5 Easy Ways to Remove Fabric Pilling

Our clients sometimes ask us how to remove pilling from their favorite socks. After all, they were custom made for them and wanting to keep them looking good for as long as possible is a compliment to us.

Pilling (often referred to it as fur balls, fuzz balls, or lint balls) are those unattractive clusters of fiber that appear on the surface of your clothes over time. If you find yourself in a spotty situation, here are some suggestions on how to remove and slow down pilling.

1. Fabric Shaver (or Defuzzer)

This is probably the easiest method to remove pilling from fabrics. A fabric shaver looks and works a bit like dry shavers men use on their beards. Here’s a good video demonstration of one in action: Using a fabric shaver to remove pilling.

2. Sweater Stone (or Pumice Stone)

Sweater stones require a little more patience and skill to use. They work by cutting (and sometimes pulling) the fibers that are sticking out. Learn how to use a sweater stone in this video: How to remove pilling from clothing with a pumice stone.

3. Shaving Razor and Scissors

Using a shaving razor or scissors to remove pilling can be quite meticulous, but it'll do the trick if you don't own the items above. You can see a shaving razor working magic on a shirt here: Removing clothing pilling with a shaver.

4. Packing Tape

I wouldn’t recommend using this method unless you absolutely need to because it tends to unravel fibers. However, if you're in a desperate situation, firmly pressing some packing tape onto your fabric and removing it might do the trick.

5. Slow Down Pilling

This tip is for those who want to slow down the process that causes pilling and give their clothes a longer lifespan. The number one cause of pilling is excessive rubbing against other surfaces, and nowhere does this occur more than in—you guessed it—the washer and dryer. Next time, try hand washing and line drying your favorite fabrics and you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how long fabrics can last. At the very least, you can use a laundry bag to separate delicate fabrics from the rest of your laundry before throwing them all into the washer and dryer.


About the author

Sachin Patel has been designing socks for retailers, businesses, and promotional products distributors since 2010. His background in engineering and textiles is integral in streamlining production processes and developing detailed product specifications at EVERSOX, a worldwide supplier of custom socks.