The Edinburgh Woollen Mill guide on how to remove surface pilling from knitwear.


Good knitwear needs to be treated with care and attention, showing your garment a little love will reward you with great looking knitwear that is a pleasure to wear for many years.


As a knitted garment ages it is inevitable that surface pilling will occur. Surface piling and fluff build up is a natural characteristic of lambswool, cashmere and knitwear generally.


Surface pilling happens naturally, but it is more likely to happen with heavy wear, particularly on areas of the jumper that rub together, or on areas such as the elbows if they are rested on a desk, or perhaps on an area where a bag or shoulder strap rubs against the garment.


Surface pilling can be kept to a minimum by following a few simple steps:


Wear a new jumper two or three times before washing it, this will increase the longevity of the jumper and reduce the amount that it is likely to pill in the long run.


Always wash your jumper inside out.


Avoid using fabric conditioner if possible as it produces a chemical coating on natural fibres and can make pilling more likely to occur.


Try to avoid wearing knitwear for heavy duty tasks where the garment is likely to come into prolonged contact with hard surfaces.



We have also put together a step by step guide on how to remove surface pilling.




1  When your jumper becomes substantially pilled (see photograph 1) it is best to remove the surface bobbles that have built up.


2  We recommend that you use a cashmere comb to remove surface pilling – some on-line guides and bloggers’ suggest using a razor but the likelihood of damaging your garment is much greater if you do!


3  Lay the garment on a clean dry surface that is a good height to work on. Ensure that the area that has a build up of surface pilling is flat and that your lighting is good.


4  Position your cashmere comb at 45° to the area of your jumper that you are going to work on.


5  In a gentle but firm movement run the cashmere comb over the surface of the jumper  in the same direction that the knitted rows run. It may be necessary to comb stubborn areas several times to remove bobbles, but never apply excessive pressure when using the comb as this may damage the jumper.


6  Remove any loose fibres or fluff residue that may remain after combing your jumper, it should now be bobble free and look as good as new.



We hope that find this guide useful and enjoy wearing and caring for your knitwear.


Read more:


Lambswool Aftercare


Cashmere Aftercare


How to re-wax & care for your wax cotton jacket