Cashmere is a high quality, but very delicate fiber, and it deserves high quality care. Since the fiber is so delicate, it can “pill” after friction. This can happen with all sorts of fibers and materials & you’ve probably seen it before. It looks like small fuzzballs, that form once the fibers begin to come loose. Have no fear, there are many ways to prevent this from happening and we’ve outlined them all for you. Here is a comprehensive guide to pilling and how to combat it.


Why does pilling happen?

Pilling occurs when the fibers break down due to friction. The loose fibers then form the little bobbles on your garment. Unfortunately, this happens due to wear as your cashmere continues to rub against different surfaces. A wicker or scratchy chair, a handbag, or seatbelt, are all common causes of pilling. Pilling can also be caused even just by knitwear rubbing against itself – underneath your arm, or on the inseam of jogger pants are locations where you may find slight pilling due to your natural movement.

While no form of cashmere is immune to pilling and it can happen to a sweater of the highest grade – it also will happen more easily on a lower quality cashmere sweater. The reason being is that on a low quality Grade B or C cashmere garment the fibers are typically shorter, which can cause them to break down quicker & easier. The good news is, with a high quality cashmere sweater - a little extra attention and TLC can prevent this pesky problem.


What should you do when this happens?

If you find yourself frustrated by the pills on your favorite sweater, all hope is not lost! There are certain tools that can remove the pills, such as cashmere combs, sweater shavers, or bristle brushes. After washing, lay your garment flat and brush across the surface to remove the pills. If you want a quick fix, light steaming can also help the garment maintain its structure to help prevent future pilling.


How do you prevent it from happening?

Rest! No, really. Giving your cashmere a break in between wears can be very beneficial. This allows the fibers time to revive themselves and bounce back to their original shape. 

Be careful when washing. Hand-wash your knits to make sure they are getting the most gentle care. The best way to prevent pilling from happening is treating and caring for  your delicate cashmere sweater as a treasured item.


Recommended Tools for premiere care:

Sweater Comb

Cashmere Brush

Sweater Shaver 


Wool & Cashmere Shampoo 

Baby Shampoo 

Written in Collaboration with Averi Dauphin

February 27, 2020 — Kimberly Conrad