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How to Remove Pilling from Blankets [2 Methods]

You may never want to use an unsightly blanket caused by pilling.

They make even new blankets seem worn.

The balls of loose fabric don’t just look bad, they also clog up your washing machine.

You’d want to get rid of them. 

How to remove pilling from blankets?

Getting the pilling out of your blankets is easy. You can do it manually. In that case, some tools will be required. You can also do it manually in the dryer or washing machine. The automatic method won’t be applicable for blankets that aren’t machine washable or dryable. 

That’s a simplified version of the answer.

We suggest you keep reading to know how to remove pilling safely. 

2 Methods to Remove the Pills

There are several ways you can remove pills from your blankets. And, they are all easy to execute. You can easily follow along. 

Manual Removal

If you remove the lint manually, it will take some effort. But it will work perfectly. There are quite a few tools you can use to remove pilling manually.

1. Fabric Shaver 

Using a fabric shaver is the quickest and simplest method in our opinion. Fabric shavers come with electric blades covered with a safety screen. All you need to do is lay the blanket flat on a surface. And gently run the fabric shaver over it. 

This will remove the lint quickly and without damaging the blanket itself. You can go for one of these fabric shavers:

Product 1
Product 2

Either will be a significant investment. 

2. Disposable Razor

A disposable razor will also do if there is no fabric shaver in your house. The first step is the same; laying the blanket flat lint-side up. Next, you run the razor over the blanket. Don’t press hard when doing this. 

You might end up ripping the blanket if you press too hard. The razor will get the job done but will take a little longer. And, you’ll need to occasionally get the fibers out of the blades. 

3. Lint Roller

If you have a lint roller, lay the blanket flat and roll the roller over it. Pull the fibers off of the adhesive surface once every roll. You’ll have a pilling-free blanket.

4. Pumice Stone

This inexpensive, long-lasting tool can make your blanket look new again. The pores on the stone will grab onto the loose fibers and remove them. You’ll need to drag the stone over the lint-covered surface. 

5. Masking Tape

If you don’t have a unique tool, everyday instruments can be used. Masking tape, for example, will work on the same principle as a lint roller. The process will also be similar albeit a bit lengthier. 

6. Fine-Toothed Comb

Even if you don’t have any of the tools mentioned, don’t worry. You can get it by using a fine-toothed comb. 

Start by putting the blanket on a flat surface. Next, lay the comb flat against the blanket. Once you’ve positioned the comb, slowly drag it along the length of the blanket. Do this all over the blanket removing the extracted lint from time to time. 

Automatic Removal

You can do it automatically if the manual methods seem to be too much work. But this will only work for machine-washable blankets.

1. Vinegar Method

Just add ¼ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of the wash. The vinegar will dissolve the lint and your blanket will come out pilling-free. It will also clean the lint in the machine. If you use this method your water inlet valve cleaning attempts will take less time.

2. Tennis Ball or Dryer Balls

Put two tennis balls or dryer balls in with the blanket if you use a dryer. The balls will remove the lint from the blanket. Tennis balls will do this by bouncing around and knocking off any loose fibers. 

Dryer balls will instead prevent pilling by preventing the blanket from clumping. Both will get rid of the pilling. But you’ll need to ensure the dryer is in a fluff dry setting. Heat can damage your blanket. 

Also, if you regularly use your dryer, ensure it’s appropriately exhausting. Problems with exhaust can lead to water leaks

2 Ways to Prevent the Pills 

Removing pilling from blankets is easy but it still damages the fabric. The better way is prevention. And here are a few ways to do it. 

1. Caring for Your Blankets

Your blankets like anything else will last longer and look better with proper care. For that, you’ll need to follow specific guidelines. All blankets will come with a set of instructions that’ll help you care for them. 

You’ll still need to read up though. Certain things such as ways for cleaning electric blankets won’t be provided in the instructions. Here are ways to care for certain types of blankets.

Wool Blankets

Wool isn’t a very high-maintenance material. In fact, because of its natural tendency to repel dirt and stains, it seldom requires washing. Cleaning with a brush and then wire drying is enough. 

If you are thinking of washing it, use wool-safe detergent. Check the label on the blanket too. If the label doesn’t say machine washable, wash by hand. Using an excellent hand-washing detergent will save both the blanket and your hands. 

Cotton Blankets

Cotton blankets though not as stain and dirt-repellent as wool, are easy to clean. The problem is that the light breathable fibers in cotton make it prone to fraying. So you’ll need to follow some precautions while cleaning it. 

The best go forward is to wash cotton blankets by hand. It’ll create less agitation and cause less fraying. If the washing machine comes in use, use cold water or, if necessary, warm water. This will damage the fibers less. 

2. Avoiding Frequent Washing

Washing your blankets too often will damage them faster. But how do you use a blanket and not wash it? Well, you can use a duvet cover. You can put the blanket inside the cover when using it. 

When the cover becomes dirty you can easily take it off and wash it. Leaving the blanket in the sun while washing the cover will ensure a complete cleaning. This way you can avoid frequent washing and have a clean blanket. 

And that covers our thoughts on removing pilling from blankets. 


Can I use fabric softener on cotton blankets?

Yes, you can. But you shouldn’t. Fibers in cotton are soft as they are. Using fabric softeners on them will make them weaker. This will make the blankets more prone to fraying. 

Is it okay to keep an electric blanket on overnight?

It is advisable not to keep an electric blanket turned on overnight. Leaving an electric blanket on for too long can result in a fire in the worst cases. Even if it doesn’t do so, it risks dehydrating you. 

Are there any materials that don’t suffer from pilling?

No. While natural materials suffer less from pilling than artificial ones, they still suffer from it. Aside from the material, the blanket’s weave is also a factor. Tighter weaves will allow fewer fibers to escape thereby lessening the pilling.