How to Remove Pilling and Make Sweaters New Again


I am SO over winter!  I am ready for it to pack its bags and go home until next year.   Last week I defiantly brought out my shorts as a sign to Old Man Winter that I was done.

My summer clothing spends its winters tucked away in nice bins while my sweaters and other winter clothes hang out on the shelves of my closet.  But twice a year the “big switch” happens.  That’s when the bins are unloaded with the new season’s clothing and the old season’s clothes get packed in the bins.

These two times obviously occur in the spring and fall.  I always find these times rewarding because it gives me a chance to purge old clothing.  If there are shorts I didn’t wear all summer, out they go.  Or if a pair saw too many days out in the garden and are stained beyond all help then into rags they become.

Tools for De-pilling Erin Turner Save It Blog Missoula MT

All the tools you need for de-pilling your fleece coats and sweaters

But this seasonal swap out also gives me a chance to spruce up my clothing.   Some items need to be washed before being packed away for 6 months while other items need a button sewn on.   Sometimes sweaters or fleece shirts just need a good de-pilling to make them good as new.

Pilling on sweaters and fleece always makes me so mad.  When a garment pills, it ages itself drastically and for a lot of people that item goes in the “give away” bin.  But I have some sweaters and fleece jackets which I adore and still want to wear so I found a way to make these items new again.

How to remove pilling from a fleece coat Erin Turner Save it Blog Missoula MT

I gathered up a new disposable razor, a microfiber dust rag and a lint collector (a tool you can find in the laundry section of your favorite store).  Using these simple items and a few minutes of your time, you can refresh your winter clothing before packing them away for the summer.

Here’s how it refreshed my husband’s nice fleece jacket.  I ran the razor gently over the pilled areas which were mostly around the zipper , under the arms and around the pockets.  Basically, I just shaved off the pills!  With the microfiber cloth and the lint collector, I wiped off the shavings!  In some areas, I had to go different directions to get the pills to release and sometimes I did have to press pretty hard.  But in the end, I think it worked amazingly well.

I would recommend doing this project on a counter.  I did it on top of our bed and had to get the vacuum out to pick up all the lint which dropped on our bedspread. The counter is a better option as you can just brush the lint into a garbage can afterward.

I love how this method is so simple, yet is so effective. The immediate renewal of the garment is almost magical. Of course, I also love all the aspects of frugality this method brings—inexpensive tools to do the de-pilling AND how it makes the garment NEW again.  Thus not having to spend money to replace it.

How to remove pilling from a fleece coat AFTER Erin Turner Save it blog Missoula Montana

So, if you are joining me in the revolt against winter and you’re cracking out the spring/summer clothing, I hope you will take a moment to go through your winter clothing and find ways to refresh them and make them new again.  You’ll thank yourself come October when you pull out renewed clothing for the season and you have extra cash since you don’t have to replace any of your sweaters or jackets.


 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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