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Pilling can happen in many fibers and textiles.
Even the finest luxury bed linens might pill. However, with better quality bed sheets, pilling is often the result of improper care, such as too high of heat, exposure to harsh chemicals, or abrasion.
- Piling is the result of loose/broken fibers knotting up and turning into little balls.
- Sheets made from low quality cotton (short cotton fibers) can also pill easily.
Below is an illustration of two unwashed cuttings of fabric.
- Notice the sheet on the right has a very consistent tight weave (this is a cutting of our Italian woven cotton fabric).
- The cotton bed sheet on the left has a loose weave, inconsistent thread diameters and weave.
- The cutting on the left already has a few nubs that will become pills very soon.
Now that we have explained what pilling is and a some of its causes, back to the question - how to keep your sheets from pilling.
- Avoid buying the $80, thousand thread-count sheet sets found on-line claiming to be 100% Egyptian cotton.
- Thread count is not a determination of quality, watch the below video, explaining why thread count is somewhat of a secondary consideration.
- Remember the adage – “you get what you pay for”.
- A great set of sheets will cost you between $300 and $1,200.
- Another side note; our linens currently sell between $300 & $600 (as of 2017), however, they are not sold through retailers. If they were they would sell between $700 and $1,500 - there is no retail mark-up.
To properly care for luxury linens, watch the below video.
- Minimize high heat exposure:
- This applies to both the washing and drying process. Excessive heat destroys the elasticity of the cotton fiber, causing it to break.
- If you iron your bed sheets, use a medium heat setting with steam and do not let the hot iron sit in one spot too long.
- Consider a milder detergent:
- Tide & Cheer contain chemicals that can damage the fiber.
- Brighteners. found in many detergents are bleach derivatives that can damage the fabric.
- Use a mild detergent such as Dreft, Ivory or better yet; Le Blanc Linen Wash, sold here.
- Avoid abrasion to the fabric.
- Stubbly body hair on the face, back or legs is a often the culprit. Short body hair can act like a Brillo pad that scrubs the bed sheet.
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See 150+ bedding related articles & videos on our “How to Tips” page here.