How to Stop Clothes Going Bobbly

The fight against garments going bobbly can seem like a losing battle, but there are some basic rules to follow to maximise your chances of going bobble-free and minimising your chance of “going bobbly!”

Clothes going bobbly, or pilling as it is also known, essentially occurs when too much abrasion or force is exerted on the garment. So all the basic rules of laundering to help prevent bobbles centre on being less tough, more gentle and even more comforting to the garment.


Minimise Spin!!!

This is something which most politicians could also do with, but here we quite literally mean SPIN. By keeping your washing cycle to the minimum time with as delicate a setting as possible you will give bobble far less chance of cropping up. Short and sweet is key.


Liquid Detergents are Best

By opting for a liquid over a powdered detergent you give your garment a far smoother ride in the machine. Whereas powdered detergents have to dissolve in the machine during the cycle (and almost certainly getting stuck in your fabric whilst this goes on) a liquid is already dissolved so cuts out the sheering effect of powdered dissolution. Keep it smooth!

Keep your gentle jumpers and smooth satin very much segregated from your damaging denim and other sturdy materials. If the mix they will rub together and gentle woollen garments are simply no match for the brutal Teflon of denim etc.


Don’t Overload Your Washing Machine!

An overly full washing machine means clothes can become trapped underneath other clothes which causes them to stretch and rub against one another creating friction. This, in turn, results in pilling on the fabric.

If clothes aren’t free to move in the drum, this could even cause existing bobbles to loop onto fibres in other clothes and create tangles and snags – ruining more of your wardrobe.



If you have the time and commitment, then handwashing your clothes is the gold standard of bobble immunisation. If you buy a specially designed hand-wash detergent like Woolite and apply the care and grace required quite literally “by your own hand”, then you have guaranteed yourself a bobble free time.


An Absolute “No” for Bobbles is the Tumble Dryer

Those two words “tumble” and “dryer” go against everything we have suggested in terms of “less spin” and “gentle smoothness”. The friction and blasting of heat in a drier is a way of guaranteeing yourself bobbles of the finest quality. Stay away at all costs!

Finally, if bobbles do appear there are some techniques you can use if damage limitation becomes necessary:

  1. Use a fabric shaver (or a disposable razor) and GENTLY go over the affected areas. By doing this GENTLY you can almost entirely remove the bobble and restore an almost new quality to the garment. However, do this with caution as in the wrong hands this could likely make the area worse. Again, smooth and gentle are key.
  2. Washing your clothes inside out is the equivalent of putting food in the freezer – it will buy you time. If the initial signs of bobbling do appear then wash garments inside out. This means that the bobble will take a lot longer to manifest itself, and better still, when it does it will be on the inside and out of sight. A secret bobble is less shameful than an obvious one.

I hope this short list of tips helps you and your laundering be bobble free!