What is Fabric Pilling: Causes/ Treatment/ Prevention

What is Fabric Pilling: Causes/ Treatment/ Prevention

We’ll examine the factors that contribute to fabric pilling in this article, along with treatments and prevention strategies.

You might have noticed that some of your clothing has developed tiny tufts of fuzz on the fabric surface after a few wearings. Pills is the name given to these lint balls. Fortunately, you can usually get pills out of your system using a fabric comb or a battery-powered pill/lint remover that cuts or scrapes them off.

Continue reading to find out more about fabric pilling and how to avoid it.

What is Fabric Pilling?

A fabric pill, also known as a fuzz/lint ball, is a small cluster of fibers that gathers on fabric as a result of friction against the face of the fabric. This wear and tear, which is frequently misinterpreted, may give the impression that the fabric is flawed, even though it is not.

Most homes experience frequent instances of fabric pilling. It is not a fabric defect or fault from the manufacturer. Below are some fabrics that will pill:

What Causes Fabric Pilling on Clothes?

What is Fabric Pilling: Causes/ Treatment/ Prevention

These annoying fabric pills develop as a result of regular wear and tear when surface-level broken clothing fibers entangle with one another. These threads gather over time to form the recognizable lint ball that adheres to your clothing. They may draw stray micro-threads during a wash cycle, hastening the process of fabric pilling.

Additionally, normal friction from your clothing rubbing against a bag or backpack, moving around on the couch, or other objects can cause your clothes to pill.

Does Hot Water Cause Pilling?

Hot water washing can increase the likelihood of pilling even though it doesn’t directly cause the fabric to pill. When washing with hot water instead of cold, clothing fibers can deteriorate more quickly. This might cause the fabric fibers to tangle and produce those annoying little fabric pills on your laundry.

Can the Dryer Cause Pilling?

The friction caused by fabrics rubbing against one another during the tumble dry cycle can, in fact, cause pilling. Consider air drying your fabrics instead of putting them in the dryer if you have a load of fabrics that are more likely to pill.

How to Treat Fabric Pilling?

What is Fabric Pilling: Causes/ Treatment/ Prevention

Fabric pilling can happen despite your best efforts, especially with some fabrics and items. Due to body movement, fitted bed sheets, for instance, are prone to pilling in the middle or at the foot of the bed.

Additionally prone to pilling are loosely woven fabrics like wool, fleece, and flannel. To remove pilling from clothing, there are a variety of techniques available.

  • Remove Fuzz With a Lint Roller Or Tape: To quickly remove looser pills from fabric, use lint rollers or ordinary sticky tape. To get rid of fuzz balls, apply the tape to the object’s sticky side down and pull it off.
  • Get Rid of Pills With a Sweater Stone: A sweater stone, which is typically made of pumice, picks up pills from fabric as you gently rub it along its surface.
  • Use a Fabric Shaver to Remove Fabric Pilling: Using fabric or sweater shavers can also aid in getting rid of clothing fuzz. Be careful when using fabric shavers because using too much pressure can remove more fabric than you intend.

Is Fabric Pilling Preventable?

To some extent, all fabrics will pill. Some, though, have a lower pilling risk. The fabrics that pill the least are those that are smooth and tightly woven. The reason for this is that the fabric’s internal fibers are firmly bound together.

The most likely fabrics for the pill are those made with multiple types of fiber. When one fiber is stronger than the other, the weaker fiber becomes loose while the stronger fiber secures the pills to the fabric.

How to Prevent Fabric Pilling?

So how do you avoid having fuzzy sheets and clothing? Here is some laundry advice to help avoid pilling.

What is Fabric Pilling: Causes/ Treatment/ Prevention

Check the Care Label

Always look for washing and drying instructions on the fabric care label. To keep things in good condition and avoid pilling, start by following the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular fabric type in question.

Sort Clothes by Type and Turn Items Inside Out

Separate and wash clothing made of similar fabric types in the same load to reduce abrasion. For example, more pilling may occur when heavy garments like jeans are washed with light garments like sweaters.

Turning clothing inside out can also help reduce excessive rubbing from other objects on the fabric’s surface.

Use a Detergent With Enzymes and a Gentle Wash Cycle

By reducing the propensity of fabric fibers to form knots, enzyme-based detergents can help prevent pilling. To avoid the fibers becoming brittle and breaking, you might want to add fabric softener.

To lessen agitation, select a cycle that is gentle or delicate and has slower spin rates. For items that are particularly prone to pilling, hand washing is a good alternative.

Air Dry If Possible

Instead of putting dry items in the dryer, line them up or lay them out flat to dry. When items tumble against one another in the dryer, pilling can result from friction.

Final Words: Fabric Pilling

Pilling occurs when a material’s fibers become loose and start to rub against one another as a result of movement. This is the reason that everything, including your favorite sweatshirt and the gorgeous area rug you just purchased, will have pilling.

It’s also a good idea to even out loose fibers with a fabric shaver or pilling comb to get rid of any existing pills as well as any that may form in the future. The pilling will stop when there are no more loose fibers and all of the fibers are of equal length.


Is Fabric Pilling a Defect?

While pilling can be bothersome, it is not considered a fault or defect. Additionally, since fabric pilling is not a defect, it is not covered by the furniture warranty. Pilling can happen to a variety of textile and material products, such as clothing, rugs, and mattresses.

Does Pilling Mean Bad Quality?

Pilling is a natural process that will inevitably happen to even the most luxurious fabrics like cashmere wool and is not necessarily an indicator of poor quality, nor a reason to discard or return a garment.

Which Fabrics Pill the Most?

It’s crucial to realize that fabrics are made of either long fibers or short fibers and that short fibers, such as cotton, are typically more likely to pill.

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