How to Stop Towels From Shedding | Towel Supercenter


You have decided to finally get rid of your old towels and purchase new ones that match your bathroom décor. You have determined which types of towels you want and have found the best prices for your new towels. Even if you are not on a strict budget, purchasing a complete set of new towels could be a significant expense depending on the types of towels as well as the number of towels you purchase.

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But now, your biggest concern is how to keep those towels looking nice and new so they can last you for years to come. You start thinking about what happens to towels to make you want to get rid of them. For example, some of your old towels were starting to shed and get lint balls. How do you prevent that from happening? Read on to learn how to stop towels from shedding and how to get lint balls off towels.

What Causes Towels to Pill?

Towels made from lower-quality fibers are more likely to pill or have small balls of fiber attached to them. The longer the fiber, the less likely it is to pill. Towels made from Egyptian or pima cotton are not as likely to pill because they have very long fibers. Additionally, towels made from combed cotton will not pill as easily because they are made from threads that are combed before the cotton is spun. Combing the threads means the shorter fibers are removed, thereby removing the fibers that are most conducive to making pills.


In a nutshell, towels will pill because short fibers are rubbing against longer fibers. Mastering techniques to avoid this will keep your towels looking newer and feeling softer for a long time to come.

Best Methods to Avoid Pilling on Towels

Now that you have an understanding of what causes pilling in your towels, it is important to learn ways to avoid pilling. Even though you have purchased towels that are less likely to pill, it is always possible that they may have some pilling. Implementing the following tips can lessen the chances your towels will pill:

  • Make sure to wash and dry your towels by themselves. While washing them by themselves is important, drying the towels alone is even more important. If you dry them with other clothes, they could get pills from the other clothes. Drying the towels for too long a period of time may weaken the towels’ fibers and make them more likely to pill.
  • Wash new towels with either a cup of white vinegar or half a cup of baking soda. You can use your detergent with either solution, but also make sure that you dissolve the baking soda in water first before adding to the washing machine. Additionally, you should use hot water to wash the towels.
  • After washing and drying your new towels by themselves, run them through the dryer on a short 30-minute drying cycle and use a few dryer sheets. The dryer will help remove any extra lint from the towels, and the dryer sheets will help catch lint that is left over on the surface of the towel.
  • Try washing your towels as you usually would, but hang the towels outside. Any wind will help loosen the lint on the towels and take it away in the breeze. You may need to repeat this process a few times until the lint is at what you would consider a normal level.
  • Even the best quality towels may have some lint because cotton, as a natural fiber, will shed. To reduce the amount of shedding, try to avoid overusing the towels and limit the drying in a conventional dryer. Line drying will help preserve the lifespan of your towel.
  • If it is too cold or too time-consuming for you to dry your towels on a line outdoors, try using a lower heat setting on your dryer. Using a lower heat setting will not only prevent damage to your towels, but it will also help preserve the thickness of the towels.
  • Another technique you can use to prevent pilling is one you will use after washing and drying the towels. When the towels are clean and dry and you need to fold them, always shake them about before folding. This will have the effect of removing extra lint from the towels.
  • After you have purchased your new towels, soak them in cold water for about a day. Once you have done this, wash and dry them. You should not have any fluff.
  • Try freezing your towels first. It may sound crazy, but some people swear by it. After your towels are frozen, take them out of the freezer and then wash and dry them. They should be pill-free.
  • Never wash your towels with any fabrics that have zippers or buttons on them. Buttons or zippers could catch on the loops of the towels and damage them.

Why New Towels Are Most Liking to Have Pills

When you are looking to buy new towels, one of the most attractive factors is their fluffiness. Yet most people can remember their negative reaction when the first time they used a new towel and became covered in the fluffy colored fuzz that has come off the towels.

New towels hold their fluffiness because their undamaged fibers are very soft and attract a number of particles including dust and other lints. What you will need to do is to use techniques to get rid of those extra particles of lint and dust by weakening the static that has bonded the particles to the towel.

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Cycles of Towel Pilling

Though new towels are most likely to have pills, there are essentially two times in the lifespan of a towel when they are most apt to have pilling — when the towels are almost brand-new and when they are very old.


Excess fibers in very new towels will cause pilling, and sometimes you will need to wash up to ten times to try to get rid of lint off of new towels. And older towels that are shedding a lot of lint are actually in the process of decomposing. Because of the likelihood of pilling for the old and new towels, these towels should be washed separately from your good towels in order to prevent pilling to accumulate on the good towels.

How to Care for Towels Where Pilling Has Already Occurred

Perhaps you didn’t use any methods to prevent the pilling on towels, or maybe you used the methods but pilling occurred anyway. Don’t worry if this happens, as there are many tried and true methods to help remove the pills after they have already occurred. Try the following:

  • Use a pilling brush or an upholstery brush on the towel. Though this may not be the easiest method and may actually be somewhat tedious, it works. The time-consuming nature of this method may seem trying for some, especially if there are a number of towels that have pilled, but it will definitely suffice.
  • Add a small amount of fabric softener to your load of towels in the wash. One half of a cap is sufficient. Once washed, add the towels to the dryer with a large piece of nylon netting. Take the towels out of the dryer and use a lint roller to remove any extra lint on the towels. You can also make your own lint roller by wrapping tape around your hand.
  • If you have a vacuum cleaner with a very good nozzle, use your vacuum cleaner to remove the pills from your towels. Make sure to clean the nozzle first in order to be able to remove as much lint as possible. Keep in mind this method of removing lint is not the most effective, as the vacuum is only able to remove lint that is very loose.
  • Run your towel(s) through the dryer for a few cycles in order to get rid of some of the pills. It is important to clean out the lint filter first so the maximum amount of lint can be removed from the towels. Though you may think it is a good idea to shave off the pilling from the towels, refrain from doing this, as it can actually damage the loops which are part of the towel’s structure.
  • Pulled loops on your towels can often lead to pilling. Pulled loops can occur for any number of reasons, especially if your towels are in close proximity to jewelry or rough furniture. If the loops are pulled, gently snip the pulled loop with scissors. Doing this will not impact the towel’s lifespan.

Additional Tips to Care for Towels

Though there are important methods to use to prevent towels from pilling and to remove the pills once they have occurred, there are also ideas you should employ to properly care for your towels. Preventing and eliminating pilling is just one way to care for your towels. You should also consider the following towel care tips:


  1. Because new towels are often coated with certain chemicals that may lessen their absorbency, use white vinegar when washing the towels the first time to remove the chemicals.
  2. Add a cup of salt to the cycle when washing the towels. This method will help set the color of the towels so they fade less.
  3. Do not use too much fabric softener when washing your towels. If you use too much fabric softener, you could lessen the absorbency of your towels.
  4. Wash your towels in small loads. If you wash them in large loads, not only could you be causing damage to your washing machine, but drying that large a load of laundry will also be overtaxing on your dryer.
  5. Remember baking soda has many uses. You can add it to your wash cycle along with your detergent to help your towels continue to smell fresh and clean.
  6. Don’t forget that even if you have purchased the best-quality towels, they only have a certain amount of longevity. You should consider replacing them approximately every couple of years.
  7. Use hot water to wash your white towels. If you have colored towels, you should wash them in warm water so you don’t have any colors bleeding.
  8. Sometimes you will want to use chlorine bleach when you are washing white towels. Bleach not only removes stains — it also kills bacteria.
  9. Though bleaching is a great idea to use periodically for your white towels, never use chlorine beach for your colored towels. This could cause staining and bleeding of your colors.
  10. While using white vinegar for new towels is a great idea, it is also a good idea to use white vinegar periodically — about once a month — in the rinse cycle.
  11. White vinegar has multiple benefits. Not only does the white vinegar help the towels become more absorbent, but it also helps remove extra detergent which can interfere with the towel’s absorbency.
  12. You probably are washing your towels too frequently. Ideally, you should be washing your towels after three or four uses. Hanging the towels to dry between uses helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and mildew.
  13. When line-drying your towels, employ this simple method: Drape a shorter end over the clothesline and clip with your clothespins. Once dry, give your towels a good snap.
  14. Though line-drying your towels has benefits that have been previously mentioned, line-drying also helps keep your towels smelling fresh and gives them a great outdoors odor.
  15. To help prevent your towels from building up a sour smell, you can add washing soda to the wash cycle. Using half a cup of washing soda will eliminate and prevent future sour smells.
  16. Everyone wants their towels to retain their fluffiness. One way to accomplish this is to use less detergent or a mild detergent such as borax.
  17. Set a timer to tell yourself when the wash cycle is complete. If you leave the towels in the washer for too long, they can develop a mildew odor, which can be difficult to remove.

Tips for Purchasing Towels

As you now have an understanding about why towels pill, how to prevent pilling, how to correct it and how to care for your towels, you might consider how you want to choose your towels. There are some very basic rules to consider when selecting towels:

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  • Consider how your towels will be used. If you are picking out bath towels, you will want towels with a great deal of absorbency. Cotton towels will provide you with the most absorbent material. The greater the number of loops in a square inch of the towel, the better the towel’s ability to perform and absorb water.
  • Think about the colors you want. If you have just repainted your bathroom in a sky-blue color, you may want to select towels to match. While this will definitely add to the color scheme of your bathroom, you may need to purchase extra towels as colors will tend to fade over time.
  • Don’t discount the idea of purchasing fluffy white towels. White can provide your bathroom with a clean spa-like look and will always match the décor of the bathroom, even if you decide to change the color of your bathroom at some point.

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