How To Remove Pills From Sweaters

Pilling is a common problem that many people experience with their sweaters. Those unsightly little balls of fuzz can make your favorite sweater look worn out and old. In this article, we will discuss effective methods for removing pills from sweaters and restoring them to their former glory.

What are Pills?

Pills are tiny balls of fibers that form on the surface of fabrics, including sweaters. They are the result of friction and abrasion on the fabric, causing the fibers to twist together and form those annoying little balls. Pilling is a natural occurrence with many fabrics, especially those made from wool, cotton, or synthetic materials.

Methods for Removing Pills from Sweaters

There are several methods you can try to remove pills from your sweaters. Here are some effective techniques to consider:

1. Using a Sweater Comb or Fabric Shaver

One of the most common and effective methods for removing pills from sweaters is to use a sweater comb or fabric shaver. These handheld tools have small blades or abrasive surfaces that gently remove the pills from the fabric without causing damage. Simply run the comb or shaver over the surface of the sweater in a circular motion to lift off the pills.

2. Manual Removal with a Razor or Scissors

If you don't have a sweater comb or fabric shaver on hand, you can also manually remove the pills with a razor or pair of scissors. Use a sharp razor to carefully shave off the pills, being careful not to cut the fabric. Alternatively, you can use sharp scissors to carefully trim the pills from the surface of the sweater.

3. Sweater Stone or Pumice Stone

Another effective method for removing pills from sweaters is to use a sweater stone or pumice stone. These stones have a rough surface that helps to gently lift off the pills without damaging the fabric. Simply rub the stone over the surface of the sweater in a circular motion to remove the pills.

4. Lint Roller

A lint roller can also be used to remove pills from sweaters. Simply roll the sticky surface of the lint roller over the sweater to pick up the pills. This method works best on sweaters with larger pills that are easily picked up by the sticky surface of the lint roller.

5. Sweater Brush

Using a sweater brush is another effective method for removing pills from sweaters. The bristles of the brush help to lift off the pills from the fabric without causing damage. Simply brush the surface of the sweater in a circular motion to remove the pills.

Prevention of Pilling

While removing pills from sweaters is effective, it's also important to take steps to prevent pilling in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing pilling on your sweaters:

  1. Wash sweaters inside out to reduce friction on the fabric.
  2. Use a gentle cycle and cold water when washing sweaters.
  3. Avoid using the dryer, as the heat can cause fibers to twist and pill.
  4. Lay sweaters flat to dry instead of hanging them.
  5. Store sweaters folded to prevent unnecessary stretching and abrasion.


Pilling is a common issue with sweaters, but it can be easily remedied with the right techniques. By using a sweater comb, fabric shaver, razor, scissors, sweater stone, lint roller, or sweater brush, you can effectively remove pills from your sweaters and restore them to their original condition. Additionally, taking steps to prevent pilling, such as washing sweaters inside out and laying them flat to dry, can help maintain the appearance and prolong the lifespan of your favorite sweaters. 

1. How do I remove pills from sweaters without damaging the fabric?

To remove pills from sweaters without causing damage, you can use various methods such as a pill remover or shaver, fabric comb, or even gently rubbing the fabric with a pumice stone or fine-grit sandpaper. These techniques help lift the pills without pulling or stretching the fabric.

2. Will using scissors to cut off pills from sweaters work?

 While using scissors may seem like a quick fix, it's not recommended as it can easily lead to accidental cuts or snags in the fabric. Additionally, cutting pills may not effectively address the underlying issue and could potentially damage the sweater.

3. Can I prevent pills from forming on my sweaters in the first place?

Yes, there are several preventive measures you can take to minimize pilling on sweaters. These include washing sweaters inside out, using a gentle detergent and cold water, avoiding overloading the washing machine, and air-drying sweaters instead of using a dryer. Additionally, storing sweaters folded rather than hanging can help reduce friction and prevent pills from forming.

4. Is it safe to use a lint roller to remove pills from sweaters?

While a lint roller may be effective at removing surface lint and pet hair, it's not the best tool for removing pills from sweaters. Lint rollers are designed to pick up loose fibers rather than lifting pills, and using them on sweaters may not produce satisfactory results.

5. How often should I remove pills from my sweaters?

The frequency of pill removal depends on factors such as the fabric type, wear, and care of the sweater. Generally, it's a good idea to remove pills as soon as they begin to appear to prevent them from accumulating and becoming more difficult to remove later on.

6. Can I use a fabric shaver or pill remover on delicate sweaters?

Yes, fabric shavers or pill removers are safe to use on most delicate sweaters, but it's essential to exercise caution and use gentle pressure to avoid damaging the fabric. Test the tool on a small, inconspicuous area of the sweater first to ensure it doesn't cause any harm.

7. Will removing pills from sweaters affect their overall appearance?

No, properly removing pills from sweaters should not negatively impact their appearance. In fact, removing pills can help restore the sweater's original smoothness and appearance, making it look newer and more polished.

8. Are there any natural remedies or DIY solutions for removing pills from sweaters?

Yes, there are several natural remedies and DIY solutions you can try to remove pills from sweaters. These include using a fine-tooth comb, masking tape, or even a clean, dry toothbrush to gently brush away pills. Additionally, some people swear by using a pumice stone or Velcro hair roller to lift pills from fabric.