How to Control Pet Hair in Your Home

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Living with pets means wondering at some point how to control pet hair in your home. Sometimes, vacuuming alone doesn’t remove pet hair from the couch or carpet. Or you find yourself wondering how to get pet hair off of blankets and sheets because your bed is starting to look furry.

Here’s help.

Reducing Pet Hair in Your Home

As with most cleaning challenges, prevention goes a long way to making life easier. The same is true of trying to control pet hair in your home.

Groom your pets regularly. Yep, even cats. While your kitty may not enjoy a bath as your dog does, he’ll still appreciate a thorough brushing. Using a pet grooming glove removes excess hair, and most animals love the extra attention while you’re brushing them.

Give indoor cats a brushing door. When I installed one of these indoor cat holes in my bedroom door, two wonderful things happened. First, I stopped having to wake up several times a night to let my cats in or out of my room. Second, the brush bristles groomed them each time they used the door, so I had a lot less pet hair floating around.

Keep your HVAC maintained. Your heating and cooling system circulates air throughout your home. A dirty system circulates dirty air. So, use a HEPA filter to clean the air as it circulates — it will remove pet hair and other allergens, too. Also clean your own air ducts seasonally, so that clean air isn’t blowing through a dirty register.

How to Get Pet Hair off Furniture - White dog sitting on chair

Remove Pet Hair from Furniture

Sofas, easy chairs, and other upholstered furniture seem to grab onto pet hair and never let it go.

That’s largely due to the way gaps between woven fabric fibers open and close when we (or our pets) sit on it. When those gaps open, they grab onto pet hair and then, when they close, they close around the strands.

Keep this in mind when trying to get pet hair off of sofas and other upholstered furniture.

Vacuum Properly

  • Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. Its wide, flat surface creates excellent suction on soft surfaces.
  • Remove the cushions and vacuum beneath them first. Putting clean cushions in a hair-covered sofa or chair just gets your cushions dirty again. Take them off and vacuum the piece of furniture itself first, then work on the cushions.
  • Work slowly, in overlapping strokes, pressing down as you do. By pressing down, you’re opening the gaps in the woven fabric that I mentioned above. Working slowly gives the vacuum time to free the hair from those gaps.
  • Repeat at a 90-degree angle. Once you’ve vacuumed your sofa cushions from front to back, go over them again from side to side. This helps remove hairs caught in both the warp and the weft.
  • Flip the cushion and repeat. Once you’ve cleaned both surfaces, and around the sides, it’s ready to go back on the sofa.
  • Keep your vacuum maintained. A dirty vacuum doesn’t have strong suction, so be sure to clean your vacuum cleaner at least once a month.
Guinea pig and kitten on sofa

Get Rid of Pet Hair Without a Vacuum

Many pet owners cover sofas and chairs with throw blankets to keep pet hair off of their furniture, then whisk them away when company comes. That’s always an option, of course, but there are other steps you can take to get pet hair off of furniture between weekly vacuuming.

  • Drag a squeegee across cushions to lift away pet hair easily. It’s important to use a flexible one with soft rubber teeth that pull hair out of fabrics. Rinse it thoroughly after each use.
  • Run a lint roller across more delicate fabrics. The sticky kind will lift away hairs without damage.
  • Put on a rubber glove and run your hands over the cushion. Wet or dry, a rubber dishwashing glove works just like a squeegee to lift away pet hair. Tuck one under your sofa or chair cushions for easy daily cleanup.
Dogs snuggled on bed

Remove Pet Hair from Blankets and Sheets

Sure, you can tell Fido not to get on your bed, but he may very well jump on it the instant you leave the house. And cats? Well, they’ll sit anywhere they please, thank you very much.

Either way, you’ll wind up trying to get pet hair out of blankets and sheets, especially if you enjoy sharing your bed with your pets as I do. That’s not to say you’ve got to sleep in a fur-covered bed, though.

  • Switch to a washable, covered duvet. Bedspreads and comforters, like upholstered furniture, are made of woven material that grabs onto pet hair. Duvet covers don’t grab hair as tightly. Plus, they’re easier to launder. Have at least two covers so you’ve always got a clean one to put on the duvet while the other is in the wash.
  • Shake your bedding outside before laundering if you can. Giving your blankets and sheets a quick shake outside leaves less pet hair floating around in the water when you launder your bedding.
  • Don’t overcrowd the machine. Launder king-sized flat and fitted sheets separately, so there’s plenty of room in the machine. Queen- or full-sized sheet sets can be washed together, and you can wash two sets of twin sheets at the same time. Launder blankets of any size individually.
  • Select the highest water level and longest wash setting possible. The longer your bedding swirls in the washing machine, the more hair comes out. A higher water level means your bedding has more room to swirl, too.
  • Use a second rinse (or repeat). If you have multiple pets, or long-haired animals, set your machine for a second rinse or wash your sheets twice in a row. (You don’t have to add detergent the second time.) It’s amazing how much more pet hair comes out that second time.
  • Tumble dry, even if you line dry. Who doesn’t love the smell of sun-dried bedding? Even if you line-dry your sheets and blankets, though, you should still give them a few minutes in the dryer. The tumbling action dislodges additional pet hair that your dryer’s lint trap will catch.
  • Clean your laundry machines regularly. Wipe the inside of your washing machine, including all gaskets, at least once a week to remove biofilm and buildup. Empty your dryer’s lint filter after each load, and clean your dryer monthly to keep it working properly.
Fat orange cat on wood floor

Remove Pet Hair from Other Surfaces

Anyone who lives with pets knows their hair doesn’t just get on upholstered furniture and bedding. It sticks to your clothes. It skitters in clumps across the floor. It floats in the air. It collects in thick layers on greasy kitchen surfaces. It can be maddening, really. But you can keep it at least somewhat under control.

Get Pet Hair off of Clothes

The same tips for getting pet hair out of bedding apply to getting it out of your clothes, too: shake it outside if you can, don’t overcrowd the machine, use a long cycle and a high water level to lift away pet hair, and tumble dry for at least a few minutes.

To remove pet hair from clothes you’re wearing, go over them with a sticky lint roller or a damp rubber dishwashing glove. You might even want to keep one tucked in your purse or car, too.

Get Pet Hair off Carpeting

As with upholstered furniture, getting pet hair out of carpeting takes a bit more effort.

  • Vacuum thoroughly. Most people don’t vacuum properly, but it’s particularly important when you’ve got pets. Work slowly in overlapping sections then go over the room again at a right angle.
  • Pre-clean before you vacuum. For particularly stubborn areas (like the spot where your dog lays waiting for you to get home), use a flexible rubber squeegee to lift pet hair first, then vacuum.
  • Vacuum once a week per pet. So if you have two cats and a dog like I do, that means vacuuming three times per week. If you’re short on time — and who isn’t? — scheduling a robot vacuum to run daily works, too. (Here are the cleaning robots I use.)
  • Shampoo your carpets seasonally. You’ll remove pet hair along with odors and stains. Here’s how to steam clean carpets the right way.

Get Pet Hair off Hard Surfaces

Banish the feather duster if you’ve got pets. They just don’t do a good job holding onto pet hair, so you’ll only be moving it from one surface to another. To get rid of pet hair on walls, hard floors, or wood furniture, you need something that will grab the hair rather than just scattering it.

Dust ceilings and walls monthly. An extendable microfiber duster will pick up pet hair along with other debris that collects on these surfaces. Launder it after use.

Clean your window treatments seasonally. Giving your curtains a good shake and waiting 10 minutes before vacuuming will remove a lot of pet hair. For deeper cleaning, wash curtains each season. Clean your blinds every three months, too.

Use damp microfiber cloths to dust. A dry cloth just moves debris around, but a damp one holds onto it. Rinse your cloth often while cleaning, and launder it after use.

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2 Comments

  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!

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