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SamIAm's avatar

What's the deal with the pulls on my clothing?

Asked by SamIAm (8633 points ) December 20th, 2010

I don’t really know how else to describe it… my clothing, everything from white Hanes T-shirts to American Apparel shirts, to some of my hoodies, have balls of material developing on them.

Is this from the washing machines in my building? Dryers? Am I doing something wrong? At first I thought it was just the material of a shirt or two, but now I realize it’s happening on a wide variety of clothing. Advice?

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14 Answers

The_Inquisitor's avatar

Hmmm, I have no clue, but here’s a guess: Do you clean out the lint from your dryer after each use?

SamIAm's avatar

@curiouscat: I clean it out before and after… I live in the city and we have 4 washers/dryers for our building, so it’s communal. Which is why I’m thinking maybe it has something to do with the machines.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

@Samantha_Rae; oh I see.. yes possibly. I can’t come up with any other guesses. Haha, well. good luck with that!

gailcalled's avatar

It’s called “pilling” and is very common. At present I am wearing a cashmere sweater that is at least 12 years old. It is covered with tiny pills.

Pilling

SamIAm's avatar

@gailcalled: aha! I knew there was a name for it. thank you!

gailcalled's avatar

Glad to have helped.

YARNLADY's avatar

Pilling is caused by abrasion of the fabric. Use enough water for the size of the load, and be sure the detergent is fully dissolved. Do not over dry, and dry only one load at a time.

SamIAm's avatar

They’re front loading machines… unfortunately. Otherwise I’d know how to fix this better, according to your advice @YARNLADY. But I can reduce the size of my loads I suppose :/

JLeslie's avatar

Use liquid detergent, make sure all zippers are zipped, and hooks hooked, in fact anything with a hook like a bra hook and put in a lingerie bag when you wash it. Certain materials do pill more than others. The items that pill most, put them in a lingerie bag when washing also.

Seelix's avatar

Yup, lingerie bags should take care of some of your problem. I know you can get 3 small mesh bags that zip closed for $1 at my dollar store. They’re super handy.

bccreative's avatar

I heard that materials with shorter fibers are more prone to pilling than those with longer fibers. Longer-fibered material, in the case of wools anyway, are better, will last longer, and – bonus – will be softer against the skin.

Seelix's avatar

You might want to invest in a clothes shaver to take care of the pills on your clothing. The one I linked to is $12.99 but you might be able to find a cheaper one at Wal-mart or a place like that.

JLeslie's avatar

The shavers will help remove pills, but it also cuts the fibers, and over time can destroy the garment. But, if the pills look very bad, I guess you would stop wearing the garment anyway.

Earthgirl's avatar

Pilling is worse with synthetic fibers such as polyester. Wool and cotton fabrics are less prone to pilling because they’re made from shorter fibers which tend to break off rather than twist and ball up. I hate acrylic sweaters because of the fact that they pill mercilessly!!! Abrasion (and tumbling in a dryer) will increase pilling so I agree with those who’ve said that lingerie bags will help the problem. Hope my textile education is helpful to you!

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