How to Defuzz Your Sweaters and Stop Sweater Pills In The First Place

6:49 PM

Lark shows you how to defuzz your sweater with a Sweater Stone
This time of year I usually start de fuzzing my sweaters, since they're pretty worn by now and I usually start slowly putting my sweaters away this time of year.  I've always used my trusty Ever Care fabric shaver I got for like $6 years ago at Target.  It's always worked great, until now.  It finally died on me, so I started to research into buying a new one by looking at reviews.  After reading review after review about fabric shavers destroying people's sweaters I started feeling thankful for not having wrecked any of my sweaters with it so far and I no longer want a fabric shaver.  So I started looking for alternatives that are safe and don't have the possibility of destroying my favourite sweaters.  I found two products that sound promising and as an added bonus they're no tech so no need for batteries and they can't break they're also both available for under $6 including shipping. 

Photo from Lark

How Do Sweaters Get Pills (otherwise known as lint or fuzz)?

According to ME Williams for DIY Life, "All yarns are made up of a bunch of twisted fibers. Short-staple fibers -- a term that refers to the length of the real or imitation animal hair used to create the yarn -- often wind up poking out of the yarn at either end of the individual hair. When a group of fiber ends are sticking up like that, friction often causes them to bunch together... and then you have pills."

Pills happens simply from the natural abrasion of the fabric against objects and itself during normal use and wear. Pilling frequently shows up around the arm pits, the sleeves, and the front of the sweater where abrasion is most common. Some fibers are known to be pill-prone: acrylics, merino wool, and cashmere, and particularly inexpensive cashmere. 

How Can you Prevent Sweaters From Getting Pills In the First Place? 

  • Turn the garment inside out before washing
  • Use a Lingerie bag
  • Use the gentle cycle (and shorter washing-machine cycles in general)
  • Lay sweaters out flat to dry or remove it as soon as possible from the dryer

How to Safely Remove Pills From Your Sweater

There are two products I found to be a good safe alternative to fabric shavers. The Defuzz It Comb and the Sweater Stone.  

De Fuzz It Comb
I just recent bought a De Fuzz It comb and tried it on my fuzziest sweaters.   It didn't take to long to do at all and took my very worn sweaters to looking gently used.  I was pleased with the results, and would buy it again.  I was not expecting to look new, I knew that would be quite a stretch, nor was I expecting it to preform as well as my fabric shaver did.  Which is fine with me as long as I don't have to worry about ruining my sweaters.  On that note I do want to emphasis that it's not impossible to ruin a sweater with the De Fuzz It Comb, just much less likely.  Possible problems I've seen in reviews are that using the comb can actually cause some fuzziness due to the abrasion used in this method (since abrasion is needed to cause pills).  So I would suggest not  using it on a sweater in like new condition with just a few minor pills.  You would be better of just hand picking it off in that case.  It does create a big mess so just know ahead of time that you'll need to either vacuum or clean of the surface you used with a lint brush, so it's best to work on a hard surface like a table that you can wipe down or brush off easily.  Also you will need to constantly keep adding fuzz to your fuzz ball, so it does take awhile.

These pictures did not show the fuzz very well, it actually looked much better after than the pictures show.  This sweater is felted so it already was super fuzzy with lots of pills.  After it was still fuzzy but without pills.
 Sweater Stone

The sweater stone is made of a pumice stone and is basically covered in cardboard to make it easy to grab onto. Pumice stones naturally have pits and sharp edges, which grab onto the short fibers and cut them off.  I have not tried this myself but plan to try to buy a pumice stone on a stick at the dollar store to try it.  If it doesn't work I plan to use it to clean our toilet.  I don't know if using this pumice stone is different than any other.    

 People who have reviewed this product say that the stones can crumble as you use them so you can get black pumice all over your sweater. It does not seem as though this damages the sweater, just makes it messy, however I would test it on a light coloured fabric you don't care about to be certain first.  It also could cause some general fuzzines due to the fact that it uses friction against the fibers (since abrasion is needed to cause pills).  One other thing to consider is pumice also smells like sulfur, so your sweater might smell of it too.  So you'll want to use a Sweater Stone before hand washing or dry cleaning, not after.

Some reviewers on Amazon said they liked the sweater stone over the De Fuzz It.  My guess is the results would be similar to what I got from De Fuzz It (that it will take a very worn sweater to looking gently used, but not new).  It just might have been easier or faster with this method vs the De Fuzz It. 

Ways I Don't Suggest to De Pill Your Sweater

As mentioned before while fabric shavers have worked for me with better results than the above methods, it also runs the risk of ruining your sweaters by the fibers being pulled into the razors.  I am lucky that never happened to me, but personally I think the risk is too big unless you have tried the above methods and are willing to get rid of your sweater if it doesn't work, then what have you got to lose?  

I also would not suggest using a disposable plastic razor (the kind you shave your legs with) to shave your pills off, because of the high risks of cutting the yarn in your sweater and ruining it. If your interested in this method there are lots of sites that show you how to do this.

Any of the methods described here (defuzz it, sweater stone, fabric shavers, and disposable shavers) will take away some of the fiber of your sweaters so just beware that if you de fuzz your sweaters to often they could become very thin.  So de fuzz sensibly! ©Oh You Crafty Gal! 2011-2013 All rights reserved.

You Might Also Like


  1. I might have to try that comb, my school uniform jumper is notorious for pilling and being all fuzzy!

    1. If you do Zoe let me know what you think!


Popular Posts

How to Tailor Clothes Series

Start Our Free Sewing Class