How to Minimize Fabric Pilling

How to Minimize Fabric Pilling

Fabric PillingThe formation of tiny balls (or knots, beads, etc) on a fabric is called “pilling.”

Essentially, pilling happens when loose fibers in the fabric become entangled, forming knots and remaining attached to the yarns of the fabric until the fibers holding them in place are broken.

Pilling is impossible to completely avoid, but can be minimized by selecting a fabric with little or no “lint” such as a satin.

Generally speaking, if you can peel a piece of masking tape from the fabric and come away with little to no lint, you shouldn’t have to worry about pilling on that fabric.

The more lint you get on the tape, the more readily the fabric will pill.  Needless to say, flannel has a lot of loose fibers and will always have some amount of pilling.  Satins have a very tight weave, and won’t pill until it becomes very worn and the yarns begin to fray.

Other recommendations in avoiding pilling include:

  • Washing on gentle cycles in cold water and line or tumble dry.  This will reduce fabric wear and prevent the fibers from fraying.
  • Avoid fabric softeners, which leave perfumes and other residues on the fabric.  These residues will cause fibers to clump more easily and are a big factor in causing pilling.
  • Avoid applying cosmetic or therapeutic creams, salves, ointments, lotions, etc to your skin right before bed.
  • People with particularly oily skin will find that the sheets pill much worse on their side of the bed, as any kind of oily substance will contribute to pilling.  Anything they can do to reduce the amount of natural skin oils on the sheets (showering before bed, wearing pajamas, laundering sheets more frequently, etc) will certainly extend the life of their sheets.
  • Avoid leaving sheets in the dryer once it has stopped.  Letting the fibers cool at room temperature, rather than bake in a hot dryer, will reduce pilling considerably.

Quality Time selects its fabrics very carefully, and packages sheets with explicit care instructions to avoid pilling as much as possible.  However, it falls to the sheet’s users to follow those instructions and prevent or reduce pilling through these steps.  We cannot offer a warantee against pilling.