How to Remove Pills From a Couch

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Are you worried about small fabric pills appearing on your couch? Well, you should be because these unwanted “fuzz balls” reduce your couches’ overall elegance. Pills are one of the most common issues every couch owner faces. So, read this article to know how to remove pills from a couch. 

How to Remove Pills from A Couch 

When your upholstered cloth is made of more than one type of fabric, there are chances of pill accumulation. But I’ll tell you how to fix it for good.

Step #1: Gather the Following 

Before you start to remove pills from your couch, gather the required materials. 

  • Fabric softener
  • Sweater stone
  • Lint tape brush
  • A pair of scissors
  • Plastic comb
  • Hair/beard trimmer 
  • Steel wool fiber 

Step #2: Clean the Fabric 

The first step to removing pills from your couch is to clean the fabric. It is because removing pills from any uncleaned fabric will worsen its quality. 

  • Remove the outer cover of your couch to clean the fabric. The outer cover of a couch is generally made from wool, cotton, or foam. 
  • After turning the couch cover inside out, clean them in the washer with a good-quality fabric softener
  • Now, turn on the washing machine and put its speed limit to the slowest. 

However, you can set the speed limit to normal to dry your couch covers, as hanging them in the sun isn’t a good idea. 

Step #3: Rub with A Sweater Stone

Start rubbing the couch by turning the covers inside out and stroking the upholstered cloth. 

A pumice sweater stone will be the perfect tool for rubbing the couch fabric and the upholstered cloth. However, you can also use rough beach stone. 

Depending on the fabric patterns of the upholstered fabric, you have to adjust your strokes. 

  • For example, for corduroy styles, you can stroke the sweater stone along the weaving lines. 
  • If your couch covers are made from wool or foam, stroke in a straight and diagonal movement. 

To create more friction, you have to spot the roughest and the largest part of the sweater stone. 

Still, if some pills remain, use your fingernails to get rid of them. To ease this step, you can watch this video about how to use a sweater stone

Step #3: Use A Lint Tape Brush 

Picking pills from all regions of your couch fabric takes a long time. A lint tape brush is handy to get rid of stubborn spills from your couch in such a case. 

Just like the previous step, you have to stroke your fabric according to the fabric style.

  • You can start by rubbing your fabric cloth along straight lines to cover more area and switch to diagonals. 
  • When the tape roll loads up with pills, replace it with a new one and trim off the remaining pills with a pair of scissors. 

A lint brush works best when your upholstered cloth is made from foam or wool and has diagonal fabric designs. 

Step #4: Comb the Fabric and Covers

For this step, you can use a high-density plastic comb depending on the texture quality of your upholstered cloth. 

For example, for wool covers, you have to use a denser comb than for cotton covers.

  • Begin by running the comb smoothly on the surface of your couch fabric. 
  • Make a slight angle between your comb and fabric to get the process smooth. 
  • Next, comb only in straight lines irrespective of the design, as combing it diagonally will make the fabric frizzier.

If you get any pills during combing, lift your comb to remove them from the fabric surface. 

Keep combing till you have removed all the pills from the upholstered cloth and covers.

Step #5: Shave the Fabric

You can do this task with a razor used for men’s grooming or a beard trimmer. 

Shaving your couch saves it from heavy pill accumulation, as it removes pills on a large scale. 

Create some surface tension in your fabric so that you can remove the pills clean. 

If you have a cotton-fabricated couch, don’t apply much force on your razor, as doing such might cut the cloth. 

Step #6: Wipe with Steel Wool Pad

Just like a razor or an electric shaver, steel wool helps you get rid of heavily accumulated couch pills. 

Use any soap-free steel wool pad to ensure that the fabric quality remains unaffected. 

If you have a couch fabricated from foam, be gentle in rubbing the surface with a steel wool pad. 

On wiping the surface gently, the rough fibers will generate enough friction to eliminate the couch pills. 

Easy Tips to Remove Pills from A Couch 

Tip #1: Use A Vacuum Cleaner

Using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of couch pills is undeniably a smart move. You can set your suction power to 80-100 AW for a better result. 

You can use vacuum cleaners even after removing the pills. It stops them from getting attached to other fabric surfaces. 

Tip #2: Use A Packaging Tape 

You can also use adhesive force to get rid of stubborn spills on your couch. 

All you have to do is lay the tape in areas with excessive pill accumulation and pull it. 

The larger the adhesive force, the more you can discard pills from the fabric surface. 

However, it can also get messy and stick to your floor along with the fuzz balls. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which technique is the best to remove pills from a couch? 

Removing pills with the help of a razor or a fabric shaver is probably the best technique. All you have to do is hold your razor or shaver at a specific angle and pull. However, you should take precautions while handling a blade. 

What is the price range of an electric fabric shaver? 

Electric fabric shavers are pretty affordable, and they lie in a price range of 10-50 USD. The price varies depending on the features, sturdiness, and battery power of the fabric shavers. 


When fabrics rub together, it breaks and accumulates in small balls, this is called upholstery pilling. Chances are more if one of the fabric types is weaker than the other because the weaker type degrades faster to form pills. 

Brett E.

Brett E. is the Owner of  Brett comes from a long line of craftsman and foreman, and has been involved with the construction and renovation world ever since he was a boy while working for his families construction and remodeling company.  After graduating with a a degree in Interior Design, Brett is the go to guy for any interior design or remodeling questions!