top of page

What You Need to Know About Pilling on Knitwear Made of Natural Fabric: The Factors, Effects, and Remedies

Pilling is caused by friction, which breaks the fibers of your knitwear and makes them stick out. Friction can occur from wearing, washing, drying, or storing your knitwear. Some factors that increase the likelihood of pilling are:

  • The type of fabric: Some natural fabrics are more prone to pilling than others. For example, merino wool and cashmere have shorted and finer fibers than cotton, which makes them more likely to break and pill.

  • The quality of fabric: Higher quality fabrics (such as Class A Cashmere) have longer and stronger fibers that resist pilling better than lower quality fabrics. Cheaper fabrics such as synthetic fabrics, can increase pilling.

  • The construction of knitwear: Knitwear that is loosely knit or has a fuzzy texture is more likely to pill than knitwear that is tightly knit or has a smooth texture. Looser knits have more space for the fibers to move and rub against each other.

  • The care of knitwear: How you wash, dry, and store your knitwear can affect its pilling. Washing your knitwear too frequently, using harsh detergents or high temperatures, or rubbing or wringing it can damage the fibers and cause pilling. Drying your knitwear in a dryer or exposing it to direct sunlight can also weaken the fibers and cause pilling. Storing your knitwear in a crowded or damp place can also create friction and moisture that leads to pilling.


Pilling can have negative effects on your knitwear and your appearance. Some of the effects are:

  • Reduced aesthetic appeal: Pilling can make your knitwear look old, worn, and cheap. It can also affect the colour and texture of your knitwear, making it look dull and rough.

  • Reduced comfort: Pilling can make your knitwear feel scratchy and uncomfortable on your skin. It can also create unevenness and bulkiness on your knitwear, which can affect its fit and drape.

  • Reduced durability: Pilling can reduce the lifespan of your knitwear by weakening the fibers and making them more susceptible to tearing or unraveling.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or remove pilling from your knitwear made of natural fabric. Some of the remedies are:

  • Prevention: The best way to avoid pilling is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do this by choosing high-quality fabrics that are less prone to pilling, such as merino wool or cotton. You can also choose knitwear that is tightly knit or has a smooth texture, such as ribbed or cable knits. You should also take good care of your knitwear by washing it less frequently, using gentle detergents and cold water, and avoid rubbing or wringing it. You should also fry your knitwear flat or on a hanger, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You should also store your knitwear in a spacious and dry place, folded or rolled rather than hung.

  • Removal: If your knitwear already has pills, you can remove them by using various tools or methods, such as: sweater comb, fabric shaver, sweater stone, razor, tape, scissors, and tweezers.


Pilling is a common problem that can affect your knitwear made from both natural and synthetic fabric. It is caused by friction, which breaks the fibers of your knitwear and makes them stick out. It can have negative effects on your knitwear's appearance, comfort, and durability. However, you can prevent or remove pilling by choosing high-quality fabrics, taking good care of your knitwear, and using various tools or methods. By doing so, you can keep your knitwear looking and feeling great for a long time.

bottom of page