Household Tips

How to Get Rid of Sweater Pilling

Sweater pills, or the fuzzy balls and little fluffs that pop out on the surface of your sweater, are signs of active use. This problem appears when you don’t store and take care of your sweater properly.

To get rid of sweater pilling, you need to be a smart shopper at the onset. By being meticulous in your shopping and by looking at the materials used in every sweater being sold, you will know what to buy and dodge any impending problem right away.

The Materials Matter

  • Acrylic – Acrylic is a popular fiber used for knitted sweaters. It is also inexpensive and durable so many customers buy acrylic sweaters. Acrylic pills easily. If you don’t have problems with pilling and you want a relatively cheap sweater, then go for something acrylic.
  • Angora – You will definitely love the softness of angora aince it’s a luxury fiber. Pilling won’t be too much of a problem since you won’t need a pill shaver — you can just pick them off. You can also hand wash angora with no agitation at all.
  • Cashmere – If you are looking for a soft fabric, then choose a sweater made of cashmere. Aside from being soft, it is also a classic luxury fiber that pills only very slightly. Sweater pilling on cashmere fabric is never a hassle. Just like angora fabric, you can hand wash cashmere in cold to lukewarm water.
  • Cotton and Linen – You can use your machine to wash a cotton or linen sweater, but be sure to fold it as soon as it is still warm from the machine’s dryer to minimize wrinkling. You can hand wash it to avoid a whitish tint that can develop on the surface of the fabric.
  • Mohair – Mohair is known as a silky luxury fabric. While it is true that it mats over time, it does not easily pill. Since mohair has a matting tendency, dry cleaning is the only way to clean it.
  • Nylon/Polyester – Nylon or polyester requires minimal care. You can machine wash polyester, but hand wash the vintage versions of nylon as these tend to snag.
  • Wool – If you store a wool sweater properly, it will last for years without pilling. A wool sweater becomes softer over time. Pilling depends on the pattern and the yarn used for the sweater. You can dry clean or hand wash it with lukewarm water.

That Loving Pilling

Getting rid of pilling can be a walk in the park. Just follow these simple tips:

Loose Textures – When you shop for sweaters, see to it that the item has no loose textures. Those with loose textures will pill earlier than normal sweaters do. It’s best to hand wash your sweater than use your washing machine. Other kinds of sweaters that needs extra care are those with openwork patterns and applied embellishments. You can still let your machine do the washing, but make sure you turn your sweater inside out before putting in. (If your washing machine experienced trouble while doing this tedious job, you could always repair it, learn how to repair a washing machine)

Using Tools – Use a fabric shaver or an electric piller. Tools like these run through a wall outlet or work with batteries. You can use a fabric shaver if you want to get rid of pills on a flat knit. Do not use a fabric shaver on knits with lofty surfaces, textures and naps. Loose ends and snags shouldn’t worry you at all because a knit picker can solve the problem. The loose yarn outside the garment is drawn inside with a knit picker. You can buy one at sewing shops.

Say No to Stretching – Stretching is one of the many causes of sweater pilling. Stretching is a result of improper storage in your cabinets and closets. When you hang your sweater in a closet, the hanger usually stretches out the humps at the shoulders. If your sweater is heavy, the knit will definitely be pulled down over time. If your sweater is light, pilling can still happen if you are in an area with a humid climate.

The solution? Buy thick and padded hangers from department stores. Make sure they are designed to match the width of an average knit sweater’s shoulders. You can also do blocking, which means shaping a knitted garment into a specific size. Blocking is done by soaking your sweater in lukewarm water and then pressing out the water into your sink gently. Avoid twisting or wring the sweater.

Not Just Another Trick – For portions of knits that are out of shape, dip the stretched areas in hot water and let them shrink in that specific spot. Be careful not to over-shrink your sweater. Wait until the dripping stops and then place the knit onto a two to three layered towel. Mold the knit into the desired shape. If it’s already in place, hold the knit with rustproof pins in this shape while pinning it to the padded towel. Let your sweater dry. You will see that the garment will form into the shape you just molded.

Don’t let sweater pilling prevent you from wearing your favorite piece of clothing. Don’t forget the different types of sweater fabrics and treat them like you would take care of your own child.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of sweater pilling.

About the author

Nicole Harding

1 Comment

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