Home » Blog » How to Remove Pilling from Swimsuit (and what to avoid) Table of Contents Whether we like it or not, material has a habit of balling. Even the smoothest, most velvety of fabric blends can fall afoul of those pesky bumps and fuzzy snags that have us ready to toss our favorites in the bin. You might even think the silky, smooth nylon of a swimsuit would be safe from the curse of piling – not so. Swimsuits pile when they encounter rough surfaces and textures, such as the ledge of a pool or a wooden dock, or from overwashing alongside improper care. Removing piling from swimsuits involves using standard anti-piling methods such as lint rollers, fabric shavers, and more. Or, if you’re in a rush, even scissors, tape, or velcro can be used to scoop up all those pesky pills. So, if your swimsuit is looking a little worn, you can give it a new lease on life with our simple guide to pilling in swimsuits and how to get rid of them for good (and stop them from forming in the first place. Piling in Swimsuits What is Pilling in Fabric? Piling is when tiny lint balls appear on materials. From sweaters to bed sheets and, of course – swimsuits – most fabric-based products are at risk of pilling for various reasons. Pills are formed when the fibers that make up the material begin to break. As they break beside one another, they entangle and form knots. These knots, called pills, can form on any fabric but often appear when the fabric is a blend of different fibers or has a loose weave. So Why do Swimsuits Pill? Swimsuits are often crafted from a blend of polyester, nylon, and spandex. These materials are woven in various ratios that determine how stretchy, flexible, or even glossy your swimsuit appears to be. And like most other fabric blends, they’re made up of millions of tiny interwoven fibers that hold fast together. Unfortunately, no matter how tight they hold, fibers are naturally prone to tearing or staining. If your swimsuit happens to come into contact with a rough surface or harmful chemicals, its fibers could split and fray. These broken fibers then clump together and become knotted. Sea $60 Select options Pineapple Palm Mint Swim Shorts $60 Select options Lounge Pack $160 Select options Emerald $60 Select options Why is my Swimsuit Piling? The main culprits of swimsuit piling are necessary evils: Washing and drying your suit. However, sitting on rough surfaces can also cause your swimsuit to pile; this includes concrete, stones, and even grainy sand. You might even find that some weaker material swimsuits can even fray against particularly rough beach towels. Another common cause of swimsuit piling is simply the passage of time. With general wear and tear, most bathing suits will start to show signs of aging, one of which is small pills that eventually grow into larger pills. The can pills form due to rubbing or abrasion during normal wear and use. How do I Stop my Swimsuit from Piling? The number one rule for avoiding swimsuit piling is to never subject the suit to heat or any other extreme conditions. So, be sure to avoid harsh machine washing cycles as you risk decreasing its lifespan and can cause piling. How to Wash a Swimsuit Properly? Check the Care Label Your swimsuit knows best when it comes to its care. So, follow its orders by seeking out its care label (often located on the bottom of the suit on the inside) and locating its washing instructions. You can either follow these instructions or follow the foolproof swimsuit washing method. How to Properly Clean Your Swimsuit Rinse your swimsuit out with cold water Turn your swimsuit inside out. Select a cold-to-room-temperature cycle or fill a basin with cold or lukewarm water. Add mild detergent to the washing machine or basin. Turn the washing machine on or allow the swimsuit to soak. If washing by hand, take your swimsuit in your hands and gently rub its material together to remove stains or debris. While we’ve offered you both the hand washing and machine washing option above, we recommend you learn how to properly hand wash your swimsuits for the least pilling. Sea $60 Select options Pineapple Palm Mint Swim Shorts $60 Select options Lounge Pack $160 Select options Emerald $60 Select options How to Properly Dry Your Swimsuit When it comes to drying your swimsuit, there are two routes you could take: flat drying or line drying. Flat drying involves laying your swimsuit on a smooth surface and allowing the sun to do its job. Line drying calls for hanging your swimsuit from a washing line. If you need to dry your swimsuit in a rush, try laying it out flat on a flat towel. Roll the towel up with the swimsuit inside, and apply gentle pressure on the outside to remove excess water. Don’t Overwash Your Swimsuit How Often Should You Wash Your Swimsuit? Most experts recommend you wash your swimsuit every three to five wears. That said, you should rinse your swimsuit out with cold water between wears and hand wash it after swimming. Avoid Rough Surfaces When swimsuit material rubs against harsh surfaces such as cement or even sand, pills can form. To avoid this fate, always be sure to lay down a soft towel before sitting down. Store your Swimsuit Properly Stuffing your swimsuit into a drawer or a bag won’t do it any favors. Instead, be sure to fold it properly or roll it up and store it in a dry place, free from the sun and away from chemicals. Sea $60 Select options Pineapple Palm Mint Swim Shorts $60 Select options Lounge Pack $160 Select options Emerald $60 Select options How do you get Piling out of a Swimsuit? Lint Roller A lint roller is a handheld device that rolls over a surface, collecting lint and other light debris, such as pills, as it goes. While it may not remove largescale pills, it’ll certainly clear up the smaller ones. Fabric Shaver You might be wondering what’s the difference between a fabric shaver and a normal shaver, and – really – not much. A fabric shaver is essentially an electric razor for your clothes. However, instead of cutting hair, a fabric shaver can remove fuzz, bobbles, lint, and loose threads from swimsuits. Note: You can also use a disposable razor at your own peril, as the blades may snag your swimsuit, causing tears. Sweater Stone or Pumice A sweater Stone is a natural form of pumice that is famous for its light-yet-abrasive design that’s made out of fine holes that don’t damage fabrics. It actually cuts the filament that holds the pills, essentially chopping them off your swimsuit. Tape Thanks to the tape’s adhesive properties, it is capable of picking up light pills and lint from your swimsuit. Velcro Strip Commonly found on shoes and bags, the velcro strip has tiny sharp strands that can help take off the pilling from the bathing suit with ease. Scissors By placing your swimsuit on a flat surface, you can run scissors across its surface, snipping off pills as you go. Fine-tooth comb Running a comb over your swimsuit gently while ensuring not to turn the “teeth” toward the swimsuit can help you to remove pills from your swimsuit in a matter of moments. Emerald $60 Select options Pineapple Watermelon – Father and Son $70 Select options Tropical 2-Pack Swim ShortsRated 5.00 out of 5 $80 Select options Atlantic $60 Select options Do not: Be Tempted to Remove Pills With your Fingers or a Tweezers Plucking pills from above can cause the material of the swimsuit to tear and even leave holes in its wake. Apply Too Much Pressure While some pill-removing methods are safer than others, they all put your swimsuit at risk of tearing. So, be sure to carefully move any anti-pilling device across your suit, taking your time as you go. Depilling takes time, so patience is a must. Alternatives to Removing Pilling Cover it up If you don’t have time to remove your swimsuit’s pills and have an appointment at the beach ASAP, then a coverup can save the day. Think along the lines of a full-body kaftan if the pills are all over or a sarong if the pills are around the bottom of the suit (like they usually are.) Even a trendy oversized shirt could cover up any appearance of pills. Repurpose your Suit If you fear your swimsuit is beyond repair, all hope is not lost. Repurposing swimwear is becoming more popular every year. Old swimsuits can be used as quirky wrapping paper, transformed into bags or other accessories, and even turned into pillowcases. Let your imagination run wild, and think of your swimsuit as a blank material canvas that can be transformed into endless new, exciting products. What is the Best Way to Remove Piling? A fabric shaver is one the fastest, most efficient, and safest ways to remove pilling from swimsuits. The Bottom Line Piling on swimsuits is downright annoying but can be avoided. And should those pesky balls and bumps arise, they can easily be removed by several anti-piling strategies that won’t ruin your swimsuit and leave it looking silky smooth, and good as new. 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