Sarah is a regular contributor to fullclutch.com, and prefers her sweaters pill free.
Sweater pills can be, well, alright. We’ll skip that bad joke. They can be an annoyance. Especially if you a purchase a sweater, and after only a few wears, you have pills developing from friction and washing. It’s a natural occurrence with fabrics, but those pesky little pills can take a sweater from great looking to banishment to the bottom of a dresser drawer in no time. What to do about them?
There are a few different options out there. One of the great overlords of our universe, Martha Stewart, gives us a pretty simple way to handle it, just use a fine toothed comb flush against the fabric and comb the pills off. The danger in this is you can easily catch the weave of the sweater and snag it. There are combs designed specifically for pill removal. There is also the Sweater Stone, but word is these can get a little messy. And there is always a fabric shaver, but for the purposes of this post we’re keeping the tool manual.
Admittedly, I’ve only used a fabric shaver in the past, so I can’t speak for other forms of manual pill removers. Recently while browsing through Amazon though, I came across the Lilly Brush ($12.95), and decided to give it a go. Unlike a comb, the Lilly Brush utilizes very dense nylon bristles that easily pick up pills without harming fabric. I tested it on a wool and synthetic blended cardigan that has some snags, and The Lilly Brush didn’t affect the snags at all when I brushed over them.
Sweater pictured is a heavily worn J. Crew Factory Merino V-Neck from 2011
The Lilly Brush also claims to be good for pet hair and lint removal, but I haven’t found that to be the case. It works O.K. for those two, but a sticky roller works better. As far as pill removal though, I have to say, I’m impressed. I’ve used it on several different fabrics, including cotton that had some tiny pilling going on, and cashmere gloves, and the brush has worked on all of them. Plus the brush itself is compact and comes with a cover, making it easy to take along on travels. And Martha’s fine tooth comb can come into play still, it’s the best way to remove all the pills from the Lilly Brush. See, we CAN all get along. Maybe.
I’d say the $12.95 I spent on the Lilly Brush through Amazon was well worth it. With Amazon Prime, shipping was free (yes, it’s fulfilled by Amazon). If I would have had to pick up shipping, I might have just gone the fabric shaver route, but I have yet to regret it worked out the other way. My sweaters are looking better for it, and there is a random additional benefit. For those of you who are the type that likes to vacuum a floor clean methodically, using the Lilly Brush is oddly soothing. Pill remover and therapist in one. But be careful, you don’t want to brush your sweater into oblivion.
Do you have a favorite de-pilling tool or method? You know the drill… leave it in the comments.