It’s a fact. Where there’s fabric, there’s pilling. Another fact? Pilling does not mean there’s a defect in the fabric. It’s a natural occurrence that happens when fibers in the material become loose. Any friction that’s created by movement on the fibers will cause them to ball up. It happens on rugs, sweaters and, yes, on that beautiful upholstered furniture you’ve lovingly placed in a client’s home.

Pilling is annoying and unsightly, but it’s also unavoidable. Luckily, it’s a problem that’s easily remedied.


Because it’s a widespread nuisance, there’s a strong demand for easy-to-use tools to fix the fuzz problem. There are plenty of tools on the market that can be used to remove pilling from fabrics. The most basic pill removing tool is a small handheld device that quickly and effectively removes pilling from virtually any fabric. It requires little effort but does take a bit of time especially if you’re tackling a large surface area. Your clients might appreciate a lesson in removing pilling, and you may want to have a de-fuzzer on-hand to demonstrate how it’s done.


Most fabrics will experience at least a little pilling during their lifetimes. You may not be able to prevent pilling entirely, but you can minimize it by selecting fabrics that are less likely to pill. Smooth, tightly woven fabrics tend to pill more easily because the fabric is held so tightly together. When it begins to shed, the material has a difficult time getting rid of the excess. Opt for more natural fabrics rather than man-made materials if you’d like less pilling. They are less likely to pill because they release extra fibers much more easily.

Natural fabrics that are less likely to pill:
  • Silk
  • Hemp
  • Cashmere
  • Cotton
  • Wool
Man-made fabrics that are more likely to pill:
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Rayon
  • Spandex
  • Acrylic

Realistically, fabric piling is not entirely preventable – especially if the fabric is on furniture that is being used frequently. But making smart fabric choices and de-fuzzing regularly can go a long way toward keeping upholstered furniture looking fabulous for many years to come.