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Gleener: A Review

Lately I’ve been hearing about the Gleener, a battery-free device designed to remove pills from knitting and knit fabric, on several podcasts. Everyone has raved about how it removes pills without pulling the knit fabric and doesn’t need batteries. I decided to give it a try by ordering from Amazon, where it is currently selling for $19.19.

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The Gleener comes with a handle and three interchangeable fuzz-removing heads for different knit fabric weights. I gathered a couple of my sweaters and some that REALLY needed rehabilitation – my toddler son’s sweaters that have been worn and dragged everywhere for a few years.

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The Gleener didn’t do too badly on my Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell. The thing that kills me is that I don’t know what the yarn is – I lost the band before ever knitting it. However, I suspect that it’s mostly cotton. It not only pills under the arms, but it also sheds, so it was great to get all that excess fluff OFF. For this, I’d call the Gleener a win.

Fuzz from the Lutea Lace Shouler Shell
Fuzz from the Lutea Lace Shouler Shell

However, the Gleener didn’t do so well with my son’s sweaters. Sure, it removed some fuzz… but the pills were still there, even with increasingly aggressive brushing. The only theory I’ve been able to develop is that these sweaters are made in tough-wearing superwash – the blue Fisherman’s Pullover is Cascade 220 Superwash, while the white Antler Cardigan is Lion Brand Wool-Ease. This means they last a long time – but it also means those pills aren’t going to let go.

Before on the right, after on the left
Before on the right, after on the left

So I pulled out the de-piller I already owned, which does use batteries and has a small whirring blade that shaves the fuzz. I think I bought it for $1 at Target several years ago. It was far superior. I still had to “scrub” the sweaters a bit, but I was able to get most of the fuzz off, as can be seen in this before-and-after shot of seed stitch.

After on the left, before on the right
After on the left, before on the right

Good thing, too, because my toddler is starting to outgrow these after wearing them for about two years, and I’d like to hand them down to the baby. As best as I can tell, this Lint Shaver from Knit Picks is the exact same design – and at $3.99, it’s much cheaper (and in my opinion, better) than the Gleener. Hope Amazon will take a return…

Lint Shaver
Lint Shaver

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