Part of our philosophy at Improvised Life is to TRY THINGS OUT, whether it be ideas we have, or products we see. We test them on ourselves, in our own lives, to see if they will work. Our most recent test was a products we’d be waiting for for years: a safe way to remove fuzz balls and pills from fabrics, especially fine knits. We found it in The Gleener Fuzz Removal Kit, which was designed by a woman like ourselves, who spent years figuring out a solution to a common, irksome problem:

For Kim Cole, the moment came when she was seven months pregnant and obsessed with the clingy fuzz balls, or pills, that had formed on her favorite sweater. She tried a sweater shaver but was disappointed by the hole it created, so she started developing her own de-pilling device. Eight years later, Kim’s fuzz ball fixation paid off with the launch of Gleener.


Here’s more about Cole’s 8-year development process and a demo of Gleaner at work (that starts at about 1:28). (Video link HERE).

We admire Cole’s thinking and determination. Truth be told, our hacks and rigs for defuzzing knits never worked well. They included a plastic razor, a pumice stone, two primitive iterations of what Cole invented (we just unearthed them in a forgotten drawer), not to mention battery-powered defuzzers that chewed holes in our clothes.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

The Gleener comes with three detachable blades, geared for the type of fabric you want to depill from fine knits to bulky sweaters. We first tested the Gleener on a delicate, expensive knit and used blade 3. We figured an ironing board would be the best surface to place the fabric flat. It took us a few minutes to get the hang of the gleaner: how to hold the fabric and rake the tool across it (as though you were raking leaves) to gather up the fuzz balls. As fuzz balls piled up on the sweater and the blade, we blotted them up with the link collector at the opposite end. And we cleaned THAT by running a fine tooth comb across it. The Gleener Fuzz Removal Kit is thoughtfully designed, with good directions. It really did restore our sweater to new, without holes. It takes a bit of time, so we did it while listening to podcasts of The Moth.  We recommend it, and will stock it in our coming-soon, only-things-we’ve-tested-and-love store. gleener sweater defuzzer with blades

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