One of the drawbacks of microfleece blankets or clothing is the fabric's tendency to pill or develop small round lint balls on its surface. If you choose microfleece labeled "ultra plush," the fabric has less tendency to pill, unless it's washed with the wrong items. To prevent pilling, wash your fleece blankets and clothing separately from items that contain cotton or linen. If it's too late, you can easily remove the lint balls.
Plastic Comb Method
Most everyone has a fine-toothed plastic comb around the house. Lay the blanket on a flat surface such as a tabletop or clean lint-free floor. Start in the left corner and comb the fleece the length of the blanket, periodically disposing of the lint balls that build up on the comb. While this method takes more time and effort than other methods do, the process is effective in removing lint ball buildup from fleece blankets or clothes.
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Sweater Shaver or Razor Method
Sweaters have the same tendency to pill as microfleece blankets and clothing; to remove the pills on your blanket use a sweater or fabric shaver. In a pinch, a disposable razor applied carefully and lightly to the fabric laid on a tabletop or other flat surface does the same trick. Work in small 2-foot-square sections methodically across the blanket, until all the pills are removed.
After removing the pills, wrap masking tape around your hand, sticky side out, to pick up any stray lint balls that fell back to the blanket's surface.
Lint Roller Remover Method
A hand-held lint remover has a roller that contains a sticky substance that grabs lint balls, pet hair and other stray threads from the surface of most blankets or clothes. Working in small sections, methodically apply the roller to the surface of the micro-fleece item to remove the lint balls. You may periodically have to remove the layer of tape on the lint roller to increase its effectiveness.
A Sharp Knife Method
A sharp knife applied to the surface of the blanket laid out across a flat surface will also remove the lint balls from the microfleece. Use extra caution to avoid cutting into the microfleece, or yourself.
More Lint Ball Removal Tips
- Keep a vacuum handy to suck up loose lint balls on the floor.
- When using a disposable razor, apply light pressure to avoid cutting the fabric.
- Dry microfleece blankets on a clothesline to avoid pilling from dryer action.
- To avoid pilling, do not wash microfleece items with towels.
Keeping the Fleece Soft
Use a gentle laundry detergent, and set the washer to cold or lukewarm when washing fleece. Do not use household bleach on microfleece blankets, as this can destroy the softness. Add a fabric softener to the final rinse, and line dry the fleece for best results. To remove tough stains, apply a grease-cutting dish soap to the stain as a pretreatment before washing. Let the soap sit on the stain at least overnight before washing.
Prevention with Tennis Balls in the Dryer
To prevent more lint from grabbing onto the surface of microfleece clothing and blankets, add two tennis balls when drying the items. The tennis balls bounce around inside the dryer, helping to knock loose any lint.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.