7 easy ways to stop bobbles forming on your favourite jumpers

Jess Edwards, Natasha Harding
·3-min read

From Cosmopolitan

Bobbles on clothes are just a simple (and slightly frustrating) fact of life. Whether it's your favourite jumper, tracksuit or coat, most of your winter staples are prone to bobbling (AKA 'pilling') with frequent wear. So why does it happen? How can you prevent it? And what are the best ways to remove bobbles from your clothes? Scroll down for more info and you'll leave feeling like something of an expert on the topic.

What causes bobbles on clothes?

Have you ever noticed that bobbles often appear on clothes right after you've washed them? Yep, turns out this isn't just a coincidence. Bobbles form when bits of material come loose and, rather than falling off the garment, get knotted in the fabric, forming small balls or bobbles on the surface. This pilling process is usually the results of rubbing the material, which can occur either in the wash or if the fabric is brushed against another surface (i.e. if you constantly carry your handbag or tote bag on your right shoulder, you might notice more pilling under the right arm of your coat).

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Look familiar?

How to stop clothes bobbling

The good news is, there are a few different things you can do to prevent bobbling. Mostly, by tweaking how you wash your garments. Here are the best tips to prolonging the life of your clothes:

  1. Wash on a short, delicate cycle. You want the jumper in question to be spun around as little as possible, so keep things short and sweet.

  2. Use gentle, liquid detergent. Hard, powdered detergents can rub up against clothes as they're dissolving in the washing machine, so a liquid option is always best.

  3. Wash separately. Keep delicate clothes away from your other, harder clothes. If they rub up against each other, there's only going to be one loser.

  4. Handwash. The gentlest way to wash any of your clothes, special handwash detergents can be bought from your local supermarket.

  5. Wash your clothes inside out. If you don't have the time (or inclination) to do a different wash for your jumpers, try turning them inside out when you put them in with the rest of your load. This means the bobbles will still form, but they'll be on the inside of the jumper rather than the outside, which is far more bearable.

  6. Air dry your clothes. Ignore the drier at all costs - heat and friction causes pilling, so avoiding this where possible is the best prevention.

  7. Brush regularly. The garment (not your teeth), using a lint roller or special garment brush.

Ways to remove bobbles on clothes

If your clothes are a bit beyond the 'prevention' stage, don't worry - all is not lost. This happens all the time, and there are a couple of ways to effectively remove bobbles from your favourite items.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

While online forums often suggest using a razor or even scissors to remove pilling from the surface of your garments, many find this process requires a bit too much pulling of the garment, which risks stretching it. Instead, use an electric fabric shaver - here's the model we personally roadtested and recommend:

More pilling removable tips on larkabout.wordpress.com

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