Removing pilling from clothing


It’s been fall for a while and it’s just now starting to feel like it! A few years ago I had several sweaters and shirts that were pilling horribly, so I searched for ways to fix them. One method that seems to work is using a razor and yes, literally shaving your clothing! Recently I was describing this method to someone and they thought I was nuts. But folks, I’m telling you…it works! I used two examples for my experiment. I used an inexpensive BIC razor, but I’ve also used an expensive Venus razor and I actually prefer a cheap single blade razor. It keeps the pilled material more cohesive than a razor with three separate blades.

Exhibit A: My hunter green cable knit sweater. This is made out of a wool blend and the cable knit pattern was all caddywhompus, so the razor method didn’t work that great to be honest. It did remove some of the furriness, but not the larger pills. For that, I resorted to the good old fashion method of picking them off myself. I didn’t take before and after pictures because the pilling was hard to see due to the dark color of the sweater. It did make somewhat of a difference, but it definitely doesn’t look like it did the day I bought it.


Exhibit B: My five year old who-knows-what-brand cotton blouse. This thing has been through the wringer! As you can see, it has quite a bit of pilling! It was more obvious because of the lighter color so I took before and after pictures for this one. It took me about 20 minutes just to do the front of this blouse.





The best way to do this method is to use short, quick movements and then the pilled up material will slowly form a snake of material. If you use movements that are too long, it will leave residue of the pilling all over that section.

The good: The razor method definitely works to remove pilling

The bad: It takes a long time.

The ugly: If you don’t “shave” every part of your shirt carefully, then you’ll be left with sections of ugly looking pilled material right next to smooth material which makes the clothing look even worse!

On the same note, I’m not sure how well this method holds up over time. If I remember correctly, I used this method on a shirt back in college with a similar material as the blouse, and it ended up pilling again the very next time I washed it. After a few years of wear, fabric slowly gives out and maybe it is just better to toss clothing rather than salvage it.


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