How To Keep Your Leggings From Pilling In The Laundry

We've all been there: You've found the perfect pair of go-to leggings, but when they're all warm and ready to come out of the dryer, you notice pilling all over. While that's not a great feeling, it turns out there's a way to prevent it from happening. Actually, there are quite a few ways to make sure that your leggings don't pill when you wash and dry them. Don't worry though: There are some ways to save them if they've already pilled as well — because no one's perfect.

What is pilling, you ask? We're talking about those tiny dots that are typically found on the inseam of leggings but can pop up on the outside as well. According to Whirlpool, pilling happens when "broken clothing fibers on the surface become tangled together" after wearing the item over and over again. It typically comes from overwear, not from washing itself.  

Of course, you can't stop wearing your clothes, but using the right washing and drying techniques can prevent the pilling from getting any worse. So without further ado, here's how to prevent pilling on your leggings, plus a few ways to fix it if these tips are coming a little too late.

Wash your leggings inside out

There are some wild clothing hacks out there. Seriously, people go to some incredible feats to keep their clothes looking good. But preventing pilling on your leggings is actually pretty simple: All you need to do is to start washing your clothing inside out (via Today). Yep, that's it!

You probably already rip your leggings off at the end of the day and leave them in an inside-out ball in the hamper. Therefore, this tip will save you some time and prevent pilling all at the same time.

According to Gwen Whiting, bonafide laundry expert and co-founder of The Laundress, there's a misconception that pilling comes from the laundry when really it comes from normal wear. "[The pills] really come from wearing and exposure. But for reducing pilling, we recommend putting everything inside-out so the abrasion is on the interior vs. the exterior," Whiting told Today.

So, basically, while you can't stop wearing your clothing, you can prevent pilling from getting any worse by flipping your leggings inside out before throwing them in the wash.

Follow these laundry tips

If simply flipping your clothing inside-out seems too good to be true, there are a few other laundry tactics you can try to prevent pilling. According to The Spruce, two of the best ways to prevent pilling on your leggings are to choose a laundry detergent that has cellulase in it and to skip the drying. 

Let's break this down, because we're getting a little scientific. All cellulase does is make clothing smooth and remove the dirt without damaging the clothing (via Journal of Basic Microbiology). To put it in simple terms, it washes fabric gently. The good news is that, just like the first pill-preventing tip, you might already be doing this. Laundry detergents like Tide already have the fancy-sounding active ingredient in them (via Tide).

If you really want to prevent pilling, skipping the dryer is another easy tip. The Spruce explains that the rubbing of the fabrics in the dryer could be a reason that you're seeing pilling on your clothes. Hang-drying your clothing takes a bit longer, but it's a great way to prevent those pesky pills.

Use a fabric shaver when pilling appears

No matter how hard you try, there will likely be pilling popping up on your leggings from time to time. However, fabric shavers were created for this exact problem, and they're very easy to use. The shaver works by gently cutting the pills off the fabric (via HGTV). You just hold the machine and it does all the hard work for you.

According to Good Housekeeping, the best shavers out there are actually pretty affordable. The publication names Evercare's Fabric Shaver as the top one on the market, and it's only $9.50 on Amazon. Customers seem to agree, too. The tool has over 2,000 ratings on Amazon and still has a 4.3 out of 5-star rating. 

At the end of the day, no one's perfect when it comes to taking care of their clothes. It's nice to know that there are ways to prevent pilling from happening in the first place as well as a tool to help you when you find that the damage has already been done. Thankfully, none of these tips will break the bank or take up too much time.