It works very well, but it is a little bit of a pain to get clean. Still worth it in my opinion.
yes I unload it once it fills up. To unload it you just hold the handle and pull. The bristles go up into the holder part and all the fat squeegees (sp?) out. You can also store it that way so it is nice and neat.
it is especially useful for defatting things like stews which are chunky and hard to use the skim method.
it can go in the dishwasher, but I find that food gets trapped in it so I still need to wash it by hand. I just fill up a bowl with soapy water and give it a good massage in that and that seems to work well enough.