How to Remove Pilling From Clothing

While doing some spring cleaning of my closet, I stumbled upon the dress I wore for my college senior formal. I absolutely loved my dress, which was a form-fitting, one-shoulder navy dress with a strand of flower appliques on the neckline. I purchased it at Macy’s for around $75 last spring and hoped to be able to get another wear or two out of it, possibly for a wedding or fancier event.

Senior Formal DressesHere’s a picture of my dress in the daylight (please ignore the close-up of my face, I wanted to make the details of the fabric and color of the dress easily visible)


Marist Senior FormalThere I am (far left) with my housemates from college


College Senior FormalMy boyfriend James and I at our senior formal

However, I was soon reminded of the poor condition it was in. Somehow, during the night’s festivities, my lovely dress started to pill/fall apart all over the entire left and bottom side. According to WiseGeek, “Fabric pilling is the formation of small, fuzzy balls on the surface of a fabric. It detracts from the appearance of the fabric, making it look old and worn, and it is often difficult to restore a garment with fabric pilling to its original condition.”

My once beautiful dress now looked like an old pair of swimsuit bottoms that were all roughed up from the concrete next to the pool (someone else please tell me that used to happen to them, too). I had totally forgotten about this until I cleaned out my closet. After doing some researching and trial-and-error of my own, I found a trick-that actually worked-a trick to restore my dress to an almost new condition. Wondering how to remove pilling from clothing? All it requires is a disposable razor, a steady hand and little patience. 


how to remove pilling from clothingNo pilling: a nice, smooth polyester dress (this photo was taken with a flash)


how to get rid of clothing pillsPilling: you can see the clumps of fabric and fuzz (this photo was taken without the flash)

use a razor to remove pills from clothing

How to Remove Pilling from Clothing

Take a disposable razor (one that you won’t mind throwing away after using this one time) and gently and lightly “shave” off the pills. You may need to experiment with how rough you are shaving, how much pressure you’re applying, which direction to shave in, etc. I noticed that I needed to apply more pressure in areas of larger pills and had to shave in all different directions to really remove the pills. As you’re shaving, you’ll start to notice that the pills will clump together near the bottom of the fabric. After every few shaves, shake off the fabric and remove the pills with your hands by brushing them off  (any loose pills will fall off). Also make sure to carefully remove any clumps from the razor itself so it won’t get clogged. I did this for about 15 to 20 minutes and I’d say about 85% of my pills were gone, leaving my dress in MUCH better condition than before. Just be careful, as you may cut a hole in your item of clothing if you’re too rough!



how to remove fuzz from clothing

A lot smoother than before, minimal pilling and one happy girl :)

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  • Stephanie @twenty-something

    This is awesome! As I type this I’m wearing a favorite top of mine that has started to pill, so I’m definitely going to try this.


    • Rachel

      It worked for me, so I hope it works for you, too!

  • Filiz O’Brien

    Great tip! I have dress with a similar back story… 1 wear, fuzz all over. I usually use a battery opperated pill remover, but this may work a little better!