I recently wrote about using U-Haul pads under fleece for guinea pig cages. Today I'm writing about how I prepare the fleece for washing.
Many people just shake out the fleece and throw it in the washer. However, we had a bad experience several years ago with a clogged washing machine. I'm not sure if guinea pig fur was the culprit, or if it was from years of accumulated lint before us. Either way, I decided to play it safe and try to get as much hair out of the fleece as possible. I've used a variety of brushes and sticky tape over the years and have found a few favorites. My current brushes are wearing out, I am trying a couple of new items as replacements.
My current favorite is the purple glove called the Love Glove. I bought it on Amazon for around $6. This one is about a year old, nearly worn smooth. Not only do I use it for prepping fleece for the wash, it's great for sweeping out the cage every day. It does a decent job removing hair and pieces of hay. My only complaint is that it's right-handed only.
Next to it is just a regular nail brush. You can find these almost anywhere for $1-$3. Cheap! It's not bad at removing hair, although not as good as the glove. Can be used in either hand and is comfortable to hold, which is a plus. This one is fairly large for a nail brush, but is still much smaller than either of the gloves, which means more brushing to cover the same amount of surface area. Regardless, I've had this one for years (it's outlasted several gloves) and it still gets some use.
I recently bought the blue/grey glove as a replacement for the purple one, the Furbuster 3-in-1 Dog Grooming Glove (just under $8 on Amazon). So far, I'm liking it. I can use it with either hand. It has rubber teeth on one side (as in the photo); the other is covered with lint-brush material. The only real downside to it - the teeth are too close together, so it's almost too grippy. I think it would actually work better on the fleece if it wasn't so dense. I suspect as it wears down, it will work better. So we'll see how it does in another six months or so.
Since I was trying new stuff, I purchased the Pet Hair Lifter sponge (under $7 on Amazon) as well. It's a sponge. The darn thing actually works, which kind of surprised me. I'm still figuring out how to best hold it - if I press down too hard it sticks to the fleece and jumps out of my hand. Since I brush my fleece outside on the deck, I'm forever retrieving it from over the railing. It's not as comfortable to use as the gloves, either. It can be used in either hand, which is nice. I find it works best on the cotton portion of the cozies and tunnels, rather than the fleece. Overall, I'm not thrilled with it, considering it's about the same price as the gloves.
Once the fleece and cozies are brushed off, they're ready to hit the washer. Everyone is happy with clean pig laundry.