How to Control Pet Hair in Your Home

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A tired golden lab dog rests on a red woven carpet covered in pale dog fur.

Your pets are members of your family and like members of your family, they sometimes leave stuff everywhere: specifically, their hair. Dealing with pet hair on your furniture or in your bed can be a challenge. But with a few cleaning and pet hair removal tips, you can keep your home looking tidy even during shedding season.

Before You Begin

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, or want to control pet hair between vacuuming sessions, the following tips will help:

  • Drag a damp squeegee or rubber broom across cushions and carpeting to lift away pet hair. Or slip your hands into rubber dishwashing gloves and run them across surfaces to collect fur.
  • Run a lint brush or pet hair roller over cushions, bed covers, lampshades, and clothing.
  • Have two sets of pet-friendly washable throw covers for your furniture and bed, so you can have one in use while the other is in the wash.
  • Use washable throws in your car. They will keep car upholstery from collecting pet hair and protect leather car seats, too.

on furniture

Couches and other upholstered furniture seem to grab onto pet hair and never let it go. That’s because woven fabrics have gaps between the fibers that open and close. When we sit down, or our pets walk on the furniture, the gaps open and trap loose hairs or other debris. When we stand up, the gaps close and pull the strands deeper into the fabric. Keep this in mind when vacuuming pet hair on upholstery.

  1. Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to remove pet hair from furniture. Its wide, flat surface creates an excellent suction on soft furnishings.
  2. Work slowly, using overlapping strokes. Press down gently with your free hand to open the upholstery weave so your machine can remove stubborn fur. Do not push down with the vacuum’s attachment, or you will interfere with suction.
  3. Turn the cushion and repeat at a 90-degree angle. Working from two directions removes the most pet hair.
  4. Flip and repeat. Repeat the process on the other side.
  5. Vacuum the arms, back, and sides. Use the crevice tool on hard to reach gaps.

If you don’t have a vacuum, you may be able to launder your sofa’s cushion covers to get the pet hair off of them. Check the care label, either inside a cushion cover or under the sofa skirt for a W or WS, which means they’re washable.

Expert cleaning tips to control pet hair in your home on furniture, bedding, carpets, and floorsPin

On Bedding

Whether or not you share your bed with your furry friend, their hair can collect on your sheets and blankets. It’s important for pet owners to choose washable bedding and launder it weekly to keep fur and pet odors under control.

  1. Shake bedding outdoors before laundering. The more hair you can dislodge outside, the less winds up in your washer’s filter or dryer’s lint trap.
  2. Avoid overcrowding the washer.  Laundry needs room to swirl to release cat and dog hair.
  3. Select the highest water level and longest wash setting possible. If you have several pets or long-haired ones, consider a second rinse to remove even more fur.
  4. Skip the fabric softener. Liquid softeners work by coating fabrics to make them feel softer, but this coating also traps fur. To soften bedding, use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead.
  5. Tumble dry if possible. The dryer’s tumbling action helps blankets and other bedding dislodge pet hair. Swap wool dryer balls for your dryer sheet to collect even more fur.

See my favorite pet hair removal products and tools.

On Carpeting and Floors

In homes with pets, clean floors wall-to-wall twice weekly and go over high-traffic areas every day. Using a robot vacuum for carpets or a dust mop on hard floors can reduce the amount of work involved.

  • Vacuum carpets and rugs in two directions weekly. To remove the most pet hair, vacuum properly across the room in slow, overlapping strokes. Then, turn and repeat the process at a 90-degree angle.
  • Dust and mop hard floors the same day. Any time you plan to mop hard floors, make sure to first dust or vacuum them to remove hair and other debris.
  • Clean the floor’s edges. For both carpet and hard flooring, use your vacuum’s crevice attachment to clean the gap at the base of walls.
  • Shampoo carpets twice a year. To extract stubborn pet hair along with pet odors, shampoo or steam clean carpeting properly twice a year when the weather is warm enough to open windows and aid drying.

More Pet Hair Removal Tips

  • Regular grooming is the best way to keep your pet’s fur off of your furnishings. Use a deshedding brush or slicker brush to reach the undercoat. Try to do this outdoors to reduce how much loose hair winds up in your home.
  • Some vacuums do a better job than others removing pet hair. Look for a vacuum with at least 100 air watts (AW) or 1500-2000 Pascals (Pa).
  • Regular vacuum cleaner maintenance should include emptying the bin or bag and changing the HEPA filter to ensure maximum suction.
  • Air purifiers with HEPA filters trap dust and pet hair so it doesn’t float around in your home’s air.

Ready to learn my 5 best cleaning secrets?

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  1. I have two cats who retired with us and one is called Fluffy for a good reason! To get cat hair off easy (especially for people like me who have arthritis) put clothes, blankets or whatever in the dryer (don’t overload) add a new dryer sheet on the top and also on the bottom, run for 20 minutes and you’d be amazed at the hair that ends up in the lint catcher. I keep used dryer sheets in a jar or box and use these to clean the lint trap. Then wash per normal.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Sue,
      Thanks for a great tip!