The Causes of Fuzz Balls on Clothing

Written by verity jones
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The Causes of Fuzz Balls on Clothing
Fuzz balls are caused by abrasion. (Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Fuzz balls, lint balls, bobbling or piling; whatever you want to call the problem, it is a nuisance. Fuzziness can ruin a piece of clothing. However, you can minimise the amount of fuzzing that occurs on your clothing. Plus, you can remove the balls once the damage has occurred. Although not always effective, the techniques are worth a shot.

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Description

Fuzz balls are more common on older items of clothing, but can appear at any time. You can identify fuzz balls by looking closely at the surface of the clothing item. The balls appear as very small, rounded nodules of fabric. They group together to cover a patch of the cloth. Fuzz balls are the same colour as the clothing, although they may potentially be slightly lighter due to fading.

Causes

Fuzz balls are caused by friction or rubbing of the clothing's fabric. This tends to occur over time as the clothing is machine-washed, scrubbed or rubbed. Both natural and synthetic fabrics are prone to fuzz balls because excess fibres can move and therefore create balls. Mixing rougher fabrics like denim with softer fabrics, like cotton or wool, can increase the number of fuzz balls.

Removing Fuzz Balls

Once fuzz balls have formed it is difficult to remove them. First, try removing the balls with sticky tape. Stick a length of tape to the affected area, then rip the tape off. This pulls the fuzz balls away from the clothing. Alternatively, purchase a fabric comb or brush to brush the balls away. For larger garments, a fabric shaver might be effective.

Prevention

Theoretically, buying more expensive clothing means you are less likely to experience fuzz balls. Better-quality fabric has more tightly woven fibres, which reduce the chance of fuzz balls appearing. You can also minimise fuzz balls by adding laundry softener to your wash. This lubricates the fibres to stop them from forming balls. Or, you can turn clothing inside out during a wash so that the outside surface is not exposed so much.

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