The Fleece Blanket Shedding & Pilling Test
When you’re shopping for a fleece blanket in a retail store, follow these three simple steps to determine whether you're looking at a quality blanket that won't shed or pill.
1. Hold the fleece blanket in the palm of one hand
2. Use the palm of your other hand to rub the fabric in a circular motion with medium to heavy pressure, for about ten seconds.
3. Remove the hand that is rubbing the fabric and inspect the fabric (and your hand) for small pill-balls or shedding fibers.
If the fabric develops small balls of lint with minimal agitation it'll surely shed and pill after minimal wear. Additionally, with your thumb and forefinger, very gently pull at the fleece fibers. If they easily release into your hand, that's also a sign that the blanket hasn't been properly brushed or sheared.
If however, the blanket fabric looks the same after rubbing in a circular motion or if no loose fibers release into your hand, that's a sign of a better quality construction and blanket finishing technique and you're more likely to have many years of use.
What to look out for: Be sure to perform the fleece blanket shed and pill test on both sides of the blanket. Most fleece blanket companies shear just one side of the fabric so they look soft, and then merchandise the blankets with the soft and plush side facing outward, through the packaging.
Try the fleece blanket quality test next time you’re out shopping, and when you're ready for a quality blanket that lasts a lifetime, try an American Blanket fleece blanket. Exceptional blankets of quality, comfort and value; guaranteed not to shed or pill.
Why Fleece Blankets Shed & How to Prevent Shedding
While there are multiple reasons fleece can shed or pill (including the quality of the fleece fabric itself), the primary reasons have to do with two important and often overlooked steps in the fleece blanket business: Brushing and Shearing.
The brushing process is the first process in converting a base fleece fabric into a plush, soft, pile fabric. The base fleece fabric is passed through a series of small cylinders with tiny metal bristles on them. The fabric passes over and under these bristles and the brushing process pulls up the small loops on the fabric without breaking down the core of the fabric. After the brushing process is completed there a millions of single yarn strands standing vertical on the base fabric.
The shearing process is considered to be the most critical aspect of creating the non-shedding, pill-free finish of a quality fleece blanket. The number of passes and the height of the finish cut determines how your blanket stands up, or breaks down, over time. In order to produce a more durable finish for a fleece blanket, this process must be repeated over and over again; with each pass the cutting height is reduced.
If the shearing is completed quickly, in one or two passes (often the case with mass market blankets), numerous fibers that have not been cut evenly tend to join together with other longer fibers. The loose fibers eventually twist together causing a pill ball that is held on by a stronger anchor fiber. This anchor fiber eventually breaks down, dropping the pill, but polyester yarns are the most durable so it’s a long process that eventually requires a shaving mechanism to shear the pills from the fabric.
When purchasing plush fleece blankets, look for a smooth, low pile finish or a smooth finish that has all single yarn strands standing vertical. Try to avoid long fibers that are laying flat or fabrics where you can’t see the individual fibers—these blankets tend to shed and pill over time.
The secret to having a blanket that won't shed or pill is simply to buy a fleece blanket that won't shed or pill. Obsessive brushing and shearing drastically affects the no-shed, no-pill finish of a fleece blanket. We’re obsessive and drastic when it comes to quality.
Shop Non-Shedding Fleece Blankets.