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What is pilling in fabric?

A pill, colloquially known as a bobble, fuzzball, or lint ball is a small ball of fibers that forms on a piece of cloth.

pilling on cloths

Pilling is a surface defect of textiles caused by wear and is considered unsightly to some. It happens when washing and wearing of fabrics cause loose fibers to begin to push out from the surface of the cloth, and, over time, abrasion causes the fibers to develop into small spherical bundles, anchored to the surface of the fabric by protruding fibers that haven’t broken. These fiber balls are called Pills.

pilling cause animation

These pills then become very noticeable and undesirable look on our fabrics and wears. With the brief explanation of what pilling in a fabric means, it is very important to note that pilling in a fabric can be removed and that there are some fabrics that are less likely to pill.

Analysis of the cause of fabric pilling

Fabric pilling is actually a process of entanglement of fabric fibers. In the process of fabric wearing and washing, the fibers of the yarns begin to be loosened under the continuous action of external forces such as friction and washing. When the friction force is greater than the fiber strength, the fiber end of the fabric is easy to reveal the fabric surface, and gradually slip outward from the yarn to form the ring and the villi, that is, the phenomenon of the fabric’s pilling.

Fabric pilling, which will affect the appearance of fabrics and reduce the use performance of fabrics. Therefore, studying the cause of fabric pilling has a certain guiding significance for our actual production. Several aspects affecting fabric pilling include fiber properties, yarn structure, fabric tightness, finishing and dyeing processes.

How to remove pilling in fabric

There are several ways to remove pilling from your fabric and but the most effective and quickest way to remove pilling in fabrics and textiles is the use of battery-powered pill shaver or remover.

Pilling Remover

The device is cost effective and very good to remove fabric pilling and it can be bought at most sewing or textile stores.  Another way to remove the pilling on fabrics and wears is the use of pumice stone pill remover or pill comb are also effective and they are manually operated.

pumice stone pill remover

Moreover, there are fabrics and textile materials that are less likely to pill while some are very likely to pill. Fabrics made of wool, cotton, polyester, nylon and acrylic have the most tendencies to pill, however, and synthetic materials are more severe when pilling occurs on them. Fabric with longer fibers is less likely to pill. This is due to the how hard it is for longer fibers to work out of the loop or yarn structure. Woven fabrics are also funded to be less likely to pill than knitted fabrics. This is due to the distance of yarn crossings in knitted fabrics are more than that of woven fabrics.

Woven vs knitted fabric structure

Most people are not very pleased with the occurrence of pilling in fabrics and as such attribute pilling to textile defects and complain to manufacturers. Technology has provided some techniques such as Singeing and Spinning among others to prevent fabrics from pilling. Fabric and textile companies have also adopted the idea of pilling resistance tests, we can provide the textile testing equipment to help you solve the fabric pilling problems.

How to Select Clothes That Will Not Pill?

Since all fabrics will pill to some extent, but for different uses of textiles have different requirements. For example, decorative fabric is less likely to consider the impact of pilling, and clothing should be considered. So how choose anti-pill fleece fabric? There are some tricks: Avoid fabrics that are fiber blends. Knitted or woven fabrics that combine different types of threads-especially those that combine natural and synthetic fibers-are more likely to pill. Check the label before you purchase an item, choose woven fabrics over knits. Although woven fabrics have less pilling than knitted fabrics, if they prefer knitted fabrics, choose a tightly knitted fabric. Ultimately, if you notice that your furniture is developing pills, don’t be alarmed. It is easily remedied and does not mean your furniture is made of poor quality fabric.

For questions or inquiries about pilling tester, feel free to contact us.
Taber Abrasion Tester                       DIN Abrasion Tester
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