Do you have a Dogenstein or a Catzilla?
Even the sweetest of pooches or kindest of kitties can quickly become Dogenstein and Catzilla when you’re dealing with pet hair. So, here are paws down, THE ways to manage pet hair from furniture to floors, laundry and of course, your pet itself.
First up, floors!
It’s no secret that if you have a pet, you make peace with the pet hair and accept how much vacuuming you’ve got to do. But, if you are smart you can actually reduce your own labour and here’s how.
Hard floor surfaces
Rather than using a vacuum, switch to an electrostatic dust mop for pet hair on hard floors, at least for a first pass. Vacuum exhausts can send hair flying around back onto surfaces, which isn’t helping anyone. Even the sweeping action of a broom can send hair flying. Something like a Swiffer will actually catch the hair in its place. You can even use a microfiber cloth on the bottom, so long as it’s got that electrostatic charge. I do like this option since you can re-use the cloth several times and it gets laundered instead of tossed.
Now, just my opinion here, if you are planning a reno, you may want to consider ditching carpets altogether, something I wish we’d do, in favour of hard floors which are notably easier to keep clean than carpets, plus, you don’t’ get the odour and dander issues that come along with carpet. And I’ve heard horror stories of folks ripping up their carpet and finding, uh, stuff…
Carpeted floors and area rugs
Before vacuuming, dust baking soda over the carpets (no surprise coming from me, right?). The baking soda loosens the hair from the carpet fibers and also helps deodorize at the same time (double win!). Also, here’s a great trick which will make a notable difference; vacuum one area of the carpet using three passes, forward, back and forward on an angle, to really cover off the space. You’ll be supposed at how much extra hair you get rid of!
You can also use a dry rubber squeegee or rubber broom to lift up any pet hair from carpets. It will freak you out slightly and may cause slight rage at your vacuum (why are you missing so much?!), but man, does it ever work. Just ‘rake’ an area with the tool in short, fast strokes and you’ll start to see hair peeling up off the carpet.
If your carpet corners and edges are darkened, it means you’ve got a hefty hair build up you need to deal with. Take a rubber glove, wet it and with your pointer finger, drag across the area where the carpet meets the baseboard. Insert shame face here.
And finally, if you’ve got the budget for it, get a robot vacuum. This machine doesn’t complain, it just vacuums all day and all night, on your command, managing pet hair so you don’t have to. Plus it totally amuses the pets.
Next up, furniture!
I don’t recommend touching your furniture with a ten foot pole until you’ve vacuumed or Swiffered/swept the floors first, or else hair will just re-settle and you’ll be caught in a never-ending battle of you vs. rogue pet hair (I’ve been there). You can vacuum again once the furniture has been cleaned. My rule is always sandwich the cleaning between two solid vacuums (annoying I know, but it really works)!
Furniture finishes such as wood, glass, laminate, etc.
Why buy anything with a nice design when your pet hair forms its own? To deal with the settling of hair on non-upholstered furniture, like wood, laminate or glass, consider using a microfiber cloth lightly spritzed with just water. The cloth has an electrostatic charge to it which will attract the hair and the water helps make it slightly sticky. Now, if you use too much water, it’ll be useless and leave wet trails of hair all over the place, which looks totally wrong. That’s really all you need to do – and be mindful of how ‘full’ of hair the cloth gets, and be prepared to change it often so that you don’t re-deposit hair all over the place.
For hair on upholstery, you can use a common household cleaning item to get rid of it very easily. I mean, of course you can use a vacuum or a lint roller, but we like to talk about hacks here at Clean My Space! You’re looking for something with a bit of friction, so a damp, clean sponge, a dampened rubber glove or a rubber squeegee will do the trick. Just rub the item along the upholstery and watch the hair come up. I prefer this method to lint rollers because it’s less wasteful and cheaper. You can also pick up a specialty product for this, like a Lilly Brush. I am always amused and impressed by how effective this method is, I especially love the squeegee.
Blankets and pet beds
If your pet has a favorite hot spot to hang out on, place a washable blanket on the furniture to cover it up. We have blankets all over our sofa and ottoman and when guests come over we get rid of them. But they really do help manage the hair.
Speaking of blankets, if you have a pet bed, wash it frequently. They are really prominent sources of doors. Just follow the instructions on the care label, they vary from each manufacturer.
HVAC and ducts
And I guess this is kind of furniture related, get your air ducts cleaned annually if you can swing it. Hair and dander settle there and can get re-circulated, meaning more hair to clean for you. Same goes for your furnace filter, change it frequently to help rid the house of pet hair and dander.
So of all the pet hair questions we get asked, this one has to be the biggest area of concern. Despite washing clothes, many of you still see pet hair on freshly cleaned clothes (and yes, happens to me too). So here’s the best fighting chance you have to do away with pet hair on your clean clothes. I’ve tried it and I LOVE it – it works so well! Like, big difference!
Now just think about clothes for one sec: they are staticky and clingy. Think about pet hair, it’s fine, sharp and gets woven into fabrics. If we can loosen them up before washing and after washing, we have a good chance of getting rid of it.
The hair-free laundry pre-treating secret
Start by pre-treating your load of clothing by placing them in the dryer for 10 minutes on a heat-free, tumble-only cycle. This will help loosen the hair soften the fabric which helps get rid hair in preparation for your wash, and the best part is your lint trap can deal with anything remaining. Remember to empty your dryer vent. Smart, right?!
Now, shake each garment out before placing in the washing machine to rid it of any extra hair and wash as you normally would. You can even add in ½ cup of white vinegar which will help the fabric fibers relax and of course, loosen any extra hair.
Once the wash is done, shake each garment out, again, again before placing into the dryer. Dry using a regular cycle and ensure you get tumbling in there.
Now, dryer sheets can help reduce static cling, which helps break the bond between remaining hair and clothing. You can also use dryer balls, I use as many as I can find per load!
Now you should find your laundry comes out significantly more hair-free than before.
And finally, pet grooming!
Remember, every hair you can manage to remove from your pet is one less hair you have to clean up. That’s a good mantra! So, brush your pet as often as healthy for them, and bathe them where possible (as in, if you have a cat good luck with that). Now, I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about giving a dog a bath or grooming one since I don’t have one and I am not a cat bath master either, but I researched the heck out of it and have my best ideas below. So keep reading!
We have a Furminator and a few other similar style brushes. Malee really, truly loves this and asks to be groomed often. Paislee on the other hand, well, she feels it’s torture! So, we go easy on her but Malee gets a lot of grooming time. I love it of course because it’s bonding time and I love seeing her roll around and purr…and boy oh boy does that Furminator get rid of hair. In fact, I first learned about it via my cousin Dory, who is a vet. She recommended this and I am so glad she did. It helps brush out the undercoat and gets rid of hair that the cat would otherwise shed. Malee sheds less whenever I do this treatment, which is about once a week. The same tool is available for dogs, and the same concept applies. I highly recommend this.
When brushing, if you have a dog or outdoor cat and the weather permits, do it outside so that the hair can fly around the ether and not inside your house. If you have to do it indoors, have a towel and lay your pet on the towel when brushing, that way you avoid the hair getting on the floor and the terry fabric will trap more hair.
So with my cats, I’m more likely to get struck by lightning and win the lottery on the same day than I would be giving them a bath. Yes, cats bathe themselves, but every now and then it would be nice to get rid of some of that dander. Now for dogs, f you can swing it, monthly bathing is best. Here’s a neat dog groomer’s secret I came across: if you want to get all the shedding undercoat out when you bathe your dog, here’s what to do. Start by brushing the dog, then shampoo twice and use conditioner. Rinse really well each time to get rid of clumps of hair. Finish off by drying the dog, being sure to cover his or her ears and not use the dryer on any sensitive parts. Brush well after completely dry and then, repeat the entire process! Yes, if you do it twice you’ll get rid of so much extra hair and apparently this yields exceptional results. If you can find a professional pet dryer, like what’d you get at a DIY bathing space offered at some car washes, you’ll be able to dry the dog well too. Or, you can take your pet to a professional groomer and have them perform a special shedding treatment on your dog twice a year (which is basically what this is). This is especially helpful to do during sheeting season (spring and fall).
Dyson makes an animal hair attachment called the Groom Tool. Essentially, you can vacuum your pet, if they’ll let you. Mine sure won’t. In fact, the vacuum cleaner is probably a key source of their kitty nightmares. That said, some pets don’t mind the vacuum and if you have one of those, this apparently works well.
So I hope that enlightens you somewhat and gives you hope for a pet hair-free home. Yes, it takes a few changes to your cleaning routines, but you will notice a big difference in volume of pet hair around the house. And when in doubt, you can always grab your trusty lint roller.
What do you do to manage pet hair?
Let me know in the comments below!!