by Nancy Kerns
The last time we reviewed dog hair removing tools, I missed out. I bought the products, photographed them, and sent them off to Pat Miller, our training editor and regular product reviewer. I ended up with only one tool, a duplicate that I ordered accidentally.
Well, the Millers needed them more than me, I suppose; at the time, Pat and her husband owned four dogs and two cats. I had only one dog and one cat. But I wear black a lot, and my dog had a lot of white in his coat. So I used the heck out of that tool – pretty much wore out the stickiness. And now I’ve got a little yellow and white dog, who has to be picked up and cuddled, dozens of times a day. It was way past time to review hair removers again – only this time, I didn’t let them out of my sight.
It’s been fun, hugging my little dog with impunity, since I’ve got hair removers all over my house and in my car.
A few of the 10 products I tested are tape-rollers; you roll them over fabric until the tape is no longer adhesive; then you pick off the outermost sheet, discard, and begin again. A few use an electrostatic charge to attract loose hair from your clothes or upholstery; then you pull the collected hair off and dispose of it. One uses a “one-way” fabric, so if you brush your clothes in one direction, it wipes lint and hair off (and if you inadvertently wipe the wrong way, you load your outfit with even more hair and lint). The last one, my personal favorite, uses a bizarre sticky substance that securely picks up hair, and can be rinsed off under a tap to start over, good as new.
Looking back over the comments made by Miller in her review of some of the same and some similar products a few years ago, I realized that this is one of the instances when it’s impossible to be completely objective; our regard for products that work almost equally well depends on our personal needs and preferences. Despite the different approaches to the task, most of these products excel at picking up hair (and lint and dirt and other dog-related debris); some are simply better suited to certain applications than others. I’ll take a shot at rating each product, but don’t hesitate to buy a lower-rated product if it is perfectly suited to your needs.
Note: I found these products offered for sale in many catalogs and pet supply stores. I’ve listed just two sources for them, outlets that sold the products for the lowest price – not including shipping. Include shipping costs when you compare prices between catalogs and local pet supply stores.
The Tacky Pick-Up, made by Classic Products, is my personal favorite hair and lint remover because of its effectiveness, economy, and longevity. It works well on any fabric, strongly attracting any loose hair and debris, but does not require the purchase of refills, like the tape-based rollers. Instead, the lint and hair rinses off the roller under a tap. Using this tool is more time- and labor-intensive than using a tape roller, because it is so effective; it picks up so much debris that completely cleaning a hair-covered coat or sweater, for instance, might require four or five rinses. But you don’t ever have to buy refills!
I’ve had one of these rollers for years, and the sticky material only recently quit rinsing clean, compromising its effectiveness. Unfortunately, in anticipation of the new products’ arrival, I threw it away. The package on the new model says that when the product becomes less effective, the roller can be cleaned with alcohol to restore its stick. D’oh!
Years ago we reviewed a similar product that utilized a sheet of plastic to cover the roller when not in use, and we found it quite difficult to tear the cover off the sticky material each time. Classic Products solved that problem by including a hard plastic case that covers but does not touch the tacky substance. We love it.
Here’s the only drawback: You have to be close to a faucet to use it for more than one pass over your outfit. That would do the trick if you had just a few stray hairs on you, but wouldn’t do at all if you were more liberally covered. So, I’d have to say this is my favorite at-home hair pick-up tool.
For removing hair from my clothes while I’m in my car, at the gym, or on a business trip, I’d carry one of the tape-based devices. It wouldn’t be cost-effective to use one of these tools all the time, but they are perfect for situations where you have to be hair- and lint-free (and there is no sink).
My favorite tape-based roller is Evercare’s Pet Hair Pic-Up. Its label boasts “37% stickier than the leading competitor.” I giggled at that claim – how could that possibly be verified? – until I grabbed both rolls with my bare hands. Well, gosh, the Evercare product is stickier than one competitor I compared it to, Hair Busters; I just don’t know if it’s “37%” stickier. I do know that it’s easier to remove hair-covered sheets from the Pet Hair Pic-Up than from Hair Busters. For these reasons, I’m giving the Evercare product a half-paw higher rating.
Refills for the Pet Care Pic-Up cost us $2.70 each; Hair Buster refills are $2.60. Each contained 60 sheets.
Evercare also makes the Large Surface Pet Hair Pic-Up, utilizing a similarly sticky tape on a 10-inch roller, perfect for cleaning the couch. It cost $10 with a short handle, or $14 for a kit with the short handle and a 50-inch extension handle. Refill rolls cost $5.50 for 25 sheets, or $7.50 for 50 sheets.
At this point I have to mention a new product, the Lint Card. This business card-sized packet encloses four business card-sized adhesive sheets that are clearly not intended for major hair removal, but are perfect for quick, final sweeps over your outfit, say, just before a job interview. The packet fits neatly in even the slimmest wallet or skirt pocket, and the sheets are easy to peel away and dispose. The small size of the product makes it uneconomical to use every day, but I’ve found it to be well worth the price to have a couple in my purse for outfit emergencies.
The Lint Card’s manufacturer sells directly to consumers, but is seeking retail outlets, so ask your local pet supply store to buy them in bulk and carry them for you for a break in the price.