How To De-pill Cashmere Knitwear

We all know how this story goes - you have found and purchased your dream cashmere jumper, it's gorgeous, cosy, and a joy to wear. You've been getting plenty of compliments on it and it and it has quickly become a favourite piece in your wardrobe.

After a while, however, you notice some tiny bumps have started to form on the material's surface. They don't seem to affect the garment, but they have slightly altered its looks and given it a more lived-in feel.

What is cashmere pilling?

These small surface bumps are called pills, and they form when cashmere rubs against another surface, causing it to collect together and mesh into small bobbles. Common areas to find pilling are parts of the garment that move a lot and are exposed to friction - for example, the garment's sides and sleeves can be particularly prone.

Pilling occurs with all kinds of wool, including cashmere knitwear, alpaca, merino, and regular sheep's wool and is not indicative of a garment's quality by itself. Luckily, you can do things to address pilling when it occurs, and we recommend our customers take proper care of their cashmere items to reduce the effect over time.

Using a cashmere comb to remove pilling

In our experience, the best way to remove pilling is by using a cashmere comb. These handy little devices have fine teeth that gently remove bobbles without damaging the rest of the cashmere fibres. You can implement a few tactics whilst using this comb to make your clothing look as good as new again.

The angle

Firstly, you should hold the comb at a 45° angle to prevent the teeth from digging too deeply into the undamaged cashmere below. Staying at this angle, be sure to brush the comb in the same direction as the knit of the garment. This will prevent any further damage or bobbling while you work on your sweater. Keep your strokes short to allow better control and a more precise result.

Gradual pressure

You need to pay close attention to the pressure that you are applying through the comb. Consider using lighter strokes, to begin with to gauge how delicate the cashmere is. If you need to use a heavier hand, it is recommended to increase the pressure gradually to avoid further damage to the fine cashmere fibres.

Ultimately if you take it easy, you can always repeat the process until you de-bobble your cashmere entirely. A cashmere comb is our go-to and undoubtedly the best way to handle bobbles and pilling.

Other methods to de-pill knitwear

In addition to cashmere combs, there are other products available to help you with this issue. One option you might come across is fabric shavers that have a rotating blade to swiftly remove any lint or bobbles from the surface of your garment. Adhesive lint rollers are another popular option. These affordable rollers have an adhesive surface that gently sticks to the surface of your clothing and, when lifted away, removes any unwanted lint that can contribute to bobbling.

A sweater stone can also be used, and with correct gentle use, its naturally rough-textured surface helps to loosen and remove pills from clothes. These stones can last up to ten years with regular use. What we most definitely do not recommend is using a sharp blade or scissors on your cashmere.

Whilst there are many ways to remove pilling, we still recommend a cashmere comb above all else. They are purposefully made to resolve the issue of pilling and will keep all your cashmere favourites looking fresh and feeling indulgent for much longer. As with all our 100% pure cashmere, you can pop your garment in the washing machine at 30 degrees. Read more with our machine washable cashmere guide.