All Balled Up: How to Get Rid of Sweater Pills

For most of us, sweater season is in full swing. You’ve started to fill your closet once more with the cozy pullovers, cardigans, and wraps that have been hibernating in their crates since last season. But what you probably weren’t expecting was the smattering of unsightly little nubs that suddenly cover your favorite cashmere number: pills.

Before you break out the garbage bags, try a couple of simple moves to get your sweaters pill-free and ready to face the coming snowflakes.

How to Get Rid of Sweater Pills

First, some good news: pills aren’t necessarily a sign of damage to your sweaters. They happen when fibers break, tangle, and get matted together. Pilling can happen to cashmere, wool, acrylics – even cotton and flannel. Removing them is a careful and sometimes tedious process, but also a relatively easy one with the help of a few simple tools.

Generate some buzz. Just like men’s electric shavers, plenty of sweater-specific versions exist. These are designed to rid sweaters of pills with little more than a few batteries and some elbow grease.   

Get snippy. Electronic gadgets can be fussy, less precise than a manual approach, and pricey (considering you’ll only need them a few months out of the year). Instead, use a small pair of embroidery scissors to nip the pills one by one, making sure only to cut the fuzz between the garment and the pill, and not the sweater itself.

Be a DIY doyenne. Grab a fresh disposable razor from the bathroom cabinet. Drape the pill-pocked sweater over your knee or a flat, hard surface, gently pull it taught, then lightly sweep the razor over the sweater (avoiding direct contact with the material) to eliminate those nasty little nubs.

By Lindsay Lambert, Editor

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November 25, 2013