Removing pill from men's clothing

Clothing Pill, Why It Happens & How to Deal With It

When your clothing pills it’s the worst, especially if the pill is on the interior of your clothing and you have dry skin. It’s like wearing sandpaper! This happens to be my situation as well as the inspiration behind researching and writing about it. This article will cover why pilling happens, best practices to avoid it and what to do when it happens to you.


Why pill is a thing

There are two main reasons why your clothing pills. That is one, the normal wear and tear of daily use and two, how we care for said garments. Over time the fibers of your clothing begin to breakdown in areas where friction occurs such as the armpit or inner thighs. These broken fibers become entangled creating what is referred to as pill.

Garment care practices can directly impact pill forming on your clothing. One example of this is when you run clothing through the dryer the heat causes the fibers to become more and more brittle over time, leading to an increase in broken fibers and additional pilling as a result. Even a washing machine causes pill to some degree. When it tosses clothing around during the cleaning process this creates a situation where friction is present, fibers get broken and pill is formed.


How to avoid pill

There are a few practical time-friendly approaches that can help you minimize the pill:

  • First and foremost, avoid the dryer whenever possible. Hang dry garments and use a warm iron only if it’s absolutely necessary.
  • One way to avoid unnecessary friction when it comes to garment care is to stop overloading the washing machine. Stick to small or medium sized loads of clothing so they have adequate room to move around.
  • Whenever possible use the delicate cycle on the washer to minimize the agitation of the load of clothing. Less movement means less friction which leads to a reduction in pill.
  • Consisting of longer woven fibers, denim and linen pill less than garments made of cotton or polyester which consist of shorter knitted fibers. Try incorporating a little more denim and linen into your wardrobe to help cutdown on the overall pill.


What to do when it happens to you

There are a pleather of options to remove pill, from using a safety razor, pumice stone, sweater comb to using a Velcro hair roller or going at it with a set of shears. Thanks to my heavy knit cardigans I have had the opportunity to try out a lot of different options and I’ve come to the conclusion that an electric pill remover is by far the most efficient. It’s quick, easy to use and is affordable at around $15.

Pro tip, if you are removing the pill from the inside of the garment because it feels rough on the skin, consider where on the garment will be making direct contact to your skin. For example, if you wear a tee under your crewneck sweater, when removing pill from the interior of the garment you could focus on just the arms and neck area as it is the only place your skin would come in direct contact with it. This strategy is a huge timesaver!

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