Know Thy Enemy: Friction
Any fabric can pill—aka form patches of fuzz balls—as the fibers stretch and break as a result of friction. Clothes rub against themselves while you’re wearing them, and against other fabrics during the washing and drying process.
Once you recognize the enemy, you can start fighting the enemy.
Know Thy Friend: Fabric Conditioner
Downy Fabric Conditioner smoothes fabric fibers to limit the friction garments experience in the washing machine and dryer. Less friction means less pilling.
Some bonus tips: Wash clothes inside-out. Avoid powder detergents. Follow directions (find out how to read fabric care labels).
Know Thy Fabrics: Buying Tips
Synthetic fabrics—especially blends mixing multiple types of fibers—are more likely to result in pilling than are pure, natural fabrics, like wool and cotton.
Also, the looser the weave, the more prone the fabric will be to pilling, which is why you hear about "sweater fuzz" instead of "jeans fuzz."
Save the Shave
If you’re looking for solutions to salvage an already-pilled sweater, you can use a sweater shaver or sweater stone, but these “hacks” only treat the symptom and not the cause.
Downy Fabric Conditioner helps to prevent the damage in the first place.
Next, learn more about why your fabrics' colors fade.
Five Quick Tips to Help Prevent Clothes from Fading