How to Treat Window Shade Fabric Pilling

Duette® Honeycomb Shades
Hunter Douglas Duette® Cellular Shades

At Bretz Interiors serving the greater Denver area, we’re proud of the quality of the Hunter Douglas products we carry—from the window treatments themselves to the operating systems to the hardware accessories. Yet even with the high-quality fabric, pilling can occur, much like it can on a beloved article of clothing. In this post, we explore why pilling occurs and how to handle it. 

What Is Pilling? 

All fabrics are composed of fibers, which occasionally can become loose. These loose fibers move to the surface of the fabric, where friction (caused by human contact, movement of the fabric against itself, or even laundering) twists them into small balls. The fibers that aren’t loose also twist with the balls, which then anchors them to the main part of the fabric. Although this happens with all fibers, it’s most noticeable with human-made fabrics, because natural fabrics shed the loose fibers more easily. Also, human-made fabrics tend to be stronger, so the pilling anchor is quite strong.  

Pilling Causes

If the fabric is made from more than one type of fiber (a well-known example is cotton-polyester blend), you’ll definitely see the pilling because the weaker fiber (in the example, the cotton) more easily breaks and the stronger fiber (poly) holds the pills to the fabric. Also, cotton fibers tend to be shorter, with more tiny ends than fabrics like silk or linen, which tend to have longer, more continuous fibers that don’t break. Pilling can be triggered by a variety of elements, including how much moisture in the air and whether the fabric might rub against something frequently. Some items, like fleecy tracksuits or blankets, can even transfer pills to furniture fabric through abrasion. 

Pilling Is Easily Treatable

De-pilling fabric is the simple removal of the loose surface fibers using either a battery-operated pill shaver or a pill comb. You can find either at your local fabric or sewing store. And rest assured, removing the pills will not impact the quality or performance of the fabric. In actuality, even if pilling reoccurs, it will be lessened and will eventually diminish because all of the extra, loose fibers will be gone. 

“Preventing” Pilling

Technically, you can’t really prevent pilling from happening—it’s all just a natural part of the process for fabric fibers. However, you can keep in mind some simple things to reduce the occurrence of pilling. For one, if you stain the fabric, avoid rubbing the stain. This usually loosens fibers and creates pills. Instead, put the stained fabric over an old, clean cloth you don’t use for other purposes, treat the stain with your usual stain remover, and blot the area with another clean cloth. This should transfer the stain to the lower cloth. Another way to help reduce pilling is to avoid touching Velcro to the fabric. Velcro will stick to the loose fibers and pull them up, which will start the pills. If you’ve noticed pilling on one of your fabric Hunter Douglas window fashions and are concerned about how to handle it, feel free to contact a Bretz Interiors representative. We’ll be more than happy to offer advice. 

Resolving Fabric Pilling in Lakewood, Arvada CO Areas

Bretz Interiors is a family-owned business located in Lakewood and serving the greater Denver area. In operation since 1959, we focus on delivering high quality products and exceptional service to every client. Our showroom has a wide variety of displays and our sales team is happy to assist you with any questions you may have!


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