The Best Way to Remove and Prevent Pilling

If you’re like me, you got your hands on every B|_ANK sweater available this season and want to keep them in picture perfect condition...KEEP READING.

 how to remove pilling from knits, how to avoid pilling on sweaters and knits

Here’s the kicker when it comes to knits- they may pill (well, usually not the Blank ones, because quality is Blank’s priority)- but some knits in your closet may and you probably would love to know how to avoid that and treat them if necessary.  

I mean, I’m sure you can remember that terrible pang of disappointment you felt when pulling a knit blanket or sweater out of your closet, only to see it littered with pills. 

How it quickly turned from pretty, to downright dowdy, and therefor unwearable. 

You may have wondered, “What in the world happened my favorite knit item? Is it a lost cause? Do I need to chuck that sweater now?"

Well, we’re here to tell you- maybe not! Enter Blank’s expert advice team to the rescue! That sweater is save-able! Yes, you can release that pent up sigh of relief.

How though? How do I get it fixed? Well, read on, we’ll guide you through it!


Part 1: How the pilling happens: 

You’d be best off first knowing how pilling occurs- because that’s the best way to avoid them altogether. The way it happens is usually because of one of the following reasons: 


Culprit #1: Wearing it too often.  

Yes, wearing your knit items very often and close together can make them pill faster. 


Aim to space wearing your fave knit sweater at least 24 hours apart. "Resting” your knitwear in between wears gives it time to spring back to shape and preserves the fibers for the next wear. 


Culprit #2: Rubbing. 

Every time you rub your sleeve against your desk, a handbag or even against your side, the friction causes the fibers to loosen and 'bobble' up.



Try to avoid rubbing against other items when wearing knits, especially items that have more texture or grooves such as velcro, cement, prickly plants and so on. 


Culprit #3: Washing your clothes improperly


Washing your clothes the right way and here’s how:

Proper way to wash knits: 

Step 1-Try to minimize the amount of washing you do for your sweaters. Sweaters only need to be washed every 2 to 5 wears unless soiled. Don’t over wash. If it does need to be washed, use stain removers to spot clean individual stains instead of washing entire garment, if possible. 

Step 2- If you do need to wash it regularly, your best bet is hand wash. However, if that isn’t enough or you don’t have the time for it and  you need to use your machine, follow these next steps carefully to ensure minimal pilling

Step 3- Always sort your clothes by fabric type and  color. (Ideally, wash the knit item on its own, in a small load.) Always turn your knit garment inside out ( if it’s inside out when it’s being washed, pilling will form on inside of the garment and won’t be seen.) Also, make sure to remove any lint with a lint remover, prior to washing and fasten any zippers, buttons, or hooks (these can cause more abrasion and loose fibers.)   

Step 4- Make sure to use the gentlest cycle possible and coldest wash possible, use the right amount of detergent, as well as fabric softener, since it helps protects the fibers. Use liquid rather than powder detergent, and ideally, detergents with cellulose enzymes, such as Method Laundry Detergent, or Persil ProClean. (These detergents help loosen and remove pills in the wash).  

Some additional washing tips- Some say using a half cup of vinegar the first time you wash your knit item will help prevent pills. Using mesh bags for your knits can also further reduce abrasion. Also important? Don’t overload your washing machine! (If clothes can’t move easily in the machine, they rub together more and cause more friction.)

And last but not least, do not tumble dry, only hang dry any knits. 

 "Aha, thank you Blank!” is what you’re thinking- “I’ll be careful moving forward, and hopefully avoid any pilling. 


What if I just got to your blog and the pilling has already occurred? (tsk tsk, a pity-but ok- better later than never-well forgive you) ;)

What can I do then?”


Well that’s why we have part two-



Part 2: Once it Already Happened: 

What to do once your sweater is already pilled? Either you didn’t know how to avoid them, or tried avoiding them, but they occurred nevertheless? 

how to remove piling from knit fabrics and sweaters

Solution 1: 

Fabric Shaver 

What it is: A small machine that shaves off pills. 

How to use it:  First spread your sweater out really well, so that it is taut. When using it, make sure to glide it a smidge above the fabric so it catches only the pill, do not push the shaver down on the fabric below it, otherwise it can cut the fabric. Use a shaver with sharp blades for best results, then use a lint roller for any remaining loose fibers or pills. 

Fabric shavers we suggest: 

Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover

Solution 2: 

Fabric Razor

What it is: a razor specifically designed for shaving off pills, alternatively you can use a regular razor. 

How to use it: with your sweater spread tautly, gently brush the surface of sweater with fabric razor/shaver. 

Razors we suggest:

Battery-Free Fabric Razor/Shaver & Lint Brush

Fabric Razor

Regular Razor


Solution 3: 

Sweater Comb

What it is:  A comb of wire mesh that is roughly textured in order to catch loose fibers from knits.

How to use it: Lay your sweater taut, then brush gently over sweater to remove pills and fuzz. 

Sweater combs we suggest:  

Sweater Comb

Wood Sweater Shaver 


Solution 4: 

Sweater Stone: 

What it is: Similar to pumice stone, this stone also removes pilling and balling.

How to use it: Lay your sweater taut, then brush gently over sweater to remove pills or fuzz. 

Sweater Stones we suggest: 

Sweater Stone

Sweater Saver


So there you have it, no need to panic anymore when your sweater gets pilled. Blank has saved your day-once again;)

(Please note that the above guidelines are suggestions and not guaranteed. We are not responsible for any pilling, shrinking and damages that may occur.)

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