How to remove pilling and other fuzzies from your clothes on the cheap & on the fly
Here’s how to remove fuzz, the expensive and the cheap ways that work and don’t work.
(Inspired by reader Sara from my post on What I bought in March 2013)
MOST EXPENSIVE BUT THE BEST WAY THAT WORKS ON EVERYTHING
I really prefer sweater shavers. They do the job quick, easily and without whining.
There are 4 problems with sweater shavers however:
- They use batteries — and it’s always the expensive C or D battery, not AAs
- Good quality shavers (and not made in China) are a pain in the butt to find
- They’re expensive for no reason if you can make these other two options work
- They can still cut your sweater fibers if you aren’t careful
Alas, I do not have one any more because made in China sweater shavers suck in quality and longevity.
I wanted desperately to buy an Izumi sweater shaver to experiment with (made in Japan, and they are renowned for their delicate electronics among other things, like introducing sushi to my palate), to give it a shot, but I don’t live in the U.S., and they no longer sell it on Amazon.com
Anyway, these are the other options I tried ranked in order of awfulness (worst to best):
1. WORST: SWEATER STONE – ABSOLUTELY USELESS
Ended up being marketing hogwash.
Didn’t remove any kind of pilling (duh, how can it, it’s a damn STONE), and I would have been better off using my pumice stone on my pills.
2. MEH: USE A SMALL PAIR OF SCISSORS – TIRING BUT EFFECTIVE
You’ll go cross-eyed, so you might want to save this for the really delicate, or the big snarls you don’t want to drag a razor across and accidentally cut the threads.
Best used for intricately snipping off each and every little pill, and if you want to be able to literally use the excuse:
No Bill, I can’t go out on a date with you, because alas… I am de-pilling and de-fuzzing my sweaters tonight instead.
No seriously, try my next option before the small scissors.
3. BEST: USE AN OLD RAZOR — CHEAPEST WINNER OF THEM ALL FOR CERTAIN FABRICS
You must have a razor lying around somewhere.
Use it gently, but firmly.
Don’t let it get the better of you, and put up a resistance to your efforts.
It is inanimate, after all — show it who’s boss!
Here’s a perfect example of a pill-y pair of wool socks I stupidly put in the dryer with my new white towel (100% cotton made in Portugal, $20 each, bought at The Bay), pre-razor and post-razor.
Drag the razor gently but firmly over the sock. I suggest using a flat surface or putting the sock onto your hand and then shaving it to get around the edges.
This is what you end up with as the fuzz bits you can pick off.
I thought of my socks as a gently sedated but rather hairy orc arms, which worked out well.
Best used for smoother surfaces or tightly-woven knits, not for loose, rather delicate cashmere or woolly things. It just doesn’t work.
I tried it on my cashmere sweaters and the scissors work the best because they simply do not drag the fuzzies off.