Back Button

How to De-pill a Rug

Michelle Radcliff

Small, entangled fibers can form fuzzy pills on carpet surfaces. Tools such as scissors and beard trimmers can remove pilling fibers, or you might try a fabric shaver -- a tool designed to remove lint and pilling fibers.

Most fabric shavers are electric but you can find a manual shaver with three detachable blades designed for different fabric types.

Scissor Method

  1. Vacuum the rug to remove loose fibers and other debris. Raise the height of the vacuum’s beater bar if it noticeably slows down when contacting the rug.

  2. Start de-pilling in a corner unless the rug is round. Gently pull the pilling fibers on the rug upward using your thumb and index finger. Snip the fibers as close to the surface of the rug as possible, taking care not to pull excess fibers out of the rug’s fabric.

  3. Keep a trash bag or trashcan nearby to dispose of cut fibers as you go along. Work in small areas, starting in the corner and working your way horizontally or vertically in small rows until you finish the entire surface of the rug.

  4. Remove remaining loose fibers with a lint brush, lint roller or vacuum.

Trimmer Method

  1. Vacuum the rug to remove any loose debris that could clog the beard trimmer.

  2. Plug the trimmer into the nearest available outlet. Starting in the corner, run the trimmer over a small portion of the rug. Move slowly, frequently checking to make sure you are not damaging the rug. Frequently clean loose fibers from the edge of the trimmer to avoid clogging it. Shave in small rows, slightly overlapping the previous row as you work your way across the surface.

  3. Remove remaining loose fibers with a lint brush, lint roller or vacuum.

Fabric Shaver Method

  1. Vacuum the rug.

  2. Load the appropriate-size batteries into the fabric shaver or plug it into the nearest outlet if it comes with a power cord. Turn the shaver on and start in a corner, running the shaver over the surface of the rug. Use circular or back-and-forth movements, slightly overlapping the previous area. Work in small areas, going across or down the rug’s length.

  3. Check the collection chamber on the shaver periodically. Remove the plastic cover to empty the chamber in the trash when it starts to fill up with loose fibers. Use a lint brush, lint roller or vacuum to remove any remaining loose fibers after you have done the entire rug.


Another method for removing pills from fabric involves the use of a sweater stone. Holding the rug down with one hand, brush the stone across the surface of the fabric with the other hand.


Do not pull pills off with your fingers. This can cause more damage to the fabric.