How to Remove Pilling on Hand Knit Sweaters

Written by ann jones
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How to Remove Pilling on Hand Knit Sweaters
Remove pills from hand knit garments with a sweater stone or shaver. (snowflake ski sweater image by robert mobley from

Pilling occurs when your hand knit sweater encounters too much friction. The armpits of sweaters may pill every time you wear the garment, with the arms also pilling easily if you take your coat on and off frequently. Wool and other animal fibres are particularly prone to pilling, becoming covered in small balls of fuzz. There are several methods of removing pills from hand knit sweaters, including two recent inventions, the sweater stone and battery-operated sweater shaver.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sweater stone
  • Safety razor
  • Sweater shaver

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  1. 1

    Lay your sweater flat on a bed, table or other firm surface. Spread the arms out to the sides.

  2. 2

    Brush away pills by sweeping the sweater stone down the garment from neck to hem on the front and back and from shoulder to cuff on the sleeves.

  3. 3

    Use a safety razor or sweater shaver to shave away any stubborn pills, like those beneath the arms. Pull the razor straight down, from just above the pills to just below. Move the sweater shaver in a circular motion.

  4. 4

    Keep up with pill removal by using a sweater shaver, safety razor or sweater stone every time you wear your sweater. This is particularly important with wool and other animal fibres, which can turn to felt without proper upkeep.

  5. 5

    Every few wearings or before storage, take your hand knit sweaters to a dry cleaner for professional cleaning and pill removal.

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