Review: Fabric shaver for pills and bobbles

In last week’s post I shared advice on how to prevent your clothes from pilling or bobbling. But what about when your clothes have already pilled? This week I picked up a fabric shaver to find out just how well it works. Here’s how I got on!

I bought the Philips Fabric Shaver from Harvey Norman for $24 (around £12), though I can see the price has since gone up to $29 in the few days since I ordered it online.

I began with my cheapest item – just in case. This black t-shirt is 95% viscose, 5% elastane – the classic culprit combo when it comes to bobbly fabric. I looked for the bobbliest bit I could find – around the underarm, where there’s the most friction (a key cause of pilling).

Did it work?

The user manual was full of super helpful advice, like “Batteries are to be inserted with the correct polarity” and “Cleaning and user maintenance shall not be made by children without supervision.” (Thank you). But there was nothing at all on the right technique for actually using it.

I started tentatively and was instantly surprised by how well it worked. The underarm went from mostly bobble to looking like new.

As I got more confident, I moved on to the main part of the t-shirt and – *ripping sound* – the fabric was sucked into the blades, which sheared right through it. Thank goodness I started on my least precious item – with a hole right through the middle, it is now totally unwearable.

After practising a bit, I felt more confident about my technique – holding the shaver at a right angle to the fabric, making sure not to slant it up or down. I also made sure it was on a totally flat surface, continually smoothing it, and moving seams out of the way where I needed to.

I moved on to a couple more items. I’ve been finding that my pregnant belly rubbing against the edge of my desk has caused many of my super soft fabrics to wear and look rough, rather than bobbly. These garments didn’t benefit massively from the shaver – I guess because there weren’t many distinctive bobbles for it to shear off.

My final attempt was on a skirt that I’m currently selling online. I had deliberately set a low reserve price for the auction, mentioning the bobbliness in the description. This polyester/spandex mix (a thick jersey texture) was undeniably bobbly. More bobble than not, in fact. And this is where the fabric shaver came into its own. Taking my time to systematically work my way around the skirt, it was like revealing a brand new garment. I was totally blown away by the improvement. I’m so pleased for whoever buys this skirt – it looks a million times better than before.

Compare and contrast: the left side after using the fabric shaver, the right side without it

The verdict

Depending on how many bobbly items you have, I would definitely recommend a relatively inexpensive fabric shaver like this one. Just be sure to practice on something you wouldn’t mind accidentally destroying. I’m looking forward to giving lots of my old clothes a new lease of life.

2 thoughts on “Review: Fabric shaver for pills and bobbles

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