Top Tricks to prevent and remove fabric pilling


We’ve all been there! Reaching into the wardrobe for your favourite sweater only to see it covered in little fuzz balls. Also known as “pills,” these small balls make your clothing look worn-out and also take a toll on the lifecycle the lifespan of your sweater. The same sweater that could have lasted for years is now either thrown into the back of the wardrobe in shame or cast out in the garbage due to lint and pilling – that you could have prevented!

The primary reasons behind fabric pilling include rubbing, friction, machine-washing, tumble drying and stress from daily wear. The tiny loose fibres on the fabric surface snag and tangle with each other, forming small balls of fuzz and bobbles. This is why areas of high wear-and-tear, such as across the chest, collars, elbows, etc., tend to get more pilled and look worn out.

Pilling (or bobbling) not only makes your clothes look worn out, but it also takes away their vibrancy and freshness. For example, the same bright white shirt that looked great some washes ago can now appear to be a sad ‘off white’, dull and faded (due to piling on the upper surface). Whilst the color is dulled, the texture and handfeel of clothing are also significantly affected by bobbles as the once smooth surface becomes rough to touch

All of this calls for an effective clothing pilling solution. In this blog, we will share the best tips and tricks for removing and preventing fabric pilling. Let’s get into it!

How to remove pilling from cotton fabric

Cotton is one of the most widely used fabrics on the market. From coats and jackets to jeans and t-shirts, cotton makes up more than 70% of the apparel industry.

Being a natural fibre, that holds color well, can be worn from casual to crip, and is much cosier and more breathable than man-made synthetics such as nylon, polyester, etc. These characteristics make cotton a top choice for year-round clothing from underwear to outerwear and everything in between. 

However, there is a catch! Cotton attracts more lint and pilling as compared to other types of fabrics. You might notice that the crisp whites and deep navies don’t stay quite the same after several wears and wash cycles. The main culprit behind this is fabric pilling, or bobbles.

Luckily, there are many tools to remove pilling from cotton fabric:

1. Fabric Shavers

Fabric shavers are usually battery-operated and use a sharp rotating blade or razor to cut  off pilling from the fabric’s surface. There are many popular options with adjustable settings and different shaving edges.

While using a fabric shaver, it is important to stay cautious. Putting more than necessary pressure (which is very easily done!) on the fabric can easily snag or tear it, especially if you are dealing with delicates such as wool, cashmere, or silk blends.

Moreover, they need to be thoroughly cleaned after each wash to ensure that the lint or pills don’t get transferred from one fabric to another

2. BIORESTORE Re-Tergent

BIORESTORE Re-Tergent is the ideal choice to remove pilling (or bobbles) and lint from cotton and cotton blends. This pilling remover Re-Tergent, is an all-in-one solution that deeply exfoliates the garments while restoring their original colour, texture, and handfeel.

Using BIORESTORE is pretty straightforward. Simply add the laundry powder into your washing machine (a box of BIORESTORE can work for 6–8 items of adult clothing), run a 40ºC wash on cotton or eco mode for 2 hours, and finish the process with tumble drying.

As long as your clothes are made of at least 70% cotton, you don’t need to worry about patch testing or anything else. However, make sure to check the care label attached to garments before tossing them in the dryer. If a label mentions no machine drying, then you can rinse off the fabric with a little detergent and then let it dry naturally.

3. Lint Rollers

Lint rollers are manual gadgets to remove pilling, lint, pet hair, etc. from your clothing via an adhesive sheet or paper. There is a plastic handle attached to these rollers that you can hold to roll   over the fabric. As the roller moves, the adhesive catches the debris on the upper layer of the fabric without going into the deeper surface, removing a fine surface layer of lint

Lint rollers are a really handy tool for removing lint and pills quickly from your clothing. But keep in mind that they may not be suitable for removing deeply embedded pilling, or for cleaning huge areas covered with bobbles Moreover, they are designed to be “disposables,” which means that they are not appropriate for long-term usage.

How to prevent pilling

As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Now that we have looked at some of the of the best ways to get rid of those pesky little pilling balls on your clothing, here are some strategies that can help you prevent pilling for a longer period of time.

1. Check the care label

Checking the care label is lesson 101 for effective fabric care. You can find all instructions regarding washing, drying, ironing, etc. on the care label. By sticking to these guidelines, you can keep your favourite pieces of clothing looking fresh and brand new for as long as you want. 

2. Sorting is key

We all know that sorting is necessary for effective laundry care. But how does it help with pilling? The answer is quite simple!

Some fabrics are more susceptible to pilling, such as sweaters, knitwear, towels, etc. Loose threads can snag, tear, and transfer pills to other clothes in the laundry load as well.

To keep this from happening, wash pilling shedders or already pilled clothing separately from the lint-free clothes. Some examples include towels, bed sheets, socks, and knitwear.

3. Don’t overload the laundry machine

Every laundry machine has a specific set of instructions on how many items of clothing should be washed at one time. If you are thinking that tossing everything together in the washing machine will save you time, it won’t. 

Having extra clothes in the laundry machine can increase friction between clothes, which acts as a catalyst for the fabric pilling process. Moreover, when a fabric doesn’t get enough space to move around during the washing cycle, it might not get properly cleaned, leaving a residue of dirt and detergent within the textile fibres.

By understanding the main reasons behind fabric piling and picking the best clothing pilling solution, you can significantly upgrade your laundry care regime. Remember, the more you care about your clothes, the longer they will last. Until next time!

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