Repair/Refresh: Fabric Shaver

I love repair/refresh/fix so we’ve got another one for you! It’s especially relevant for cold weather and sweaters!

When I was little, my mom had a funny little machine in her sewing box. I thought it was a vacuum. It was actually a fabric shaver. A fabric shaver removes those little balls of fabric that build up from friction and abrasion on clothes. These tend to occur in the armpit areas or stomach of tops for me, or on leggings as the legs rub together. A great and inexpensive way to remove these “pills” is with a fabric shaver.

The fabric shaver I have is a Remington. I don’t remember how I picked it out and Wirecutter doesn’t actually have a fabric shaver article. Bustle has this fabric shaver post that looks pretty good if your want a quick introduction to this area of laundry care. My shaver is 11 years old and still going strong. My shaver uses two AA batteries. I don’t have to use it often but when I do it works well. I have tried a regular three-bladed razor and scissors to remove pills. Trust me, and save your clothes, and use a fabric shaver.

  • Make sure the fabric is flat. Do your best so the fabric doesn’t bunch up which may cause it to get caught in the holes of the shaver. You may need to go really slow and hold a bit of fabric flat at a time especially with delicate fabrics like cashmere.
  • I recommend a small slow circular motion to remove the pills.
  • Go even slower near seams or over ribbing so you don’t jam the shaver and/or cut your seam/fabric.
  • Empty the shaver after each item. This will make sure the blades have as much room to work as possible. Since we can never be 100% sure what a fabric is made of, I recommend you trash the pills/shaved material. In Austin our curbside compost provider has prohibited lint/fuzz since it’s so often synthetic fibers.

Some examples of before and after are below. I don’t have a sweater or bra example since I already shaved those last year, sorry. I have some other examples based on what I have available in the house right now.

What product-saving devices to you get excited about?

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