Today I am sounding a laundry room battle cry to Save The Sweaters! Stop throwing away those old sweaters that have developed a severe case of fuzz balls! We are showing you how to transform your pilled clothing from unsightly to sensational!
I have major OCD when it comes to my clothes. I always shine my leather boots, heels and purses, clean my sneakers, and repair tiny holes in clothes. But my biggest pet peeve is pilling! You know those little balls of lint you get on sweaters, t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, etc? I hate, hate, HATE those stupid things. Can you tell how passionate I am about this? ;-) Nothing makes an item of clothing look old and worn-out faster than pilling. I see online reviews on clothing all the time where people complain because the item started pilling the first day they wore it. I also find fantastic things at thrift stores with no flaws other than pills! The good news is…I’m here to offer a solution! A few solutions, in fact.
I’ve been using this rather heavy duty fabric shaver from Brookstone for close to 10 years now. I absolutely love this thing. You can tell how often I use it by how full the lint compartment is. My mom originally bought one of these to use on her couches that pilled. Once I realized how well it worked on clothing I had to get one for myself. My college roommates used to tease me because I was always de-pilling my clothes. The Brookstone fabric shaver is $29.99 but Amazon has a pretty extensive selection of similar ones for much less. Click here to see Amazon’s selection.
I also found this one at Walmart by the ironing boards for $7.88
Since I know a lot of you won’t want to go out and buy a new gadget for removing pills, I wanted to offer some DIY solutions as well. I decided to compare the effectiveness of the electric shavers (the Brookstone and Walmart versions) to two DIY methods. I tried them all out on the same sweater, just in different areas. I wasn’t able to get a good before and after picture because the pills wouldn’t show up in photos, so you’ll just have to trust me when it comes to how well each method works.
First up is a trick I found at a great blog called A Thrifty Mrs. All you need is a velcro hair roller! Lay your item of clothing on a flat surface and pull the item taut. Then push the velcro roller into the fabric and roll it to pick up the pills.
I was pretty impressed at how well this worked! It would definitely take some time to pick up all the pills this way, but the velcro roller did a great job on the most unsightly spots.
Next up is the razor method. I heard about this from a friend a few years ago but had never tried it until this week!
Make sure to use a nice sharp blade and stay away from razors with moisture strips. All you do is shave the areas of your clothing that have pills just like you would your skin. My initial thought was that the razor would snag clothing but since they are designed to glide smoothly over skin they really do the same thing on fabric.
Just like with the velcro roller, I was very impressed with this method! My only complaint is that the razor doesn’t actually pick up the pills. It shaves them off the fabric and then you need to run your hand over the fabric to remove the pills.
I think the best DIY method would be a combination of the velcro roller and the razor. Use the razor to shave off the pills and then use the velcro roller to pick them up. Works like a charm!
Next I tried the Walmart fabric shaver. Electric fabric shavers work like an electric razor. They have a spinning blade and a metal guard that keeps the blade from actually cutting holes in the fabric. I piled up the shavings that were collected in this fabric shaver so you could see how well it worked. It did a much better job than the velcro roller or the razor.
Finally I wanted to see if my Brookstone fabric shaver worked any better than the cheaper Walmart version. It did pick up quite a bit more! I could also tell a huge difference in the feel of the fabric. After using the other methods I couldn’t really see any pills left on the sweater but the fabric still felt bumpy. After using my Brookstone shaver the fabric felt nice and smooth. I promise this post was not sponsored by Brookstone – I just really love this product.
So there you have it! A few great options for dealing with pilling on your clothes. Since I already have an electric fabric shaver I’m going to keep using that, but if don’t want another gadget cluttering up your house I think both DIY methods are very effective.
I also want to end with one word of caution – I haven’t tried any of these methods on more delicate fabric like wool or cashmere. I’ve used my Brookstone fabric shaver on a thin t-shirts before and have occasionally ended up with holes in my shirts. I would probably avoid using any electric fabric shavers on delicates. The velcro roller and the razor may work fine on delicate items but I would be very careful.
Another option for more delicate fabric is a fabric comb. I found the one pictured above at jcrew.com. It has great reviews and a few people said they’ve used it with success on both wool and cashmere.
What is your favorite method for getting rid of pilling?