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How to Remove Pilling From a Couch (And What Causes It)

How to Remove Pilling From a Couch (And What Causes It)
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It’s annoying, but your couch is likely going to experience pilling after you’ve been using it for a while. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, pilling is when your couch looks as if there are a bunch of lint balls on the surface.

Pilling occurs when the fibers in the material start to become loose. Friction will cause loose fibers to ball up and this is why they will look like little balls of lint.

On couches, it’s normal for friction to cause pilling frequently. You’re constantly sitting up and standing back up.

This isn’t harmful in any way, but you might think that it looks unsightly. You might even want a good way to remove pilling from the couch.

Continue reading to learn about how to remove pilling from the couch. The process isn’t too difficult once you know what to do.

Use a Fabric Shaver

The easiest way to remove pilling from the couch is to use a fabric shaver. A fabric shaver is a tool that you can buy from various stores.

You can also get what you need online. Fabric shavers work to remove pilling from fabric by utilizing rotating blades.

The blades spin and remove the fabric balls by cutting them off. You don’t need to worry about accidentally damaging your furniture either.

You see, these fabric shavers come with blade covers that are designed to protect your couches. Certain types of fabric shavers will even come with several different blade covers.

Changing the blade cover might allow you to get a closer shave. This can be convenient when you’re trying to remove pilling on different types of fabric.

These fabric shavers are very easy to use, too. Don’t be intimidated by the process because it’s simple enough that anyone will be able to get good results.

Advice for Using the Fabric Shaver

Using the fabric shaver to remove pilling won’t be tough. To get started, try to flatten the surface of the fabric using your hands.

If you can smooth things out a bit with one hand, it’ll be easier to get a clean shave. It really does make a difference.

Before you start shaving, it’s wise to remove the guard and check to see if the removable waste bin is attached. Most fabric shaver models will be designed this way.

Once you’re ready, begin shaving the couch using the fabric shaver. You can do this in straight lines if you’d like, but some say that using a circular motion will get better results.

Be patient and try to remove all of the pilling from the couch. When you’re done, it might be wise to go over the couch with a simple lint roller.

Many fabric shavers come bundled with lint rollers. Use the lint rolling to get any straggling fabric balls that have been left behind.

Take the time to empty the fabric shaver. You can go ahead and use the shaver on the rest of your furniture or your throw pillows if you’d like to.

This should make it easy to enjoy your couch and get comfortable in your living room. You won’t have to worry about unsightly pilling any longer.

There Are Different Types of Fabric Shavers

You should know that there are different types of fabric shavers that you can purchase. The most common and affordable type of fabric shaver will be a standard manual shaver.

These types of fabric shavers aren’t powered in any way. They will require you to manually shave the couch to get rid of the pilling.

Manual fabric shavers can work very nicely, but they do have some negatives to consider. It’s a bit more likely that the fabric will snag when you use a manual fabric shaver.

Also, it’s a bit more labor-intensive. It’ll require more effort to remove the pilling if you use a manual shaving tool.

If you’d like things to be a bit easier, it’ll be wise to buy an electric fabric shaver. These tools will allow you to remove pilling a fair bit faster than the manual options will.

It’s easier to clean things once you’re done when you use an electric shaver. These electric shavers will usually come with many shaver heads as well.

The downside is that tools such as this will require batteries. They’re also bulky and it might be tougher to take them with you if you’re traveling.

Since these things don’t matter much when you’re trying to remove pilling from your sofa at home, it’s easy to see why an electric fabric shaver would be the preferred option. Just know that an electric fabric shaver will cost a bit more cash.

Can You Prevent Pilling From Happening?

No, it isn’t possible to prevent pilling from happening. Your couch is going to have this happen after you’ve been using it for a while.

The only thing you can do is take the time to remove the pilling when you notice it. You will have to do this many times over the years.

Remember that pilling isn’t a sign that you’re doing something wrong. It simply happens due to friction.

This isn’t something that only happens to couches either. Fabric will experience pilling due to friction over time.

You might have certain types of clothing that will show signs of pilling. It’s fine to use a fabric shaver to get rid of pilling on clothing items as well.

Your chairs and other types of fabric furniture might wind up having pilling issues. Thankfully, solving this problem won’t be all that hard.

The methods described above will allow you to remove pilling. When you notice pilling, it’ll simply mean that it’s time to get the fabric shaver out once more.

Advice for Using Lint Remover

Lint removers are very helpful when you’re trying to get rid of pilling. As mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to use a lint roller after you’ve used the fabric shaver.

Using lint removing tools is a good idea, but you should be careful. When you use a lint remover, it can wind up damaging the couch if you aren’t careful.

For example, if you use a lint remover too close to the seams of the cushions, you might pull apart some of the stitching. This can be avoided by using the lint remover gently.

Do your best to use the lint remover carefully and you shouldn’t have any problems. Be especially careful near seams to avoid doing unnecessary damage.

Some Types of Fabric Are More Likely to Pill

You’ll also find that some types of fabric are more likely to pill than others. Man-made fabrics will be the most likely to pill.

So if you want to have a couch that doesn’t pill as easily, you might want to buy one that is made using natural fabrics. Cotton is the most common upholstery for couches so you’ll likely already be in a good position.

Natural fabrics include wool, cotton, hemp, silk, and cashmere. These fabrics will still pill eventually, but they won’t pill as often as man-made fabrics do.

Man-made fabrics include options such as acrylic, spandex, polyester, rayon, and nylon. Pilling is still going to be a common issue no matter what you do, but it is interesting to know that natural fabrics do better.

You Could Buy Leather Couches

Leather couches aren’t going to experience pilling. There are other issues that you’ll need to deal with when you own leather couches, though.

It’s necessary to condition leather couches annually to keep them in good shape. You can buy commercial leather conditioning products or you can mix up a homemade conditioner to get the job done.

For many, owning leather couches will be a real treat. They look luxurious and feel comfortable so long as the temperature in your home is good.

They can be too hot or too cold if you don’t live in a temperature-controlled environment. This is easy enough to remedy by using air conditioners or heaters, of course.

It’s also notable that leather couches will fade in the sunlight. Sunlight can damage these types of couches, and that means that you must be careful with where you position the couches in your living room.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know pilling is a common issue, you should be less worried about it. Pilling is an annoying thing to have to deal with, but it isn’t that bad really.

Removing pilling from couches won’t take too much time. You just have to use a simple fabric shaver to get the job done.

It is important to be careful when removing the pilling. You don’t want to move too fast and miss spots.

Also, when you’re using a lint remover, you can damage the stitching on the cushions if you go too fast. Be gentle when using the lint remover and things will go fine.

You’re going to need to remove pilling from the couch every so often. It’ll be something that you’ll do once every year or so depending on the type of fabric that your couch is made out of.

Pilling isn’t dangerous or anything. You can choose to ignore it if you want, but many say that it makes the couch look bad.

It’s good to remove the pilling for cosmetic reasons, and you might want the cushions to feel as smooth as possible, too. Do your best to remove the pilling from the couch when necessary.

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