How to Protect Your Suit From Pilling


Have you ever put on a suit, only to discover that it was covered in many small fuzzballs? Known as pilling, this occurs with all garments, and suits are no exception. Pilling is essentially small pieces of fabric that have come loose and are now stuck to the surface of a garment. Whether it’s a suit jacket, trousers, a dress shirt or even a vest, you may discover pilling on your clothes. And while it’s usually harmless and doesn’t pose any risk of damage to your suit, it’s still a good idea to try and avoid here. Thankfully, you can protect your suit from pilling by following some simple steps.

Choose the Right Fabric

If you’re worried about pilling, be sure to choose a suit in the right fabric. Some fabrics are more susceptible to pilling than others. A wool suit, for example, is morel likely to experience pilling than a linen or polyester blend suit. This is because wool is a voluminous textile with lots of thin, fine strands. As these strands get knocked loose, them form the characteristically pill-shaped fuzzballs known as pilling. Therefore, it’s recommended that you avoid wool suits and, instead, choose a suit in a linen or synthetic-organic fabric blend.

Get It Dry Cleaned

Most suits are not washing machine-friendly. While placing your suit jacket or trousers in the washing machine a single time may not cause any immediate damage, doing it over a prolonged length of time will eventually take a toll on them. The constant battering of the washing machine will degrade the garments’ fabric, causing pilling to form on the surface. To protect your suit garments from this phenomenon, get them dry cleaned. Assuming the care label indicates that it’s “dry clean safe,” you can drop your suit off at a local dry cleaners. Dry cleaners use powerful cleaning chemicals to deodorize and clean garments without using a washing machine. It’s a safer and more effective way to clean your suit — and it also minimizes the risk of pilling.

Hang Your Suit

Try to get into the habit of hanging your suit on a high-quality clothes hanger when you aren’t wearing it. Many people fold their suit trousers, and some even fold their jacket. This may sound harmless, but folding does two things: It increases the risk of wrinkles, and it encourages pilling to form. When a suit is folded, the fabric-on-fabric contact can cause pilling to form. You can prevent this from happening, however, by hanging your suit on a clothes hanger. Use a heavy-duty, preferably wooden, clothes hanger on which to hang your suit trousers and jacket when you aren’t wearing them.

Neutralize Static Cling

You’re morel likely to experience pilling on a suit that’s electrostatically charged. Known more commonly as static cling, this causes the charged garment to attract thin fibers. As these fibers gather on the surface, they form pilling. So, how do you neutralize static cling and prevent it from causing pilling on your suit? Well, having your suit dry cleaned is arguably the best way to protect against static cling. This is because static cling typically occurs from the heat of being in a clothes dryer. If you find that your suit is already electrostatically charged while you are wearing it, though, you can neutralize static cling by rubbing it with a dryer sheet. Take a standard dryer sheet and rub it across the surface of your suit. After covering the entire surface, you should discover that your suit is no longer electrostatically charged.


Lint Roller

Static cling isn’t the root cause of pilling. Therefore, eliminating it won’t always prevent pilling from occurring; it just lowers the chance. When you discover pilling on your suit, try using a lint roller to remove it. Lint rollers are small, handheld tools that contain a roll of self-adhesive tape. You “roll” the lint roller across the surface of your suit, at which point it grabs and holds any lingering debris, including pilling. Lint rollers are also helpful at removing pet hair, dander, dirt and more. And because they are so small, you can store them just about anywhere, making them an invaluable accessory to carry when wearing a suit.

Choose a High-Quality Suit

You can often avoid the headache of pilling by choosing a high-quality suit. Cheaper suits are more likely to suffer from pilling than higher quality suits. Manufacturers of cheap, low-quality suits use bottom-grade fabrics to make their trousers and jackets. Although they make look fine, these cheap suits often suffer from pilling. The bottom-grade fabrics will break down and degrade, resulting in excess loose fabric that accumulates on the surface.

Use a Razor

In addition to a lint roller, you can also use a razor to remove pilling from garments. Using a standard shaving razor, carefully run it across the surface of your garments. As it runs across the surface, it will catch any lingering pilling. Of course, you’ll want to use extra caution when attempting to remove pilling with a razor, as improperly handling may result in damage to your suit or self-injury. As a result, it’s recommended that you try a lint roller first.

Use Velcro

Finally, Velcro can be used to remove pilling from your suit or other clothes. Velcro, as you may already know, contains a sheet of fine but hard fibers that grasp to other, softer fibers. Velcro is usually used to attack two or more surfaces for a temporary period. However, you can also use it to remove pilling. If you have a sheet of Velcro — the sheet with the hard fibers — you can blot it across the surface of your garments to remove pilling. The hard fibers will grab the soft fibers of the pilling. As you pull the Velcro off your suit, it will remove the pilling.

Don’t let pilling prevent you from creating an attractive, stylish outfit. Follow these tips to prevent and eliminate pilling on your suit.