You probably have a sweater that pills. Those little fibers roll up into tiny balls and ruin the look of a great sweater, coat, or other garment. I’ve come to love de-pilling, not just because it brings my favorite clothes back to life, but de-pilling sweaters as ASMR is very soothing. Who knew?
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De-Pilling Sweaters as ASMR
And now…one of my favorite things. I discovered this Comfy Clothiers cashmere comb and sweater shaver a few years ago. These sweater combs are sold as a two-pack on Amazon (affiliate link).
I usually default to the cashmere comb, which has a metal edge but is not sharp. The edge is a similar texture to the shaft of a fine-gauge screw. I rarely use the fabric comb from the pair (shown on the right below), as it has a much less aggressive de-pill action, but it’s great for smoothing out fabric nap to go all in one direction.
I keep these combs in the original box in my organized nightstand, easy to grab for a quick touch up. Keep your sweater combs in a closet or near your wardrobe.
There will be people who simply do not have time to comb their sweaters, and I get it. I once asked a dry cleaner if they could de-pill my sweater, and they laughed me out of the store. But if you love clothes and you hate having to toss your favorite sweater, de-pilling is a satisfying way to bring it back to life and save money.
The sweater below is actually a synthetic fleece, but I’ve used this sweater shaver on various types of wool seaters and coats. You can see the bad pilling on the left and the de-pilled side on the right.
How to Use a Sweater Comb (aka Sweater Shaver) to De-Pill
To use the fabric shaver, lay out your garment on a flat surface, grip the comb in your dominant hand, firmly and gently drag it along the fabric with the grain, and work your way down the garment. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to give a sweater the full treatment. A sweater looks and feels so soft after combing.
Don’t forget to de-pill the arms. That’s the area that bugs me the most. The cuffs and the armpit area are usually the worst. If you wear a cross-body purse or chafe against your seatbelt, you can get pills where the straps cross over, too. This is a before (left) and after (right) comparison below. It looks like the photo is out of focus, but you’re seeing the soft fabric in real life.
When you get to the end, you usually have a small batch of lint to discard.
What is ASMR and What does it Have to Do with De-Pilling?
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is the term for a pleasant tingling physical response that some people get with certain auditory and visual stimuli. It’s become shorthand for certain soothing, repetitive sounds, usually captured on video and shared online, and it’s very popular with my teens. These sounds usually come from very mundane tasks, like repetitive movements or household chores. If you are into ASMR, you might really get into de-pilling your sweaters as ASMR in a quiet moment. This video is short, just 33 seconds, but shows you how easy and satisfying this is. You might need to bump the sound up just a bit to get the full ASMR effect.
What Else Can You De-Pill with a Sweater Comb?
Once you start de-pilling sweaters, you see other things at home that you can use these little de-fuzz combs on, like socks, scarves, decorative pillows, upholstery, table linens, sheets, and more. I have a favorite pair of merino wool socks from New Zealand. I don’t know why I didn’t think to de-pill them sooner. Don’t comb the bottoms of socks, because you wouldn’t want to wear out the bottoms and heels faster than necessary. Combing the top part of the sock on the right (below) removed annoying pills.
I’ve owned but never had good luck with the kind of sweater shavers that are battery-operated. Maybe they’re better now, but this little sweater comb is far, far superior in my opinion. If you have grip trouble with your hands, maybe try the battery-operated shavers, instead.
By the way, avoid trim and seams when combing. You can pull the stitching on seams if you aren’t careful. If that happens, just snip the loose threads with scissors.
I recently de-pilled and de-fuzzed my warm wool winter coat that I’ve had for decades. That coat is such a classic, I’m never getting rid of it, so I fluff it in the dryer every season and then use a sweater comb to remove pills and lint. You can see that pilling is not my biggest problem today, as we are starting to get snow.
Is a Sweater Comb the Same as a Lint Brush?
A sweater comb will not necessarily remove pet hair and other lint. It’s great for shaving fibers that are attached. You might have to use a lint brush both before and after you use a sweater shaver.
If pilling isn’t your problem, then pet fur probably is. I still stand by my favorite lint brushes for pet hair.
If you are looking for a unique, useful, and affordable stocking stuffer, these sweater combs from Amazon might be just the ticket (affiliate link).
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