Like your favorite sweaters, fabric sofas are prone to pilling. Pills – also known as lint balls, fuzzballs or bobbles – are the unsightly bits of fabric that develop on textiles after regular use. Fabric defuzzers are effectively pill shavers, as in they literally shave off pills. And while they're usually marketed for use on clothing, they work just as well for refreshing a sofa that's seen better days.
After a couple years of owning a Burrow sofa, I noticed the cushions began to pill. While it was hard to see the pilling on my dark gray sofa, I could definitely feel it. Cushions, once smooth and silky, became rougher against the skin. Then I bought the $12 Conair Fabric Defuzzer and gave my beloved sofa a much-needed shave.
The tiny device, which runs on two AA batteries, features three shave settings for different fabric types. I opted for the closest shave because, like my facial hair, I wanted my sofa to be clean shaven. Running the Fabric Defuzzer over the sofa is like using a rotary shaver; I ran the device in circular motions, listening to the pills being shaved before moving to the next section. For a three-seat sofa, it took about five minutes to complete the process. The shaved pills were trapped in a translucent case behind the shave head, and it was packed full by the end. My sofa regained the sheen it once had, and it was noticeably smoother.
As of publishing, my sofa is pill-free. Rather than letting the Fabric Defuzzer collect dust, I've been using it to shave my sweaters, which have developed gnarly patches of pilling. A $12 purchase for a $1,400 sofa (among other things)? Not a bad investment.