Nothing makes a sweater look worse than pilling, and the bad news is: no matter the fiber composition or the quality of the make, all sweaters pill. That includes everything from cheaply made cotton knits from Zara to the finest cashmere sweaters from William Lockie. The question of pilling is only “how much” and “how quickly.” Higher-quality knits won’t pill as easily, but with enough wear, they’ll still pill.
There are some products on the market to help you take care of pilling. Some are worth buying; some are not.
The ones that you should avoid include sweater combs and stones, which you’re supposed to drag over you sweater in order to pull the pills off. The problem is that they do more harm than good. Remember: pilling occurs when the tiny, microscopic fibers in a yarn break and tangle into each other. When you drag something abrasive over your sweater, you’ll take the pills off, but you’ll also create breakages that will quickly form new ones.
The best solution is to use a sweater shaver, like one you see above. These will won’t create new breakages because they cut the pills off, rather than drag them out.
eBay and Amazon have cheap sweater shavers for just a few dollars, but from my experience, those either don’t work, or they risk snagging your sweater. Instead, pony up for something good. A decent sweater shaver should only set you back about $10 or $20. At the end of every season, just pass the shaver over your sweater around the areas that need cleaning up. A minute or two later, your sweater will look like it just came from the store.