What causes fabric pilling?



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“I just washed my son’s brand new fireproof polyester pj’s and dried them with a washer load of towels.  They are no longer soft and smooth but filled with pills!  How can I stop this from happening?”


Pilling is the formation of little balls of lint on the surface of fabrics.  Have you noticed that new cotton towels produce more lint in the dryer screen than the older cotton towels?  Have you noticed that some fabrics/garments produce little or no lint in the dryer screen?   All fabrics produce lint.  The fabrics made from shorter fibers and a looser weave produce more lint.  The fabrics made from longer fibers and tighter weaves produce less lint.  Thus cotton towels produce more lint than long staple cotton like Supima cotton. Add polyester to short fiber cotton and the result is stronger polyester fibers “holding on” to shorter fiber cotton lint or pills.  Thus sheets that are cotton/polyester blend will pill more than 100% cotton sheets.


Some suggestions to prevent pills include vinegar rinse, cooler water when washing flannel.  News and Events!: Solutions to stop flannel from pilling!


You can use a fabric sheet if you wish. After you have done this method the first time, this will remove the pilling. To keep the items from pilling in the future, was the flannels on cold/warm on gentle cycle with your regular


More ideas at Home Ec. 101 Why Did My Sweater Pill? – Home Ec 101


Fabric pilling happens, it’s a normal result of wear and is most noticeable after cleaning, as the pills form when the broken fibers stretch and shrink during the cleaning process. Don’t store your clothing in dry cleaner bags.


These suggestions should give several solutions to remedy the problem of pilling.  Removing the pesky pills are simple too as long as each remedy is done carefully.  Enjoy!





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