How to Prevent Pilling

Stopping pilling on clothing can seem like an impossible task. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce pilling and even prevent it. Many of your laundering habits can be modified to help prevent pilling on garments. Follow these steps to protect your garments from unattractive pilling.


  1. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 1
    Turn your clothes inside-out before washing them.
    • By turning your clothing inside-out, you will reduce the amount of pilling that will occur on the exterior of the clothing. This is because the washing machine's motion will be primarily affecting the interior of the clothes.
  2. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 2
    Use gentle detergents designed to wash delicate garments.
    • Abrasive detergents increase the likelihood that your garments will pill. When possible, use liquid detergents, as powdered detergents grate against clothing while dissolving in a washing machine. If you must use hard-grained, powdered detergent, add the detergent into the washing machine while it is filling up with water and allow it to agitate for few minutes so the detergent dissolves before you put your clothes into the machine.
  3. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 3
    Choose a delicate cycle.
    • Delicate cycles treat your clothes gently during washing. To further help prevent pilling, use the shortest cycle offered, as it will mean less time that clothes will be agitated in the washing machine.
  4. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 4
    Avoid rubbing your clothes on yourself and other fabrics.
    • Rubbing is the leading cause of pilling. If you take care to not rub your clothes more than you have to, you might find that you can extend the original look and feel of your clothing. Wash clothes susceptible to pilling by themselves whenever possible.
  5. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 5
    Allow your garments to air-dry.
    • Let your garments dry naturally in your laundry room or outside in a gentle breeze. Avoid putting your clothes into your drier, since the constant movement won't do much to stop pilling on your clothes. If you are short on time and have to use your drier, select a gentle cycle that uses very low heat. Check on your clothes every few minutes, and remove them as soon as they are dry.
  6. Image titled Prevent Pilling Step 6
    Hand-wash your garments whenever possible.
    • Washing your clothing by hand can significantly reduce the amount of pilling on your clothes. Hand-washing can be done easily in a clean sink.


  • Turning your clothes inside out before washing them can also help preserve the colors of clothes.
  • Pilling occurs most often on clothes made out of polyester or polyester blends. If you'd like to avoid the hassle of pilling altogether, buy clothes that are made out of materials other than these.
  • You can use tape to remove pilling from clothing. Avoid using scissors, as you might damage the garment.
  • Invest in an electric piller or fabric shaver to combat existing pilling. These devices can be purchased in many general stores or sewing shops. They can give your clothes a fresher feel and might even help restore them to their original look.


  • Don't leave your clothes in your drier for longer than is absolutely necessary. Unnecessary movement and heat increases pilling.

Article Info

Categories: Laundry