Sheets and bedding have a natural lifespan just like any other fabric.
The usual progression goes something like this: They look amazing when brand new. After a certain amount of washes, they develop fuzz or pilling, and then they don’t look as amazing. Right?
And sometimes, the fuzzing or pilling develops after only a handful of washes – which is very frustrating especially if we’re talking about expensive linens!
Fortunately, you can get restore the clean surface they once had. You just need a fabric shaver.
What causes fuzz or pilling to build up?
Sheets, like any other type of fabric, are woven from strands of some type of material – usually cotton.
Through daily use and weekly washing, the fibers that make up those strands occasionally splinter, or tear away. When those fibers are very thin and tiny, they appear as fuzz.
When those fibers are larger in thickness, they appear as tiny bumps – also known as pilling.
The thin fuzz is usually harmless and ends up in the lint screen of your dryer.
The thicker pilling is not as harmless. Over time, they can get larger and tear away from the already-weakened fabric. This is one of the ways that sheets develop holes.
And if we’re talking about an expensive high thread count sheet, this probably isn’t something you want to hear.
Fortunately, you can stop the damage in its tracks.
In a few moments, you can remove any fuzz or pilling that you might have, and restore your sheets and linens to like-new condition.
Let’s take a look at how easy the process is.
How to do it
Have you ever used an electric shaver on your skin?
A fabric shaver works exactly the same way. You move the surface of the razor, against the surface of the fabric, and the shaver does the work for you.
Here’s how it works…
The mesh surface of the razor has holes, just like a shaver that you would use to shave your legs or face.
As you glide the fabric shaver back and forth across the surface, the fuzz and pilling on the fabric enter the shaver through the little holes on the face of the screen and are then cut by the blades housed inside.
The detachable container underneath the razor then catches the clippings, and you can remove it to dump the clippings into the trash.
Depending on how much pilling you actually have, this process can take a few seconds, or it can take a few minutes.
Once you get the hang of it though – usually after one or two uses – damage of any size should be easy to handle.
No matter how well we explain it though, sometimes, you just have to see it in action. So, check out the video below:
We covered what a fabric shaver is, and how to use it. Here are a few more tips so you can learn from our experience.
We’ve already done the experimenting. Here are a few things we learned from that process.
How often should I shave my sheets and/or other fabrics?
Only as often as necessary.
If you have unwanted fuzz or pilling, then mow them away with your fabric shaver. If they look clean and smooth, there’s no need for preemptive maintenance.
How firmly should I press the shaver into the fabric?
Only as firmly as needed.
You want to push the pilling through the holes, not the actual fabric itself. If you push too hard, you can push the fabric far enough into the holes on the screen.
Use gentle pressure as you glide the shaver across the surface. You can always make a second pass – using more force – if the first pass doesn’t clear the pilling completely.
Some models, like the Conair Fabric Defuzzer that we’ve shown in this article, have a distance controller, to further the distance of the blades from the fabric.
If your shaver has this feature, take advantage of it.
What type of fabrics can I use this for?
Any type of material.
You can safely use this on cotton, polyester, linen, cashmere, etc.
What else can I use a fabric shaver on?
Any type of fabric.
You can use a shaver to restore sheets, duvet covers, window treatments, upholstery, clothing, etc.
Yup, especially towels. Towels were practically made for this tool.
The loops are long and thin, and very easy to shave. You’ll no longer have a valid excuse if your towels are hard and crusty!
Can I use a manual lint roller instead?
Yes, you can use a manual lint roller. They just require a bit more effort and take more time.
But an electric fabric shaver is relatively the same in price and is much easier to use. Why hassle yourself?
Can I prevent pilling in the future?
We went into detail about what pilling is, and how to remove it. But can you prevent pilling from happening in the future?
No, not completely, but you can definitely limit it.
How? By buying better quality sheets!
You might have noticed that your 600 or 800 thread count sateen sheets are the ones that pill the most. That’s not by accident.
Why do expensive sheets pill more? Because expensive doesn’t always mean better quality.
Those 800 thread count sheets that you spent a lot of money on weren’t designed to last. They were designed to be sold.
So what should I buy?
Something around the 300 thread count mark.
Sheets that have a high thread count – 600, 800, etc. – get there by using extremely fine threads, or by using 2-ply construction (two fine threads spun together).
Either way, you need very fine threads – which are inherently weaker.
This is why the ultra-high thread count sheets tend to suffer the most damage. The thinner strands used to weave the fabric can’t stand up to the abuse from regular use and the wash/dry cycle.
In terms of good quality, thread counts top out in the 300’s. It’s just physically impossible to produce a good quality sheet set when the thread count is higher than 300 or so.
And the reality is, a 300 sheet is identical to a 600 thread count. They both have the same number of threads, but each thread in the 600 version consists of two finer threads.
Pilling and fuzz can really ruin an otherwise beautiful sheet set. Particularly if those sheets were special – or expensive!
But the solution to the problem is very affordable. And a fabric defuzzer is a multi-tasker – it can be used on so many other fabric items that you already have.
It’s definitely worth the small investment.