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Pilling clothes: How to prevent and how to treat?

What is Pills?

Small fluff or balls on your sweater that seem to come out of nowhere and only increase in number are called pills. Super annoying if this happens on your favorite sweater. Could you have prevented this? In this blog you can read how pills are created, how you can prevent pills and how to get rid of them quickly and effectively.

How do clothes pill?

The pilling is caused by friction of the material; the fibers in the fabric wrap around each other on the surface, creating small balls of fabric. When wearing clothing, balls will therefore form more quickly in places, for example, under the arms, or on the chest or near the sleeves. Lint is also created during washing because the clothing rotates in the washing machine and repeatedly rubs against other clothing.

Which substances pill the fastest?

Wool, acrylic, polyester and viscose are materials where pilling often occurs. The first fluff usually arises around the armpits and at the elbows. Do you often wear a shoulder bag over your wool coat? Then you will discover lint where the bag touches your hip or leg.

If my clothes pill, is the quality bad?

No, clothing of both sublime and lesser quality can suffer from pilling. This is not an indicator of quality.

However, the price you pay for textiles can sometimes, but not always, be an indicator of fiber quality. Longer threads and fibers do not pill as much as shorter ones. Longer fibers can be damaged and broken during the production process. These are then mixed with the short fibers and made into cheaper fabrics. The unbroken long fibers increase the value of the clothing and therefore also the price.

Both fabrics (natural fibers and those made from synthetic fibers) can suffer from pilling. The length of the fiber in the material is key here, rather than the type of material or its origin.

What can you do to avoid pills?

Clothing that pills looks a bit sloppy and unkempt, which is a shame and unnecessary. A few simple tips to prevent pilling on woolen garments:

  • Put a new wool sweater in the freezer for a while before use. A few hours or overnight, wrapped in a plastic bag.
  • Wash woolen clothes in a laundry bag
  • Use liquid wool detergent .
  • Wash your clothes inside out
  • Select a short washing programme.
  • Close the zippers or buckles on your clothes before washing them.
  • Let the garment dry in the open air. Do not put the washed item in the dryer.
  • Fold your clothes neatly, instead of hanging clothes.
  • Follow the washing and drying program as indicated on the label.

Did you wash the garment by hand? Do not rub the soapy water into your clothing, but squeeze the soapy water through the fabric. This prevents the garment from pilling or worse, stretching.

How can you remove pills from fabrics?

The best way to remove fluff is with a fluff clipper. These work on batteries or with a charging cable, and work on all materials. A corded hair clipper is the most powerful and you don't have to worry about batteries that you have to change.

A depilator is a shaver specially made for clothing. A lint remover is also called a lint trimmer, depiller or fabric shaver . A lint trimmer has larger holes in the 'sliding surface' through which lint is drawn in, and a blade then removes it in a safe manner for the fabric. Just like hair on your body being shaved off with a clipper. You can easily and safely remove all hairs (and in this case fluff) that stick out.

Don't feel like buying a depiller? Then you will also come a long way with a razor blade . Because a new razor blade is razor sharp, we prefer an older razor blade. Place the article on a smooth surface to prevent you from shaving too much locally. Please pay extra attention to this. A fabric shaver is really made and designed to safely shave fabrics, a razor blade is actually not 100% intended for this, so watch a little extra for the fabric. Gently pull a razor across the fabric in small strokes. Carefully shave over a piece of smooth fabric, avoiding moving the razor over creases. If you don't smooth the fabric properly, you have a chance that you will shave material off your clothing, instead of just fluff.

You can also use a pair of scissors to cut or trim any fluff balls. Just be careful not to cut holes in your clothes. Use sharp scissors to cut each piece of fluff individually. This can be time consuming, but when done properly is the method that is least damaging to the surrounding fabric. The type of scissors (large or small) you use doesn't matter much, as long as they are sharp. With longer scissors you can grab larger pieces at once, but there is a greater risk of cutting into the clothing. Smaller scissors are more convenient (such as thinning scissors) because you can work with them just a little more precisely.

Cut a piece of tape or duct tape and place the sticky side on top of your clothing, or use a specially designed clothing roller that is meant for clothing. As you pull it, the Pills should come off with the tape. This only works for fluff and hairs that are loose on your clothes. You do not pull the balls of fluff off the clothing here, because they are still stuck in the fibers of your clothing. clothes rollers are widely available in the large format.

​A less well-known, but still a very good solution is the plume stone . If you rub the item with a pumice stone and then go over it with a clothing roller, you can easily remove the pills. Try it out!

With these tips, your favorite clothing is always free of pills, fluff and balls and you will always look perfectly groomed for the day. Check out our other blogs about taking care of your clothes and giving your clothing items a longer life. Don't just wear, but care for your clothes!

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Last but not least: take better care of the clothes you already have!

Use the right care products to care for your clothes. Do not unnecessarily put your clothes in the washing machine, but for example run a clothes steamer over them to freshen up the fabric, or hang the fabric outside to air out. Does a substance pill? Or is there lint on it? Use a fabric brush or lint remover to breathe new life into the fabric. It certainly doesn't have to be thrown away. Use gentle detergent, without chemicals and harmful substances for your garment. This way the fabric lasts much longer!