Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), the major constituent of desizing water constituting 45% of the total BOD load has a significant environmental impact owing to its poor biodegradability. In order to prevent PVA from being discharged by the effluent stream, modern textile industries opt for membrane based separation techniques using ultrafiltration so that the recovery and recycle of PVA in tandem could be achieved. However, the process of ultrafiltration is still not widely accepted as expected due to the well-known non-idealities of concentration polarization and pore blockage. In this article, design and performance characterization of a lab-scale novel shear enhanced ultrafiltration unit, named as spinning basket membrane (SBM) module are discussed. The proposed module is unique in terms of its inbuilt cleaning facility eliminating the effects of polarization and subsequent periodic fouling leading to its uninterrupted production operation. The test fluid, necessarily a solution of PVA was treated in the proposed module under different parametric conditions with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membranes of two different molecular weight cut-off (50 and 100kDa). After 2h of continuous operation the permeate flux was observed to be within 95-97% of the respective initial fluxes. Such performance is rarely been attained in practice. Hence, the novelty of the present research is achieved. Considering the performance of the present module in terms of flux regeneration and product recovery, it may be regarded as an efficient device and can be potentially deployed for cleaning of other industrial wastewater. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.