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Pilling 101: What Causes It and How to Avoid It

If you have ever noticed small balls of fuzz or lint on your clothing, you have encountered a common problem known as pilling. Pilling occurs when the fibers of a fabric rub against each other and form tiny knots or pills. It can make your clothing (especially knitwear) look old and worn, and reduce their comfort and appearance. In this blog post, we will explain what causes pilling, how to prevent it, and how to remove it from your clothes.


Pilling is caused by friction, which can occur during wearing, washing, or drying. Some fabrics are more prone to pilling than others, depending on the type, length, and quality of the fibers. For example, synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon tend to pill more than natural fibers like cashmere or merino wool, because they are strong and less likely to break. Similarly, short or loose fibers tend to pill more than long or tight ones, because they are more likely to come loose and form pills.

Additionally, some fabrics have a combination of different types of fibers, which can create uneven friction and lead to pilling.

Pilling is less likely to occur on premium quality knitwear, but it is not completely avoidable. The best way to prevent pilling is to reduce the amount of friction that your clothes experience. Here are some tips to help you do that:

  • Choose fabrics that are less likely to pill, such as natural fibers or blends with a high percentage of natural fibers.

  • Wash your clothes inside out, using a gentle cycle and cold water. This will protect the outer surface of the fabric from rubbing against other clothes or the washing machine.

  • Use a mild detergent and avoid using bleach or fabric softener, which damage the fibers and make them them more prone to pilling.

  • Dry your clothes on a low heat setting or air dry them. High heat can shrink and weaken the fibers, making them more likely to pill.

  • Avoid overloading your washer or dryer, which can cause excessive friction and agitation.

  • Store your clothes properly, by folding them neatly or hanging them on padded hangers. Avoid stuffing them in drawers or closets, which can cause them to rub against each other.


Pilling is a common problem that can affect the appearance and comfort of your clothes. However, by following some simple steps, you can prevent it from happening or remove it if it does. We hope this blog post has helped you understand what causes pilling and how to avoid it. Remember, with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your clothes looking fresh and new for longer.

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