Skip to Content

How to Wash Sweatshirts Without Pilling

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Is your favorite sweatshirt start to pill after multiple washes? If untreated, pilling can become nightmare and eventually lead to replacing the worn sweatshirt with a new one. 

After washing and dry multiple times, you may see pilling around the elbows, cuffs or back of the sweatshirt. However, it is possible to wash sweatshirts without pilling so that they stay looking sharp for a long time.

How do you wash sweatshirts without pilling? Turn the sweatshirt inside out, select the washing machine to gentle or delicate cycle and use small load to minimize agitation and friction among the garments. 

Air dry the shirt on a flat surface instead of hanging to avoid from deforming the shoulders or neckline with heavy sag from the wet fabric.  

Pilling occurs when a group of broken or short fibers tangle into a tiny ball or knot due to abrasions or rubbing caused by normal use or wear. In simple terms, they are pesky pieces of wear and tear which develop into lint balls that stick to your clothing. 

Although pilling is common and occurs in almost all clothing materials, it is especially present on cotton based knit fabrics such as sweatshirts. If you are lucky, some sweatshirts are made with anti-pill technology, but that is not the case for all.

In this article, we are going to learn how to avoid pilling on sweatshirts while washing them. Answered below are frequently asked questions about what causes pilling on sweatshirts and how to wash without pilling.

Can a washing machine cause pilling?

Yes, a washing machine can cause pilling due to the swishing motion initiated inside the appliance. The agitator generates friction between the clothing and the washing machine drum that inevitably leads to pilling.

The motion causes the fabrics and garments to rub against each other, leading to broken or torn fibers that result in balls of lint. Despite that, you can minimize this pilling by employing smart tactics will using a washing machine. 

Start by turning the garment inside out, then fasten buttons, zippers, and hooks to secure. Usually, these hard objects rubbing against your clothes can destroy the fiber and cause minor abrasions or tears.

The next tactic to avoid pilling in a washing machine is sorting the clothes according to fabrics and color. This helps ensure that heavier garments do not destroy the lighter ones in the washing machine. 

Consider cold water wash and utilize gentle cycles, less agitation means less friction.

Furthermore, do not overload the washing machine. If the sweatshirts cannot move easily in the appliance, they will rub against each other and cause more damage from the friction.

Also, consider using a homemade laundry detergent tailored for gentle laundry usage. Lastly, utilize a fabric softener to help safeguard your clothing fibers. W

hen you are done washing, employ a gentle, low dryer heat cycle or just hang the sweatshirts to air dry in a well ventilated area.

If washing machines can cause a lot issue for you, switch up the gear and hand wash clothing individually to eliminate excessive rubbing that can cause pilling.

Does fabric softener prevent pilling?

Fabric softeners do prevent pilling by ensuring the garment stays soft. It normally minimizes static electricity, enhances the cotton yarns, and extends the life of the garment. 

Despite that, look for the right fabric softener because not all the available options will work when washing sweatshirts.

The right kind of fabric softener has ingredients that help lubricate the fibers in the garment. The lubrication offers elasticity and body to your cotton fiber, making them less susceptible to splintering, stronger, and enables the garment to bounce back when stretched or pulled.

Another great thing about fabric softener is that it helps minimize static. Usually, the detergent you employ in the wash needs to be negatively charged to aid loosening of soiling and stains. 

On the other hand, fabric softeners have a positive charge that ensures everything is neutralized in the wash load.

Generally, tiny cotton fibers stray, the tumbling and agitation from the washing and drying leads to tiny balls of lint or pills. This is where the right fabric softener provides a positive charge that helps prevent the build-up of static that leads to the frayed fabric sticking to the garment.

Lastly, check on how and when to utilize the fabric softener and the detergent. If you normally add the two altogether in your washing machine, then you have been doing it wrong the entire time.

What do you need to wash your sweatshirt?

Basically, you can wash by hand or use a washing machine and dryer. All you need is the right temperature and mild detergent to get it started.

But first, check the care label to ascertain that the garment will be safe in a washing machine and doesn’t require other instructions. 

Most sweatshirts are machine wash safe, however it is always good to be sure. 

When it is safe to use washing machine, turn the sweatshirt inside out. The next thing is to close any zipper and secure buttons to ensure they will not snag on the sweatshirts. 

Employ the standard detergent and cold water, then run the sweatshirt through a normal wash cycle with cold water to avoid shrinking. After washing, lay out the sweatshirt on a clean towel to assist in air drying.

Tips to wash sweatshirts without pilling

Some sweatshirts are designed with anti-pill technologies, no matter what pilling can occur after several times of washing. To help you wash sweatshirts without pilling, consider the following tips:

  • Washing while the garment is turned inside out helps minimize the contact initiated by rubbing against each other. Then, turn the garment right side out before hanging or folding.
  • Consider a delicate cycle or hand washing for the best results. The less movement you make with the clothes when washing is always better.
  • Even when the sweatshirt’s label shows it is safe to tumble dry, always consider hanging instead. This reduce agitation and ensure your clothing is pill-free.
  • Remove stains right away prior to washing. Use natural stain-removal remedies to prevent from damaging the fabric while removing the stain. If the stain is not treated properly, washing and drying can permanently set-in the mark.
  • Always launder sweatshirts with similar items such as towels or any other high-lint items. Also, similar color to avoid from discoloring or dye bleeding onto other items.

Best way to wash sweatshirts without pilling

Sweatshirts are popular clothing item mostly used in the fall and winter season since they are both comfortable and casual. In addition, they are long-lasting, but must be cleaned appropriately for this to happen. 

The best way to wash sweatshirts without pilling is to use washing machine with cold water on a gentle setting, or hand washing.

Washing sweatshirts without pilling entirely depends on which method you use. For sweatshirts suspected to pill, consider gentle washing cycles combined with cold water and minimal detergent. 

Also, the small wash cycle and minimum agitation will help safeguard your clothing. Similarly, consider hand washing, which is undoubtedly gentler. 

Prior to washing any fabric by washing machine or hand, ensure the sweatshirt is turned inside out. This helps avoid excessive abrasion from zippers, buttons and other clothes. 

Sort the sweatshirt properly before washing. Washing various garments at the same time can lead to more wear and tear, hence damaging the garment’s surface. 

Lastly, avoid overloading the washing machine. Cramming or overfilling the washer leaves no room for movement, which can destroy the surface of the garment with too much friction.

After the wash cycle, do not place in dryer, and instead air dry on flat surface with indirect sunlight.

If the sweatshirt is stained or just dirty, it is critical to wash it nicely. A rule of thumb is washing it after every 6-7 wears. 

Since sweatshirts are outerwear and tend to not directly come into contact with your skin, they hardly get smelly or dirty as quickly. However, if you feel that your favorite sweatshirt needs a washing, just give it a go with confidence.

How to wash sweatshirts without pilling

Washing Sweatshirt Without Pilling: Conclusion

Washing sweatshirts is critical, but ensuring that it does not pill while washing is more important. Most sweatshirts contains anti-pill technology that after multiple wears and washes can handle the abrasion. 

If it is not the case, best way to avoid pilling is by using delicate wash cycle or gently hand washing with mild detergent. Then, air dry on a flat surface in a well ventilated area.

Double check the care label to clarify the washing instruction recommended by the manufacturer. 

Always pretreat to remove and stains, then flip the sweatshirt inside out to prevent from color fading or protect the surface.

Select cold water with gentle or delicate cycle, and use mild laundry detergent. Also, place a minimal load to reduce agitation and keep similar colors and weighted fabrics grouped together. 

It is important to avoid using hot water to prevent from shrinking and excessive color loss.

Do not use dryer machine for drying a sweatshirt, instead lay out the sweatshirt on a clean towel on flat area to help to air dry.

Note that apart from the material, the durability of your sweatshirt will rely on how you take good care of it. For the best result, you can always refer to this sweatshirt washing guide to help you avoid pilling.

Sharing is caring!

Best way to shrink button down shirt
← Previous
How to Shrink Button-Down Shirt - Best Way
Best way to get stains out of vintage denim
Next →
How to Get Stains Out of Vintage Denim - Best Way