How to Get Rid of Pilling

Ever noticed those tufts of fabric at the foot of your sheets? Read on to learn more about what pilling is and how you can get rid of it.

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If you’ve noticed your sheets feeling less smooth and bits of fluff sticking out of them, you may have a case of pilling on your hands. Keep reading to learn more about what exactly pilling is and how you can stop it.

What Is Pilling?

Pilling is when the fibers of your sheets or bedding tear and clump, or “pill,” together. The result of these clumping bits of torn fabric are visible as small balls of fuzz and a rougher feeling on your sheets. While this can be an annoyance for many people, the good news is that pilling is both preventable and fixable.

What Causes Pilling?

When there’s friction against your sheets, fabrics can tear and start pilling. For example, if you move around a lot on certain parts of your bed, but not others, that is where more pilling occurs. 

Generally, pilling develops most where there’s friction between your sheets and body hair (like on your arms and legs) and your sheets and skin (like when you move your feet).

Although all sheets are susceptible to wearing out from fiction, some fabrics are likely to pill more quickly. Specifically, cheaper sheets or those with low thread counts. More loosely woven or lower quality fabrics tear more easily, which is the main culprit behind pilling.

How to Prevent or Fix Pilling

Let’s take a look at some of the best methods for fixing sheets that are pilling.

Preventing Pilling: Choosing the Right Sheets

Some kinds of sheets and fabrics are more prone to tearing from friction. If you’re looking to prevent pilling from the get go, it’s worth looking into more pill-proof fabric options. 

On one hand, woven fabrics such as cotton and wool are the most prone to wear out from friction, especially if they’re a lower thread count. The same goes for polyester as well. However, smoother fabrics such as silk, Tencel, and bamboo are both smoother and generally higher quality.

Preventing Pilling: Care

Picking a durable and smooth fabric for your sheets is a great way to stay ahead of pilling, but even fabrics like silk and linen still accumulate wear and tear over time. So, if you want your sheets to stay as smooth as possible for as long as possible, it’s important to wash and treat them gently.

When machine washing your bedding, try to avoid very hot water and harsh chemicals, such as heavy amounts of detergent, fabric softener, or bleach. When drying your sheets, it’s best to use medium to low heat or to simply air dry them.

Removing Pilling: The Razor Method

Sure, the above methods are a solid start when it comes to avoiding pilling, but what should you do if your sheets are already torn and pilling? 

One solution is to literally shave your sheets like you would with skin. To do this, simply drag a razor over the areas of your sheets that have pilling, and be sure to shave downwards in continuous strips. Afterwards, you can shake your sheets loose to get rid of any fuzz, or drag a lint roller over them.

Removing Pilling: The Scissor Method

If you’re looking for a more drastic solution, you can always just cut the pilling off with scissors. However, we advise extra caution if you’re going to go down this route, so you don’t accidentally cut a hole right through your sheets. For the best results, we recommend draping the sheets over a curved surface (like a chair or sofa).

TLDR: How to Get Rid of Pilling

In a hurry? Don’t worry, we’ve picked out some of the key points on how to identify, prevent, and fix pilling in your sheets.

What Is Pilling and Why Does It Happen?

Pilling is when the fibers that make up your sheets begin to tear, clump together, and form rough little balls of fuzz. This process is caused by friction (such as your skin and hair against your sheets) and is more common in rougher, lower quality, or lower thread count fabrics.

How Do You Fix Pilling?

To prevent pilling, we recommend washing and drying your sheets on low heat and with few harsh chemicals if possible. Additionally, storing your sheets away from harsh sunlight can also help reduce wear and tear.

How to Get Rid of Pilling FAQ

Which Sheets Pill the Least?

Fabrics that pill the least include bamboo, Tencel, silk, and high thread count linen. This is because these fabrics are woven tightly and are generally smooth and high-quality as well, which reduces friction between your skin and the sheets, and individual fabrics in the sheets.

Does Cotton or Polyester Pill More?

This depends on the quality of cotton and the length of the fabric. For example, cotton made from high-quality long fabrics will be more resistant to pilling because its fabrics will be less likely to break. On other hand, polyester is a smoother fabric than cotton.

Can You Undo Pilling?

Yes. While you can’t completely reverse wear and tear over time to your sheets, you can remove visible pilling by a couple of methods such as gently dragging a razor over the areas with pilling on your sheets, or cutting off fuzz balls carefully with a pair of scissors.