What is a Sweater Shaver?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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A sweater shaver is a device that can be used on most wool and some cashmere sweaters to remove pilling. Pilling happens when the fabric rubs up against something like another fabric or even your skin and small fibers begin to come loose. When the same area is rubbed again and again over time, small balls or "pills" of fabric begin to form on the garment.

One of the best ways to remove these pills from your sweater or wool garment is to use a sweater shaver. A sweater shaver is a tool that, when passed over the surface of the garment, will pick up and gently remove fabric pills. Because different materials have different levels of delicacy, be sure to chose a sweater shaver that will not damage your clothing. Also, be sure to follow all of the directions printed on the sweater shaver's accompanying materials. If you use a sweater shaver incorrectly, you may damage your garments instead of improving them.


Using a sweater shaver appropriately is one of the best ways to extend the life of your sweaters. Once sweaters have been worn for a while and develop pills, they begin to look old and worn. The pills however, are generally made up of only a very small amount of fabric that your sweater can do without. By removing these pills with a sweater shaver, you can restore your garment so that it looks almost as new as the day that you bought it. Remember that sweater shavers can be used on a number of different kinds of garments. Last year's wool coat can be quickly revived by passing over its surface with a sweater shaver. You can also use these tools on wool scarves, hats, and gloves.

If you have never used a sweater shaver before, be sure to practice on a garment that you do not particularly care about. This will help you learn how to use the tool before moving on to more beloved pieces of your wardrobe. Much like shavers for human skin, sweater shavers come in both manual, battery operated, and electrical forms and range in price.

It is important to note that sweater shavers do not work on cotton. Because of the way cotton fibers bind to one another, sweater shavers are much more likely to tear holes in cotton sweaters and garments. Furthermore, cotton is much less prone to pilling than animal fibers such as wool, cashmere, and pashmina.


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Post 3

@Potterspop - I tried several brands of electric sweater shavers with various degrees of success.

Some of them worked for a while, but mostly they either annoyed me with the way they snagged other parts of the fabric, or needed the batteries replaced every couple of uses.

I tried having my sweaters dry cleaned for a while, but the chemical process isn't something I want to do more than is absolutely necessary.

The only thing I ever recommend these days is a sweater stone. It works really well on expensive Shetland wool pullovers, perhaps because it's like a pumice stone?

I bought mine online, from a company that supports disabled workers, which makes it an even better buy in my opinion.

Post 2

Since we got a top loading washing machine I've noticed more and more bobbles on woollen sweaters. It's a very annoying side effect that I could do without, and I would love some suggestions about how to remedy this problem.

Having read several sweater shaver reviews I'm no closer to making a choice. I can't seem to find one product that has all positive reviews, there's always a few in there complaining of fabric damage or poor quality blades.

I don't mind spending a little more for something that's easy to use, safe for the clothes you use it on and easy to operate.

Post 1

I picked up a jumbo size fabric shaver from a garage sale and I totally love it. I don't have many clothes that are badly pilled, but it has worked well on some old blankets. They look pretty much like new again.

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