters" (like towels), then avoid the dryer. Once I discovered the ratio formula, however, I just purchase only a higher cotton content

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July 17, 20170 found this helpful

Sometimes I accidentally throw a towel (bath towel that's still newer) in with my wash & this has caused pills to appear in my clothes! A nice navy blue summer maxi-dress of mine was COVERED in white pills just recently because of this (the towel is stripes of white and navy blue). Ugh! Exactly why I came to this forum to find a quick tip to get rid of the pills since lint brushes and masking tape weren't doing the trick. I hope this helps! Wash clothes with "like" items, I guess that's the moral of my story lol! By the way, I used the pumice stone trick to get the pills off. 90% of them came off, good enough for now (I was in a hurry to get out the door). Tried quickly the disposable razor trick and that was no good--used a sharp razor, at that--but I think the razor trick would work great on a heavy knit, fleece or otherwise sturdy fabric. My maxi dress is a finer thread made of cotton and most likely sone other cheap material...

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February 19, 2015

How do you remove the little fur balls or pills from your coat?

By anniecrowder2

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September 9, 2008

I am searching for fired lava rock, in sheet form, approx 3/4 to 1in. thick to remove pilling from clothing. If you have information on where this can be purchased please let me know. Thanks.

Fran from Canada


By Crystal (Guest Post)
September 10, 20080 found this helpful

I got mine at the dry cleaners.

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September 10, 20080 found this helpful

A pumice stone from the drug store in the nail/foot care department will most likely work just as well and can be used for callouses, too, and most likely much less expensive ;-)

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I have two questions really. How do you keep socks and other clothes from pilling? And how do you get rid of the pills after they form?
If there are just a few pills, I can snip them off, but especially the socks form more pills than I can deal with. I am tired of throwing away perfectly good clothes because of unsightly pills.

By Janus


September 15, 20130 found this helpful

Wash them inside out. For pills that have already formed, if they are only a few, pull 'em off (good project for when you are watching TV). If heavily pilled or white looking pills on dark clothing, I wouldn't bother. There used to be little shavers that you could use to remove pills but I never had any luck with them and don't know if they even still exist. I think this is one of those benefits of shopping thrift stores! An item's quality and durability is proven if it's already slightly used and still looks good!

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February 16, 2017

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.

A woman pulling laundry out of a washing machine.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 5, 2010

What is the best rated product to remove fuzz or pills from sweaters?

By judith a tamposi from Hollis, NH


Removing Pills From Sweaters

I use a sponge and vinegar to remove fuzz from clothing, good luck. (04/08/2010)

By kathleen williams

Removing Pills From Sweaters

I use duck tape, make take some work though, good luck. (04/09/2010)

By sally mazgaj

Removing Pills From Sweaters

If the sweater is a tight weave, I use a disposable razor. Put the sweater on an ironing board so that the board is "wearing" the sweater (front on the top of the board, back on the underside. Make sure that the sweater is perfectly smooth on the board and carefully "shave" the sweater, removing the fibres from the razor with pass. Works like a charm and I've never damaged a sweater doing this.

Unfortunately, you can't use this method if the sweater has a loose weave. Also, you can buy inexpensively, battery-operated sweater shavers that work well too. I had one many years ago and wore it out. I haven't replaced it because I just use the razor now. (04/10/2010)

By Lori

Removing Pills From Sweaters

You can use a razor, it works wonders! Good luck! (07/31/2010)

By domo

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