Remove fabric pilling


Remove fabric pilling is becoming a very common query for people around the world.

We will discuss what leads to pilling in the first place and then the solutions that would help us remove fabric pilling from our clothes.

What is fabric pilling?

In simple layman terms, small balls start to appear on your clothes after some washes. They are bad to look at and you spend countless hours trying to remove them. Then you wonder why you bought these clothes in the first place and why your favourite brand cannot manage its quality even though you spent a bomb spending on these clothes. Your spouse starts to wonder your shopping decisions and you think what you did wrong!

It is not your fault.

To be fair, it is not your fault, so stop blaming yourself. It is not due to high use of washing soda and please do not blame your laundry company for it, it is not their fault either. To understand how to remove fabric pilling, we need to first understand the internal construction of fabric itself!


The above image is a closeup of how fabric looks under a magnifying glass! Notice the small strands coming out, these are the loose ends of the thread, that are coarse and that tend to amalgamate together to form bobbles or pills.

When loose strands tend to rub against one another, pills or bobbles tend to come at a fast pace. This is also the reason that you would notice pills to be forming at places like elbows as they tend to rub against surfaces more.

There are several reasons that pilling tends to form on the fabric.

1) Shearing loose fibres on the fabric:

As we saw above, loose fibres tend to amalgamate with each other to result in pilling. Using shearing or mechanical cutting using industrial machines, the raw threads of the fabric are removed.

2) Singeing to remove weak fibres not carried out:

The fabric can be processed to remove weak fibres. Excessive pilling of the fabric would mean that the fabric was not processed properly. The fabric should be treated by running the fabric at high speeds over fire to remove/burn weak fibres. This process results in the fabric to have high pilling rate ( On a scale of 1 to 5, a pilling rate of 4 is considered good. )

3) Binding of the fabric not done properly.

Fabric binding can reduce the pilling of the fabric as well. This is done by the use of chemicals that helps to remove fabric pilling.


We now come to the point on how to remove bobbles from the clothes you have.
Simple, with no complications.

1) Use sandpaper to remove pilling by rubbing against pilled clothes.
The pills would stick to the paper, ridding you of pills and giving a clean usable garment in return.

2) Use shaving razors to take out pills.
Remember to clean the blades with water to remove the pills. This would enable the blades to stay relevant for future use.

3) Use velcro to take out pills.
The pills would stick to velcro, leaving you a clean garment.

4) Use scissors to remove them completely.
Simple and sweet: Use scissors to remove the pills.


Fashion entrepreneur tip: Ask for pilling scale from your manufacturers. Ask them what is the pilling of the garment, similar to SPI, this would enable quality manufacturing. This would ensure the manufacturer gives you good quality fabric garments that would enable your customers and retailers to buy from you again and again. Small points make all the difference in the garment and it is important you pay attention to these points!


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