How to Remove Pills from Sweaters

As we said a couple of weeks ago here on the blog the Chop is particularly excited to be entering the heart of sweater season- particularly cardigan sweater season. But unfortunately it’s not as easy as just reaching into the back of the closet and feeling around for something wool to throw on.

Around this time of year it pays to spend a lazy afternoon sorting through your sweaters and checking them over for hidden holes or other signs of wear, and doing a whole load of sweaters in the washing machine (but carefully: read each one’s label before you shrink it).

And one of those signs of wear you might find is pilling: the phenomenon that occurs when lint rises to the surface and forms itself into little balls. Different sweaters pill in different ways and at different rates. Some sweaters may only require you to snip off a few pills by hand, but some may be worn all over and need more serious help. If you’ve got a sweater that is pilled all over, and that you’re intent on keeping and wearing, you can actually remove its lint with a set of hair clippers.

This is a ribbed lambswool sweater we’ve had for years. As you can see, it’s in pretty sad shape.


Gather your clippers, as well as anything else you may need. We used an ironing board which was helpful also.


Holding the clippers as shown, go lightly over the fabric. It is most useful to go about two inches at a time and then remove what you’ve cut by hand. It can take quite a bit of time.


In the end, you can take off this much lint and leave your sweater looking nearly new.