Clothing Pills

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!


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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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June 14, 20180 found this helpful

Is there a way to remove pilling from dresses that were rubbed the wrong way from a backpack? Mine caused a Calvin Klein and a Ralph Lauren dress to pill on the back.

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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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