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HomeTechnologyStep-by-Step Guide to Debobbling Your Jumper or Sweater

Step-by-Step Guide to Debobbling Your Jumper or Sweater

We’ve all been there! Thinking that your brand-new jumper or sweater can only feel great the first time you wear it. Just after the first wash, you can see lint and bobbles appearing on the surface of your knitwear, making it look dull and worn-out before you’ve had a chance to wow whilst wearing it out!

Some try the fiddly and unwinnable process of pulling the fuzz off by hand, but it only makes the situation worse as even more lint gets pulled whilst each individual thread is pulled with the bobbling, leading to more damage. 

Then there are the so-called solutions of razors, scissors, and what not. If you don’t know it yet, these little fuzzy irritations are known as “pilling” or “bobbles”. In this blog, we will explain what pilling is and how you can get rid of it without any extra hassle. Let’s get into it!

What is pilling or bobbling?

Have you ever noticed small balls of fibre that appear on and stick to the surface of your clothing? These are known as “pills” or “bobbles.”.

Knitwear such as jumpers or sweaters is made of textile yarns that are twisted together and knitted to form a fabric which breaks or become worn out under slight friction whilst being worn or washed. This is why some extra TLC is needed to preserve your jumpers or sweaters compared to the   regular upkeep of your everyday clothing.

Types of jumpers

Jumpers are a great choice to keep your upper body warm and to add layers to your regular clothing. Just like other clothes, knits also come in different types and fabrics. From cotton to wool to cashmere and synthetics, there are multiple options available on the market.

To pick the best jumper debobbler, it is important to consider different factors such as stage of pilling, the fabric composition, and overall efficiency or effort required.

Cotton Jumpers & Sweaters

Cotton jumpers offer a perfect blend of comfort, breathability, and style. Coming from a natural fibre, cotton feels soft against the skin and enables good air circulation, making it a wardrobe staple for both warm and cool weather.

Unlike wool and other high-density knitted fabrics, cotton generally doesn’t cause itchiness, making cotton a great choice for kids or those with sensitive skin, cotton jumpers are an amazing option.  Although cotton looks great and is extremely comfortable to wear, it does have a weakness, which is it can be highly susceptible to lint and pilling. 

Traditional tools such as fabric shavers can damage the fibre of the textile (I have unfortunately experienced this one too many times). Considering this, our best suggestion to fix a Cotton Knit or sweater is BIORESTORE Re-Tergent.

This clothes debobbler is especially designed to remove lint, pilling, and fuzz from cotton and cotton blend knits while restoring the original colour, texture, and handfeel of the fabric. Plus, this laundry powder targets pilling in all of its stages, making your jumper look “brand new” in only one home laundry wash without the need for a lot of manual work as needed with a fabric shaver and the headache of holes!

Wool Jumpers

Wool is also a natural fibre generally known for its warmth and durability. Due to the ability of wool fibres to trap warm air, it is a great choice for cold-weather clothing as it holds heat close to the body. But the natural fibres that come from sheep can cause irritation or itchiness as the fibres can be rough or course to the skin. 

If there is only gentle pilling on your wool knitwear, you can try a sweater comb, a manual tool with fine teeth that can effectively remove bobbles without snagging by gently cutting the damaged textile fibres. 

In the case of heavy or deeply embedded bobbling, you can use a fabric shaver or a pilling razor. Both of these tools use a blade or razor to cut off pilling from the fabric’s surface.

The main differences are that a fabric shaver is battery powered, whilst a pilling razor is a manual tool that can be swiped on the affected area of clothing to get rid of bobbles and pills. A note of caution for both of these options is pay full attention whilst using anything with a blade as even small cuts to the yarns or fibres can lead to bigger holes! 

Polyester Jumpers

Polyester is one of the most pilled fabrics on the market. It is synthetic (man-made) and features a much smoother surface than natural fibres, making it highly susceptible to snagging, and tangling. 

Plus, the fibres of polyester easily glide against each other, which reduces friction and abrasion.

Using a fabric shaver or a manual pilling razor are the best choices for removing pilling from polyester jumpers.

Keep in mind that polyester does not offer breathability and absorption like natural fabrics such as cotton. The fabric easily traps heat and moisture, which is why it is not used in warm-weather clothing.

Fleece Jumpers

Fleece sweaters can come in natural materials such as Cotton Fleece a blend of cotton and wool, or a wool fleece made from fibers which are collected via shearing animals such as sheep, and of course synthetic fleece fabric made from various polyester or acrylic type yarns. 

The different materials offer different levels of comfort and breathability; however, they are generally light-weight, breathable, and very easy to maintain. You can toss them in the laundry machine for regular cleaning and let them dry naturally. 

As fleece is generally made up of loops of natural or synthetic fibres (think of the look of a bath towel fabric, but more irregular shaped and larger loops, pilling is not always noticeable on this texture, however, these fibres do pill and bobble over time.

The best jumper debobblers for fleece are fabric shavers and pumice stones, however, it goes without saying that caution is important while using these tools on your fleece knitwear as the surface is naturally more textured. 

If you are negligent or too quick with the use of either tool or exert more than the required pressure, it can result in permanently damaging your fleece knitwear.

Tips to prevent your jumpers from bobbling

Even though preventing bobbling altogether is not really possible, you can take some preventive measures to avoid this wardrobe nemesis for longer.

Wash your knits with cold water whenever possible, as high heat washing not only weakens the textile fibre but also takes a toll on your electricity bills (as water is heated to the correct temperature within the washer).

Avoid fabric softeners at all costs. Knits are already made of loose threads. Using chemicals such as softeners can give a smooth feel once or twice, but they will cause significant damage to a fabric’s quality if used repetitively, as they build up on the yarn surface over time, making the item more likely to stain or susceptible to pilling damage.

Ditch the dryer! High heat drying and the rough and tumble of can instantly distort the shape of the item and loosen even more fibres, leading to a greater chance of pilling.  The best way to prevent pilling whilst drying is to use a dryer rack and let the knits dry naturally. 

This will minimize the friction, rough and tumble to prevent any exposure to the possibility of pilling those precious knits and sweaters. Of course, pilling doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it is a process that happens in stages. 

If you don’t use a debobbler in time, fuzz can become pills, and pills further lead to dulled colors and a lot of frustration. To keep that from happening, pick the right clothes debobbler for your jumpers.

There, you have it! With basic knowledge about pilling, different types of jumpers, and the right prevention methods, you can easily extend the life of your favourite knitwear. 

Always remember that prevention is better than cure. Following simple laundry tips such as cold water washing, ditching the dryer, and avoiding synthetic chemicals, you can make your knits look better and last longer. Happy debobbling!

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