How to avoid bobbling or pilling on your bed linen

Updated on: April 30 2015

Everything you do for your establishment has your guest’s happiness in mind. That’s why it can be so frustrating when something you buy doesn’t last as long as you may expect it to. Bobbling or pilling is a common side effect of using and washing linen over time. Why does it happen and what can you do about it?

Why does my linen bobble or pill?

Material can bobble or pill due to a surface defect that’s made up of small fibres. Long term usage and repeated washing of your linen can fray the fibre endings, tangling and leading to tiny knots. Materials that have a tendency to pill the most are cotton, wool, nylon, polyester and acrylic. The good news is that wool pilling tends to diminish over time as the wool fibres work themselves free of the fabric and fall off. Synthetic fibres, however, are at an increased risk of pilling as the strong fibres can keep a firm hold of the pills.

While the textile industry does its best to reduce the risk of bobbles and pills – including more twists per inch in the yarn, singeing loose fibres from the surface of textiles and adding chemical treatments during the manufacturing process – it can’t currently be completely eliminated. However, good care of linen and taking the steps in the next section can significantly reduce the risk.

How can I stop bobbling from appearing on my bed linen?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of bobbling on bed linen.

  • Think about the material of your bed linen. 100% cotton is less likely to bobble than polycotton sheets. This is due to the difference in fibre lengths.
  • Quality matters – not only should you be looking at the material, think about the quality of it too. Higher thread counts are less likely to pill than others.
  • Washing your linen inside out can help to protect it further during the laundering process. Often when washing linen, it’s subjected to high temperatures, so turning it inside out limits these on the surface.
  • When drying, try to line dry where possible. This cuts down on the high temperatures your linen has to go through and will be less damaging to the fibres.
  • Manufacturers recommend treating fabrics with chemical soil release treatments as it makes the surface more hydrophilic. Laundry detergents that contain enzymes will remove pills on cotton fabric.

If you feel your bed linen is in need of a refresh ahead of the summer season, check out our latest offers on beautiful bed linen for your establishment.

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Hilden Team
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Hilden Team

Hilden Team

Michelle Pegg is the Assurance and Compliance Manager at Hilden Linens.