this thing's incredible

The Made-for-Emergencies Lint Roller I Bring With Me Everywhere

I can whip it out anywhere.

There may be no more travel-unfriendly wardrobe accessory than the lint roller. As a kid who grew up with black pugs, the pets — famously good cuddlers, but notoriously bad shedders — were just terrible for clothes. While I no longer have pugs, these days, I have a black cat as well as a predilection for wearing white button-down shirts. It means I’ve been in need of dehairing my clothes for most of my life. While a lint roller is great for taking care of the situation while I’m at home, I never have one when I need it the most — out and about living my life.

I found the Flint Reusable Lint Roller online after I lost yet another generic one to my closet. Online, it looked a bit too precious, with its bite-size proportions and candy-colored packaging, but for ten bucks, I figured I could try it. The Flint is about one-inch thick, five-and-a-half inches long, and doesn’t have a handle, a welcome change from the standard bulky, paint-roller shape. Instead, it’s designed like a lipstick bullet, with the paper roll twisting out of the case, which comes in more than a dozen colors. Since the roller retracts into the case, the Japan-made paper stays a little stickier, and the case can be refilled when the paper gets used up.

The Flint might not be the strongest lint roller out there (a Scotch-Brite works better for a cat-hair catastrophe), but it solves the biggest problem with lint rollers, which is that you never have it when you need it. Who throws a half-sticky lint roller into a purse (or, for that matter, wants to be seen with one)? Because the Flint is about the size and weight of a portable phone charger, I can use it without incident just about anywhere. I take it to important meetings or interviews just in case I’ve missed anything embarrassing. I can whip it out on the subway as easily (and discreetly) as popping a mint. Sometimes, I even forget that I have it. Just this weekend, on the way to a wedding, I realized I’d accidentally left it in my purse and happily took a few swipes at my shirt before going inside. It’s the best lint roller simply for being always on call.

Writer Hilary Reid tipped us off to the magic of a giant lint roller for cleaning upholstered surfaces: “Unlike a Swiffer that just pushes dust and hair around, the Mega Surface Roller is the only tool I’ve ever used — better than a powerful vacuum even — that’s up to the task of that much hair removal. Even if you don’t have long hair, the Mega Surface Roller is still invaluable for how it banishes that stubborn layer of small particles and grit that somehow always remains after vacuuming.”

Writer Rima Suqi alerted us to the only cleaning supply you might be able to give as a gift: “This particular style is made of oiled beechwood and horsehair, which not only look great, but function splendidly for dusting off a keyboard, cleaning up a kitchen counter, or sweeping up the odd spill of Cheerios or planter dirt. I’d estimate that since that first purchase, I’ve given this brush to at least 20 friends. Recently, a friend was in town (he’s the studio director for Heath Ceramics), saw the brush on my counter, and went nuts. So I gave it to him, too. Everybody loves it, probably because it is unexpectedly functional, but also because it’s a stylish design with just a touch of whimsy — it makes people smile. Imagine saying that about a broom.”

Another on-the-go clothes cleaner, recommended by writer Maxine Builder: “Immediately after a stain happens, I rub the product onto the spot and the fabric, and let it sit for as long as possible. Before I go to sleep, I’ll wash the product out in the sink with cold water, wring it out, and let it dry. When I wake up, the stain has lifted and the clothing is ready to wear again, with no one the wiser.”

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The Made-for-Emergencies Lint Roller I Bring Everywhere