In the realm of laundry care, the formation of annoying fabric pills remains an enigmatic concern for many. As clothes endure repeated wash cycles, the emergence of those pesky little fuzz balls raises questions about the role of washing machines in this phenomenon.

So, can washing machine cause pilling? If you are lately dealing with fabric pilling more than usual and you are afraid that your washer is the main reason for this, you have come to the right place.

In this article, you can read everything between fabric pilling and washing machine and how to prevent pilling on clothes in your washer.

Join us in unraveling the mystery and understanding how washing machines can affect the longevity and appearance of our favorite garments.

Can Washing Machine Cause Pilling

Can Washing Machine Cause Pilling?

Since this is one of your top-asked questions, I want to ensure you are not the only one dealing with the same issue.

As many people are also struggling with this same problem, the first reason and a culprit for this is, understandably, the washing machine. But is there any truth in this? Can washing machine cause pilling?

Technically speaking, the washing machine cannot directly and seriously impact forming pilling on clothes. Sometimes, and in an extremely small percentage of cases, it can increase or worsen the pilling on clothes, but this happens rarely.

The biggest reason that causes fabric pilling on clothes is the broken clothing fabrics on the surface of your clothes.

These loose clothing fabrics clump together after many wearings and everyday friction and form the characteristic lint balls. Eventually, these lint balls stuck to your clothing.

How to Prevent Pilling on Clothes in the Washer

Now that I have clarified whether washing machines can cause pilling, I would like to share some incredibly helpful tips on how to prevent additional pilling in your washer.

Turn the garments inside out

The first and most important thing you must always practice is to wash your garments inside out. This is essential, not only to prevent pilling but to protect your clothes overall.

By doing this and turning the clothes inside out while in the washer, only the inside will rub against other garments.

In other words, there will be no additional damage on the outer part of the clothes, such as forming or worsening the pilling.

Ensure that the drum is not damaged

The next thing you must do to ensure that your washing machine will not cause any additional pilling is to check whether the drum is possibly damaged or if there are any sharp objects or metal in it. 

If this is the case, those sharp objects and other damages can significantly worsen the fabric pilling and promote forming of more lint balls.

Also, if the drum is highly damaged, it might even rip your entire clothes and represent a safety hazard.

Read more: Can Washing Machines Catch Fire?

Sort clothes by fabric type

As you probably already know, mixing and rubbing different fabric types of clothes can result in damaging the clothes with weaker and gentler fabrics.

Therefore, before you pile up and wash all of your clothes together, ensure that you separate them by fabric type. 

Doing this will significantly decrease the danger of potential fabric pilling. Keep the heavier fabric from damaging lighter ones in the washing machine, and your clothes will stay and look new for a prolonged time.

Opt for a cold water wash 

If there aren’t any serious stains you need to remove, opting for a gentle and cold wash is your best weapon against the pilling.

Even better, whenever possible, you can wash the most delicate clothes by hand to be completely sure that no additional pilling will form.

Study well how to choose laundry cycles correctly so that you wash each of your garments in the right way.

Do not overuse or underuse detergent

As many strong detergents can only damage your gentle clothes and nothing more, ensure that the detergent you are using is gentle and suitable for the types of fabric you are washing.

Also, the most important thing here is always to use the recommended amount of detergent. Do not underuse it, and especially, do not overuse it.

Consider using gentle fabric softener

If you want to protect clothing fibers additionally, instead of panicking about whether the washing machine can cause pilling, you can try and use a gentle fabric softener.

Decide on one that has smoothing and protecting properties and add that additional layer of protection after washing the garments.

Also read: Can A Washing Machine Get Rained On?


Can washing machine cause pilling? While the washing machine can contribute to fabric pilling in rare cases, it is not the primary cause.

The formation of annoying fabric pills is mainly due to loose clothing fibers clumping together on the surface of clothes after repeated wear and friction.

Several practical tips can be followed to prevent additional pilling in the washer. Turning garments inside out before washing can reduce friction and protect the outer part of the clothes.

Ensuring the washing machine’s drum is not damaged or harboring sharp objects is essential to avoid worsening fabric pilling. Sorting clothes by fabric type and opting for cold water washes can also help prevent pilling.

Using the right amount of gentle detergent and considering a gentle fabric softener can further protect clothing fibers, ensuring they stay in good condition for a longer time.