The price or fabric content of a garment no longer guarantees superior quality. I’ve bought expensive and inexpensive knitwear that has pilled after a few wears, across many natural and synthetic fabrications. I’ve bought expensive and inexpensive knitwear that has not pilled at all, again, across all natural and synthetic fabrications. I have old wool coats that look as pristine as the day I bought them. I have wool jackets and coats that started piling within a month of wearing them. Garment pilling is very random and highly annoying.

The best I can do is offer three ways of addressing the pilling problem that I’ve found useful.

Take Knitwear to the Cleaners

I don’t send cotton or acrylic knitwear to the cleaners because they do fine in the washing machine on the delicates cycle at home. But I do send our woollies to the cleaners. I believe that helps knitwear stay looking pristine for longer, AND pilled woollen knitwear, jackets and coats come back from the cleaners un-pilled. It’s AMAZING. I don’t know what they do to reduce the pilling, but it’s incredible and I’m grateful.

For example, the following items in my wardrobe have gone to the cleaners pilled, but came back un-pilled and looking new. I’m much impressed.

Gleener Fuzz Remover

I haven’t used this little gadget yet, but one of my clients swears by it. The Gleener has successfully removed the fuzzy pills off the knitwear that she would otherwise have passed on. Having seen the results, I can attest to the effectiveness of the gadget. You need time and patience to put this strategy into practice. It can be quite therapeutic.


Beware of Seat Belts and Cross-Body Bags

Prevention is better than cure. Wearing a strap across your body very frequently, like a seat belt or cross-body bag, can cause pilling. Of course, you have to wear your seatbelt. So when you start to see a garment pill in the area where you wear your belt or bag strap, cover it up with a jacket or scarf to reduce the damage.

I don’t wear cross-body bags nor do I drive all that frequently, which might be why I don’t see my own knitwear pill in the area under the position of the strap. But clients and friends who spend a lot of time in the car and/or wear heavy cross-body bags tend to have very specific pill marks on their woolies and coats.

These pilling solutions are by no means exhaustive. Please add your own strategies for preventing pilling in the comments section below.