5 Ways to Get Lint & Fuzz Balls Off Socks & Prevent Them From Forming

Of all the articles of clothing you own, socks are the most susceptible to pilling and accumulating lint. This is because you wear socks inside your shoes, where they experience friction with every step you take. The friction causes the fabric to rip and break with time, resulting in both lint and pills on the sock’s surface.

This guide gives you five tips for getting lint or fuzz balls completely off your socks and other clothes to make them look new.

Removal MethodRecommended Sock TypeRemoves
Lint RollerCotton, wool, and other natural fibersSurface lint
Packing TapeCotton, wool, and other natural fibersSurface lint
Fabric ShaverAll fabric typesPills
Sweater StoneWool, Cashmere, MohairLint and pills
Wool CombWool, Cashmere, and CottonLint and pills

1. Lint Roller

The quickest and easiest way to remove lint from your socks is to use a lint roller. Lint rollers come in various sizes and can easily remove lint, hair, dust, and more from the sock in only a few strokes.

However, consider using a smaller lint roller as they are easier to use on your feet. Additionally, you can store a small lint roller in a desk, messenger bag, car, purse, etc., for quick touch-ups. To use a lint roller, pull the sock tight, or put them on your feet, and then firmly roll over the sock multiple times in different directions.

What types of socks: it works with all kinds of socks but is most effective for cotton, wool, and other natural fibers.

2. Packing Tape

Are you looking to refresh lint-laden socks right now? Then there is no better household item than packing tape.

Wrap tape around your hand, sticky side out, and roll it on your socks.

roll tape around hand to remove lint

Roll the tape on the sock in several different directions. Also, patting the fabric will help to remove stubborn lint.

Lastly, we recommend clear packing tape here, as you can visually see all the lint that the tape is removing.

removed lint from socks

What types of socks: it works with all kinds of socks but is most effective for cotton, wool, and other natural fibers.  

3. Fabric Shaver

lint balls

It is challenging to remove pills, especially from socks with many artificial fabrics like polyester, nylon, and more, with just a lint roller or tape. To remove these stubborn pills, you must clip them away. Fabric shavers, also known as fabric defuzzers, are small devices designed to precisely cut away excess pilling or lint accumulated on socks.

By simply laying the sock down on a flat surface, adjusting the depth setting for the lint ball sizes, run the fabric shaver over the socks a few times, you’ll have pill-free socks in under a minute.

Most fabric shavers are battery-operated, making them great travel companions as well.

What types of socks: works well with all fabric types, including artificial fibers such as nylon, spandex, and micro modal.

4. Sweater Stone

Like the pumice stone you may use to remove hard skin on your hands or feet; a sweater stone will remove excess lint on wool socks. Pumice provides a light amount of friction that’ll pull loose fibers without ruining the rest of the sock.

Using a sweater stone is easy; once you have finished washing and air drying your socks, take the stone over both sides of the sock and watch the lint and pills disappear.

What types of socks: only for merino wool, cashmere, and other animal fibers.

5. Wool Comb

This fine-tooth and handheld comb is an excellent alternative to the sweater stone. As the name infers, the wool comb is best for merino, cashmere, and other natural animal fibers.

The comb design is more ergonomic and will remove most large pills and lint in one or two passes. However, you’ll want to ensure that the socks are lying on a flat surface before removing the lint.

What types of socks: best on merino and cashmere, although some have found it effective on cotton socks as well.

How to Prevent Fuzz Balls Going Forward

To reduce the accumulation of lint on your socks, the following can help:

  • Fabric Softeners: These will make your clothes feel noticeably softer to the touch. They achieve this soft feeling by coating individual fibers of the sock with a lubricant. Regularly adding fabric softener to your laundry will make your socks less likely to knot and pill.
  • Laundry Bags: To reduce the amount of friction your socks experience when washing, consider placing them in a laundry bag. As a bonus, all the socks will be together, making folding easier and ensuring that you don’t lose any.
  • Cold Water Wash: When you wash socks in a hot temperature setting, it may cause the synthetic fibers to warp or break, which allows lint, fuzz balls, and pills to form. To prevent this, wash your socks in cold water.

Unfortunately, given the nature of socks and the environment in which you wear them when compared to other clothes, complete prevention is not possible.

Can you stop clothes from attracting lint?

There are a couple of ways you can prevent your socks from attracting lint. The first is to make sure you change the lint tray in your dryer after every load. Additionally, fabric softeners lubricate the threads reducing the chance that lint will stick to your socks, and lastly, some companies make anti-linting sprays that you can apply to your socks before you wear them.

Theo Lawson

With a five-year background in men's fashion, Theo Lawson has shifted his focus to the world of socks. To him, socks are more than just a piece of clothing - they're a way to express yourself and make a statement.

To improve his knowledge, Theo consults with manufacturers and interviews industry leaders to stay up-to-date on the latest sock trends. His dedication to the field has earned him the trust of companies, celebrities, and sock enthusiasts, making him a true testament to the impact that one person can have when passionately pursuing their expertise.

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