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Reviving Your Gear: How to Remove Pilling from Your Running Shorts Reviving Your Gear: How to Remove Pilling from Your Running Shorts


Reviving Your Gear: How to Remove Pilling from Your Running Shorts

Discover effective techniques for removing pilling from your running shorts and restoring their original appearance. Say goodbye to unsightly fuzz and revive your running shorts to their former glory.

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There’s no doubt about it, running shorts are an essential piece of every runner’s wardrobe. But after a few months of regular use, you might start to notice little balls of fabric forming on the surface – a common phenomenon known as pilling. Pilling can detract from the appearance of your shorts and may even affect comfort during your run. But before you retire your favorite pair, let’s explore some practical methods to remove pilling and restore your shorts to their former glory.

Understanding Pilling

Pilling is the formation of tiny, fuzzy balls on the surface of fabrics. It’s caused by abrasion during wear or washing, which makes the fabric’s fibers break, tangle, and eventually form pills. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, commonly used in running shorts, are particularly susceptible to pilling.

Preventing Pilling: It’s Easier Than You Think

Prevention is better than cure. This old adage holds true for pilling as well. Here are some measures to prevent pilling on your running shorts:

  1. Washing Inside Out: Turning your shorts inside out before washing can help reduce the friction that causes pilling.
  2. Gentle Cycle: Use the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine, which is less abrasive to fabrics.
  3. Use a Fabric Conditioner: A good fabric conditioner can lubricate the fibers of the fabric, making them less likely to tangle and form pills.
  4. Air Dry: If possible, air dry your shorts instead of using a tumble dryer, which can create friction and promote pilling.

Methods to Remove Pilling from Your Running Shorts

Even with the best care, some degree of pilling may be inevitable, especially with frequent use. Thankfully, several methods can help you remove these annoying little fuzz balls from your running shorts.

Manual Removal

For light pilling, manual removal might be sufficient. You can simply pick off the pills one by one with your fingers. It’s a bit time-consuming, but it’s free and requires no special tools.


Yes, you read that right. Shaving isn’t just for faces and legs – it’s also an effective way to remove pills from your running shorts. For this method, you’ll need a regular disposable razor and a steady hand. Lay your shorts flat on a table and gently shave the fabric as you would your skin. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid cutting the fabric.

Fabric Combs and Electric Fabric Shavers

Fabric combs or electric fabric shavers can be incredibly effective at removing pills. These devices have sharp blades that cut off the pills while leaving the underlying fabric intact. They are generally safe to use on most fabrics and can quickly restore your running shorts to their pre-pilled condition.


Pilling might be a common nuisance, but it’s not a death sentence for your favorite pair of running shorts. With a little know-how and a bit of effort, you can remove pills and restore the look and comfort of your gear. Remember, the key lies not just in treating pilling but also in taking steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is pilling and why does it occur?

Pilling refers to the formation of tiny balls of fabric on the surface of clothes due to the breaking and tangling of fibers. It’s caused by friction during wear or washing and is common in synthetic fabrics like polyester.

How can I prevent pilling on my running shorts?

Preventing pilling involves reducing friction during washing and wear. You can do this by turning your shorts inside out before washing, using the gentle cycle on your washing machine, using a fabric conditioner, and air drying your shorts.

Can I remove pilling from my running shorts?

Yes, you can remove pilling from your running shorts using methods such as manual removal, shaving with a razor, or using a fabric comb or electric fabric shaver.

Is it safe to shave pills off my running shorts with a razor?

Yes, it’s generally safe to shave pills off your running shorts with a razor. However, you should be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the fabric.

Will removing pills from my running shorts damage them?

If done carefully, removing pills from your running shorts will not damage them. However, excessive pressure or incorrect technique can potentially harm the fabric. When in doubt, consult the care label on your shorts or contact the manufacturer.