We may receive financial compensation for products purchased through links on this website. sleepjunkie.com is owned by Healthy Sleep, LLC and includes Amerisleep, LLC advertising. Learn more.

How to Get Lint Balls off Mattress: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Get Lint Balls off Mattress: A Comprehensive Guide

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 9 minutes

  • Pilling occurs when fibers on the surface of a mattress tangle and form small fuzz balls due to friction from various factors like fabric type, quality, and frequency of use.
  • Effective tools for removing pilling include lint rollers, fabric shavers, and soft-bristle brushes, which gently lift and cut away the pills without damaging the mattress.
  • Preventive measures such as using smooth bedding, rotating the mattress, and employing mattress protectors can help minimize future pilling, preserving the mattress’s appearance and longevity.

Mattresses are vital to our daily lives, providing relaxation and comfort after a long day. However, over time, you may notice the formation of small fuzz balls or tabs on the surface of your mattress. These are called pills, and they can make your mattress look old and worn out.

Removing pilling from your mattress is a simple process you can do yourself without needing professional help. This comprehensive guide will discuss the step-by-step process to get lint balls off a mattress. We will cover everything from understanding pilling to the necessary tools and supplies. So, let’s dive in and make your mattress look and feel brand new!

Understanding Pilling on a Mattress

Before we jump into removing pilling from a mattress, it’s important to understand what pilling is and why it occurs. Pilling is the term used to describe the formation of small, tangled clusters of fibers on the surface of a material. This can happen when the fibers in the fabric of your mattress rub against each other or against other surfaces, causing them to tangle and create those pesky fuzz balls.

Pilling on a mattress can result from various factors, such as the fabric type, construction quality, frequency of use, and even the bedding type utilized. Mattresses made of natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, are more prone to pilling than those made of synthetic materials.

Pilling can also occur when fabrics come into contact with rough surfaces, such as textured sheets or clothing. Additionally, friction from tossing and turning during sleep can further exacerbate the pilling process.

While pilling is more of a cosmetic concern rather than a structural issue, it can still be bothersome and detract from the overall appearance of your mattress. Removing pills not only enhances the visual appeal but also preserves the longevity of your mattress. By regularly getting rid of pilling, you can ensure that your mattress looks and feels fresh for years to come.

Tools and Supplies Needed

Before you begin the process of removing pilling from your mattress, it’s important to gather the necessary tools and supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Lint rollers: A lint roller is essential for gently removing pilling from your mattress. It consists of a roll of adhesive bamboo sheets that easily pick up the fuzz balls without damaging the fabric of your mattress.
  • Fabric shaver: A fabric shaver is another handy tool for removing pilling. It features rotating blades that safely cut and remove the pills from the fabric’s surface. Make sure to select a fabric shaver with adjustable settings to prevent any harm to the mattress.
  • Soft-bristle brush: A soft-bristle brush is useful for gently brushing away loose pilling. Opt for a brush with fine bristles that won’t be too harsh on the fabric.
  • Vacuum cleaner: Using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment can help eliminate loose pilling and dust from your mattress. It’s important to keep your mattress clean to prevent the formation of new pills.

In addition to these tools, you may also want to have the following supplies on hand:

  • Mild detergent: A mild detergent, fabric softener, or fabric cleaner can be used to clean the surface of the mattress before removing the pilling. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid saturating the mattress with excessive moisture.
  • Soft cloth: A soft cloth can be used with mild detergent to clean any stains or spills on the mattress gently.
  • Lint-free cloth: A lint-free cloth can be used to wipe down the mattress and remove any dust or debris after removing the pilling.
  • Protective cover: To prevent future pilling, consider investing in a protective cover for your mattress. These covers act as a barrier against friction and reduce the likelihood of pilling.

Now that you have all the necessary tools and supplies let’s move on to the step-by-step process of removing pilling from your mattress.

Step 1: Cleaning the Mattress

Before removing pilling from your mattress, it’s important to ensure the surface is clean. This will make the pilling removal process more effective and help maintain your mattress’s overall hygiene. Here’s how to clean your mattress:

  1. Begin by removing all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and mattress protectors, if any. This will expose the surface of the mattress for proper cleaning.
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to vacuum the entire mattress surface softly and eliminate any loose dirt, dust, or debris. Pay attention to the seams and corners of the mattress where particles may accumulate.
  3. Soak a soft cloth in the solution and gently dab the stain, carefully not to saturate the mattress. Next, use a new, damp cloth to dab the area and remove any remaining residue.
  4. Let the mattress air dry completely before continuing with the pilling removal process. You can aid in the drying process by opening windows, using fans, or placing the mattress in a well-ventilated area.

Cleaning your mattress before removing the pilling ensures you work with a fresh and dirt-free surface. This will enhance the effectiveness of the subsequent steps. Once your mattress is thoroughly cleaned and dried, you’re ready to move on to the next step: removing the pilling with a lint roller.

Step 2: Removing Pilling with a Lint Roller

With your mattress clean and dry, it’s time to address the pilling. One of the simplest and most effective tools for this is a lint roller. Here’s how to use a lint roller to remove pilling from your mattress:

  1. Start by unrolling the lint roller adhesive sheet, ensuring it is fully extended.
  2. Place the lint roller on the surface of the mattress and apply gentle pressure as you roll it over the areas with pilling.
  3. The adhesive sheet will pick up the loose fuzz balls and pills as you roll the lint roller. If the adhesive sheet is full, tear it off and discard it.
  4. Continue using the lint roller until you have covered the entire mattress surface and removed as much pilling as possible.

When using the lint roller, applying gentle pressure is important to avoid damaging the mattress’s fabric. Be thorough and methodical, paying attention to areas where pilling is more prominent. You may need to make multiple passes with the lint roller to achieve the best results.

If the lint roller’s adhesive loses effectiveness, you can replace the adhesive sheet with a new one or use sticky tape to remove any remaining pilling. Simply press the tape onto the areas with pilling and lift it off to pick up the pills.

Once thoroughly review the mattress with the lint roller, you can assess the results. If there is still some stubborn pilling remaining, don’t worry!

Now that you’ve successfully removed the loose pilling with a lint roller let’s move on to the next step: using a fabric shaver.

Step 3: Using a Fabric Shaver

If stubborn pilling remains on your mattress after using a lint roller, don’t worry. A fabric shaver can rescue and effectively remove the remaining pills. Here’s how to use a fabric shaver:

  1. Ensure that the fabric shaver is clean and free of any debris. Remove the protective cap, if applicable.
  2. Hold the fabric shaver at a slight angle and gently run it over the areas with pilling. Use smooth and even strokes to avoid damaging the fabric.
  3. The rotating blades of the fabric shaver will cut and remove the pills as you move them across the surface of the mattress.
  4. If necessary, adjust the fabric shaver’s settings to control the blades’ depth. This can be helpful when dealing with different fabric thicknesses.
  5. Continue using the fabric shaver until you have covered the entire mattress and removed the remaining pilling.

It’s important to be cautious when using a fabric shaver and avoid pressing too hard on the fabric. Applying too much pressure can lead to damage to the mattress. Additionally, make sure to keep the fabric shaver clean throughout the process. Empty the collection compartment regularly to prevent any clogs or jams.

If you don’t have access to a fabric shaver, an alternative option is to use a pair of razor blades to cut away the pills gently. However, exercise extreme caution to avoid any accidents or damage to the fabric.

Once you have finished using the fabric shaver or the alternative method, take a moment to inspect the mattress and ensure that all pilling has been successfully removed. If there are still some small pills remaining, you can move on to the next step: gently brushing them away.

Step 4: Gently Brushing Away Pilling

If there are still some small pills lingering on your mattress after using a lint roller and fabric shaver, fear not! In this step, we gently brush any remaining pilling using a soft-bristle brush. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a soft-bristle brush and gently run it over the surface of the mattress, focusing on the areas with remaining pilling.
  2. Apply light pressure and use long, sweeping motions to dislodge the pills from the fabric.
  3. Brush in the direction of the fabric’s weave to prevent any potential snags or damage.
  4. Keep brushing until you’ve gone over the entire mattress and cleared away any remaining pilling.

The soft-bristle brush not only helps remove the last traces of pilling but also helps smooth the fabric and restore the overall appearance of your mattress. Be patient and thorough during this step, ensuring you cover all mattress areas.

If you don’t have a soft-bristle brush, you can also use a clean, dry sponge or a soft, clean cloth. Just dampen the sponge or cloth slightly, squeeze out any extra moisture, and gently rub it over the areas with pilling. This method will help to loosen and lift the pills from the fabric.

After brushing away the remaining pilling, take a moment to admire your work. You should now have a rejuvenated mattress that is free from unsightly fuzz balls. But we’re not done just yet! Let’s move on to the next step: vacuuming the mattress.

Step 5: Vacuuming the Mattress

Now that you have successfully removed the pilling from your mattress, it’s time to thoroughly clean it to remove any loose fibers, dust, or debris that may have accumulated during the process. Vacuuming the mattress will not only ensure its cleanliness but also help prevent the formation of future pilling. Follow these steps to vacuum your mattress:

  1. Connect the brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner. This attachment is specifically designed to softly clean the mattress surface without causing damage.
  2. Starting from the top of the mattress, slowly run the vacuum cleaner over the entire surface, using a back-and-forth motion. Pay special attention to the seams, edges, and corners.
  3. Keep brushing until you’ve gone over the entire mattress and cleared away any remaining pilling.
  4. If your mattress has a quilted or tufted layer, gently use the brush attachment to lift the fabric and vacuum the crevices of the stitching.
  5. After vacuuming, take a moment to empty the vacuum cleaner canister or replace the bag to ensure optimal performance for future cleaning tasks.

Vacuuming the mattress removes any loose particles that may trigger allergies or cause discomfort. It also helps to maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your mattress, which is essential for a good night’s sleep.

Once you have finished vacuuming, your mattress should be free from pilling, clean, and ready to provide you with a comfortable sleep experience. But before we conclude, let’s discuss some preventive measures to minimize the occurrence of future pilling.

Step 6: Preventing Future Pilling

Now that you have successfully removed pilling from your mattress, you may wonder how to prevent it from happening again. While it’s not feasible to entirely eradicate the risk of pilling, you can implement various preventive measures to reduce its likelihood. Here are some tips to help you prevent future pilling:

  1. Choose the right bedding: Opt for bed sheets and pillowcases that have a smooth and silky texture. Avoid using textured fabrics that can cause friction and contribute to pilling.
  2. Wash bedding correctly: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when washing your bedding. Use a gentle cycle and prevent overloading the washing machine to prevent excessive rubbing of fabrics.
  3. Rotate your mattress: Regularly rotating your mattress can aid in evenly distributing body weight, decreasing the chances of pilling in particular spots.
  4. Use a mattress protector: Investing in a mattress protector helps protect your mattress from spills and stains and acts as a barrier against friction, reducing the risk of pilling.
  5. Keep pets away: If you have pets that sleep on your bed, consider keeping them off the mattress or using a pet-friendly mattress cover to minimize the transfer of fur and potential abrasion.
  6. Avoid sitting on the edge: Sitting or placing excessive weight on the edges of your mattress can cause strain on the fabric and lead to pilling. Try to avoid prolonged sitting or use a reinforced edge support.

By following By adhering to these preventive measures, you can notably decrease the likelihood of pilling on your mattress, maintaining its good condition for an extended period.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and steps to remove pilling from your mattress and prevent its recurrence, you can enjoy a fresh and comfortable sleep surface. Remember to periodically check your mattress for any signs of pilling and take prompt action to maintain its appearance and functionality. With a well-cared-for mattress, you can look forward to nights of blissful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Sweet dreams!


What causes pilling on a mattress?

Pilling on a mattress is typically caused by friction and abrasion from regular use, which can break down the fabric and create small balls of fibers on the surface.

Can pilling affect the comfort of a mattress?

Yes, pilling can affect the comfort of a mattress by creating an uneven surface and causing irritation or discomfort for the sleeper. It can also impact the breathability and overall feel of the mattress.

How can I prevent pilling on my mattress?

To prevent pilling on your mattress, you can use a mattress protector to offer an extra layer of protection. Additionally, rotating and flipping your mattress can help distribute wear and tear more evenly.

What are some effective ways to remove pilling from a mattress?

One effective way to remove pilling from a mattress is to use a fabric shaver or lint remover to shave off the pills gently. Another option is to use a lint roller or tape to lift the pills from the surface.

Is pilling a sign that it’s time to replace my mattress?

While pilling can be a sign of wear and tear, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your mattress. If the pilling is minor and the mattress is still comfortable and supportive, you can try removing the pills and using a mattress protector to extend its lifespan.


Pilling is a common issue that can make your mattress look worn and unsightly. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can successfully remove pilling and give your mattress a new lease on life. Remember to start by cleaning your mattress and then use a lint roller to remove loose pilling. If stubborn pills remain, a fabric shaver can effectively remove them. Additionally, gently brushing and vacuuming the mattress will help maintain its cleanliness and prevent future pilling. Prevention is crucial for minimizing pilling on your mattress.

Choosing the right bedding, washing it correctly, and rotating your mattress regularly can go a long way in preventing pilling from occurring in the first place. By following the details in this guide and implementing preventive measures, extend the lifespan of your mattress and experience a clean and comfortable sleeping surface for years to come.

Harrison Wall is Sleep Junkie’s business strategist and sleep analyst. He also authors posts on bedding and mattress accessories. Harrison regularly coordinates with new mattress companies and tests their products to determine what really helps you get better rest and have brighter mornings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *