Pilling on Clothes | Causes and Reduction of Pilling from Clothes

Last Updated on 23/12/2020

Pilling on Clothes | Causes and Reduction of Pilling from Clothes

Muhammad Ibrahim Khalilullah
Dept. of Textile Engineering
Daffodil International University
Email: ibrahim23-3123@diu.edu.bd


Pilling is formation of little balls of fibers (pills) on the surface of clothes which is caused by abrasion in wear. Pilling is the tendency of fibers to come loose from a fabric surface and form balled particles of fiber.

pilling on clothes
Fig: Pilling on cloth

Causes of Pilling:

  1. Due to wear and abrasion.
  2. Due to rubbing action of fabric with particular parts of garments and body.
  3. Due to soft twisted yarn.
  4. Due to excess short fibres.
  5. Due to migration of fibres from constituent yarn in fabric.
  6. Due to protruding fibre / yarn hairiness.
  7. Due to heat in case of thermoplastic fibres.

Reduction OR Minimizing Pilling:

  1. By using high twisted yarn.
  2. By brushing and cropping of the fabric surface to remove loose fibre ends.
  3. By using singeing process to reduce yarn hairiness, longer fibres.
  4. By using anti pilling technique.
  5. By special chemical treatment such as adhesive, anti-rubbing agent.
  6. By reducing migration of fibres by means of Air Jet spinning process.
  7. By increasing inter-fibre friction.
  8. By increasing linear density of the fibre.
  9. By using a high number of threads per unit length.

Pilling Test:


  1. For this test four specimens each 5 inch X 5 inch are cut from the fabric.
  2. A seam allowance of 12mm is marked on the back of each square. In two of the samples the seam is marked parallel to the warp direction and in the other two parallel to the weft direction.
  3. The samples are then folded face to face and a seam is sewn on the marked line.
  4. This gives two specimens with the seam parallel to the warp and two with the seam parallel to the weft.
  5. Each specimen is turned inside out and 6mm cut off each end of it thus removing any sewing distortion.
  6. The fabric tubes made are then mounted on rubber tubes so that the length of tube showing at each end is the same. Each of the loose ends is taped with poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC) tape so that 6mm of the rubber tube is left exposed as shown in Figure.
  7. All four specimens are then placed in one pilling box.
  8. The samples are then tumbled together in a cork-lined box as shown in Figure.
  9. The usual number of revolutions used in the test is 18,000 which take 5 hrs.
Preparation of a pilling sample
Fig: Preparation of a pilling sample

The specimens are removed from the tubes and viewed using oblique lighting. The samples are then given a rating of between 1 and 5 with the help of the descriptions in Table.

pilling sample rating

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2 thoughts on “Pilling on Clothes | Causes and Reduction of Pilling from Clothes”

  1. What is the standard Pilling Rating for knitted fabrics of counts 20 to 40 karded, combed and combed compact yarn by this method. Using enzyme in processing will reduce the pilling intensity, but the additional cost of 25 cents to 40 cents has to be borne by the manufacturer and that is the improvement in the fabric as well as the garment quality. Certan customers are demanding this extra cost of enzyme treatement to the yarn vendor who exports yarn. Yarn is not the only reason for pilling and there are other factors. Can you put your comments so that it will help


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