Get Rid of Pet Hair for Good!

215603

Do you have a Dogenstein or a Catzilla?

It can certainly feel like you’re battling a super-villain when it comes to pet hair—get rid of it, and it seems like mere moments later there’s twice as much as before. If you’re going to rescue the city—I mean, your home—here are, paws down, the best ways to manage pet hair.

First up, floors!

To some degree, every pet owner has to make peace with the fact that there will simply be some pet hair. Likewise, you’ve probably already accepted that you have regular vacuuming to do to get rid of it. But here are some ways to reduce your labor on the floors.

Hard floor surfaces

Instead of a vacuum, switch to an electrostatic dust mop for hard floors, at least for a first pass. Vacuum exhausts can send hair flying around back onto surfaces, defeating the whole purpose of vacuuming. Even the action of a broom can send hair flying.  Instead, something like a Swiffer will actually catch the hair in its place. You can even switch out the disposable wipes with a microfiber cloth, which also has that essential electrostatic charge. (I like this option since you can reuse the cloth several times, and it gets laundered instead of tossed.)

Carpeted floors and area rugs

Before vacuuming, dust baking soda over the carpets (no surprise coming from me, right?). This helps loosen the hair and also deodorizes at the same time (double win!).

You can also use a dry rubber squeegee or rubber broom to lift up any pet hair from carpets. It might freak you out slightly and cause slight rage at your vacuum (why is it missing so much?!), but man, does it ever work. Just “rake” an area with the tool in short, fast strokes and you’ll 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. Put on a rubber glove, wet the pointer finger, then drag it across the area where the carpet meets the baseboard. (Insert shame face here.)

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!

You may have noticed that I’m going against my usual rule to clean a room from the top down—I don’t recommend touching your furniture until you’ve vacuumed or Swiffered/swept the floors first, or else hair will just fly around and re-settle, and you’ll be caught in a never-ending battle of you vs. rogue pet hair (I’ve been there—guess who wins?). For pet owners, my rule is to sandwich the cleaning of the rest of the room between two solid floor-vacuuming sessions (annoying, I know, but it really works)!

Furniture finishes such as wood, glass, laminate, etc.

To deal with pet hair on non-upholstered furniture, like wood, laminate, or glass, consider using a microfiber cloth lightly spritzed with just water. The electrostatic charge of microfiber will attract the hair, and the water helps make it slightly sticky. That’s really all you need to do—but 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.

Upholstered furniture

For hair on upholstery, you can of course use a vacuum or a lint roller, but you can also try this hack: Dampen a clean sponge, rubber glove, or rubber squeegee, then rub the item along the upholstery and watch the hair come up. You can also pick up a specialty product for this, like a Lilly Brush.

Blankets and pet beds

If your pet has a favorite hot spot on your furniture, place a washable blanket right on it, to prevent it from becoming fur-niture. We have blankets all over our sofa and ottoman, and when guests come over, we get rid of them. They really do help manage the hair.

Speaking of blankets, if you have a pet bed, wash it frequently to prevent odors. Just follow the instructions on the care label.

HVAC and ducts

Pet owners, get your air ducts cleaned as regularly as you can swing. 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 accumulated pet hair and dander.

Laundry time!

Of all the pet hair questions we get asked, this one has to be the biggest area of concern. Many of you still see pet hair on freshly cleaned clothes (happens to me too). Here’s the best trick I’ve learned to do away with pet hair on clean clothes: Loosen the pet hair up before washing, before the agitation of the machines actually weaves the hair more deeply into our duds, and we’ll have a good chance of getting rid of it.

Start by placing clothing in the dryer for 10 minutes on a heat-free, tumble-only cycle. This will help loosen the hair. 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 before placing into the dryer.  Dry using a regular tumbling cycle. 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!

Finally, pet grooming!

Remember, every hair you can manage to remove from your pet is one less hair you have to clean up.

Brushing

We have a Furminator and a few other similar brushes. Malee really, truly loves it and asks to be groomed often. Paislee on the other hand, feels it’s torture! So, we go easy on her. But oh boy, does that Furminator get rid of hair. Malee sheds less whenever I use it. The same tool is available for dogs, and the same concept applies. I highly recommend it.

When brushing, if you have a dog or outdoor cat and the weather permits, do it outside so that the hair can fly around out there and not inside your house. If you have to do it indoors, lay your pet on a towel while brushing to catch more hair.

Bathing

Yes, cats bathe themselves, but giving them a bath every now and then rids them of excess dander. Just be prepared for some cartoon-level resistance. Monthly bathing is best for dogs. Here’s a neat dog groomer’s secret I came across: if you want to get all the shedding undercoat out, 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 (be sure to cover his or her ears, and do not use the dryer on any sensitive parts!). Brush well after completely dry and then—wait for it—repeat the entire process! I know how it sounds. But if you do it twice, you’ll get rid of so much extra hair! If the thought of this overwhelms you, take your dog to a professional groomer and have them perform a special shedding treatment twice a year (which is basically what this is). This is especially helpful to do during shedding season (spring and fall).

Pet vacuum

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!)

I hope these tips enlighten you and give you hope for a pet hair-free home (at least, a much more pet hair-free home). It does take a few changes to your cleaning routine, but you will notice a big reduction in the volume of pet hair around the house. 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!!

get rid of pet hair pin

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

70 COMMENTS

  1. If you’re going to use vinegar in the washer, please only use half vinegar and half water mixture. Straight vinegar will eat the washers rubber seals.

  2. Use a squeegee that is long enough to push along the floor. The rubber will pull up the pet hair and make it easier to vacuum away.

  3. I so appreciate the article. Not even a furminator can get a handle on my siamese lynx point! The biggest fight we have around here is about the cat hair. I have a squeegee, and can’t ait to try it. I did find a great lint roller, but still. It comes out into the clean laundry, I’m going to try dryer balls.

    Thank you

    • I have a flame point Siamese and I’ve never had such a problem with cat hair with any other cat! She’s not a long-hair, but her coat is dense and fine–it’s a constant battle. I have to pet her very gingerly to avoid massive amounts of hair floating into the air. Love her to pieces, but it gets frustrating.

  4. I do use a SHARK vacuum every day. I don’t like the swifers, not throwing away those clothes or even cleaning a micro fiber clothe after. I empty the dust collector once for downstairs and once upstairs and wash the filters almost every other week. I vacuum his upstairs and downstairs bed every day and I dust with a microfiber cloth, brush the dog regularly and basically decide that a little pet hair would be great to have as our biggest problem in life. Love that doggie (Oscar the great!)

  5. I use an old scuba shoe. The kind that has a mesh top and a flexible rubber sole. It is great for hairy carpeted stairs, upholstery. It pulls the hair out. Just rub it in one direction and the hair will collect in a pile.No refills needed. A rubber glove is good, too.

  6. I started with my cats when babies , wiping them off with baby wipes twice a day. I never have trouble getting them wiped off. I use baking soda all the time when I clean up after them.

  7. I had a blanket to wash that we keep in the car for our dog. I put it in the dryer for about 15 minutes, no heat, tumble dry. When I took out the blanket and placed it in the washer, I checked the lint filter and voila…there was the dog hair. I washed the blanket and there was NO HAIR on it when I put it in the dryer. The lint filter was free of hair (only lint was on it) after the blanket was dry. I wiped out the washer and, unlike other times I’ve washed the blanket, the inside of the washer was clean!!!

    THANK YOU….THANK YOU for the suggestion. It worked so well. I’ll be sure to use it when I was the dog bed covers.

  8. Do you have any suggestions or product recommendations on how to wash pet blankets and bedding in the washing machine without clogging the washer and dryer up with tons of hair? I’ve seen bags for washing these items but it seems like the hair would just stay on the blankets inside a bag.

  9. Great video! Thank you! I have a yellow lab as my office dog (and black leather sofa), plus 4 cats at home (red leather sofa). I use the rubberized grid shelf liner as my “sweep” for pet hair. It also works well on fabric. I just cut a square of it off (15×15 or so) and keep several handy for a quick wipe-down. Also keep one in the car!

  10. Love your video! Thank you for the tips! I have a question. I have to pay each time I use the washer and dryer n my building, and the dryer is on a timer once you put the money in. Do you have suggestions for pretreating pet hair on laundry if you can’t use the dryer first?

  11. To make bathing a cat easier…place a harness on the cat with a leash and attach the leash to your tub. I have a bar over my soap dish I use. Tie it up tight enough to prevent cat from reaching edge of tub and voila! You can now use both hands and still have firm control over the cat. It has worked for me with all 4 of my cats. I rub them all over while I run a shower head over them (being careful to avoid their faces) and just watch the loose hair on their bodies rinse off. Less hair to begin with helps the problem in the long run!

  12. are there any safe fragrance free cat shampoos or cat wipes you’d recommend? many seem to have scents or essential oils which I’m not comfortable using.

    • Years ago I needed to bathe my cat once, since I shave them & didn’t want to waste money on a big bottle of harsh cat shampoo that I’d use once & throw on the shelf till it expired. I was told By a vet/vet tech friend to use just a tiny bit of mild unscented baby shampoo. You can just get a tiny travel size for that, or if you get bigger you can use on yourself/kids or to wash your delicates & unmentionables, so then it doesn’t just get shoved somewhere making clutter but a multipurpose shampoo. Made their coat soft & smell good. But you might want to double check with your vet on that, every vet & cat are different. It’s the only thing I use now when I need to bathe any of my 4 cats, & as far as I know there’s no essential oils or scents in it… 🙂

  13. I’d hesitate to use a standard lint roller to pick up hair (the kind with sticky tape). Yes, it’ll pick up the hair nicely but it leaves a sticky residue that just attracts more hair and dust. Using the rubber glove trick works best for me.

  14. Great ideas. Thank you! On tile and wooden floors you can ‘puff’ a light dusting of baby powder (do not breathe it in or allow pets to breathe it in). Once it settles – sweep. You will be astonished at the fur that is collected. Damp mop afterwards as the powder will make your floors slippery. I learned this trick (to sweep up those teeny stray human hairs) years ago when working at a hair salon.

  15. love the info and videos. keep coming back for more hints and tips. thank u for that. gotta a good one for you…i think…my white cat jack has been sleeping on my audi convertable canvas top for weeks. daughter got a new car. anyway, getting ready to sell the car so im cleaning it up. im gonna try the rubber technique, soon as iget a chance to buy one. any other suggestions? thx so much

  16. Baking soda does not loosen fur from carpet. To loosen fur, you need motion. Simple physics tells you that dusting carpet with a powder, even baking soda, does not cause the motion needed to loosen fur. Plus, powders, such as baking soda, can clog vacuums, thus reducing their power and longevity. (Although baking soda does, in fact, help to eliminate funky smells.) The long and short of it: Baking soda is NOT a hair loosener and it can reduce the productivity of your vacuum!

  17. Some good ideas I’d never heard. Here is one thing I do. My pets are friendly and cuddle. So I keep a couple of small blankets in places like sofas and bed. I put the blanket on guest or me like a bib and over lap then allow the pets to climb in the LSP and cuddle. Then have the blanket, not the guest, to clean.

  18. Wonderful information! Thank you. I am not able to afford the cleaning tools recommended, but your and your readers offered affordable solutions as will. TY TY

    • Melody, I am a home cleaner. I’ve found that throwing the sponges I use while I work in with my cleaning towels gets rid of the pet hair they’ve collected. Also, you can buy sponges very, very cheap at a dollar store. Since you don’t need the scrubby part, I usually find them in multipacks for less than a dollar.

  19. I’ve had great luck with my Bissell handheld pet hair vacuum for use on my furniture. Works wonderfully, and it’s only $25 on Amazon.

  20. Great tips and here are a few more. Vent filters stop the gunk from getting into and blowing out of vents, especially floor vents. Make your own dryer balls. Wipe your cat or dog with a used fabric softener to help decrease pet static and they smell good too. Adding a bit of oil to their food in the winter, they get dry skin too and it will help with sheading.

    • Great suggestions, except I wouldn’t use dryer sheets on pets or on furniture where they sleep or at all really. They are toxic. It’s easy to find info by googling.

  21. Loved your video!!! I have 4 cats and a German Shorthaired Pointer. I made the mistake of using my one vacuum just for cleaning my “cat room” the other day which I didn’t think was going to be so bad but then I realized that when I went to clean the vacuum out (it’s bag- less) it still smelled “horrible!” I have done everything to get rid of this smell. I don’t want to use it in any other room in the house, but I can’t use it in the cat room because it will make the room smell. Help Me!!!!

    • We sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming, as suggested in this post. I also mix with essential oil and mix with a fork to break up clumps. Whatever fragrance you like- lemon, tangerine, bergamot, anything. Vacuuming it up freshens the vacuum too.

    • Put some potpourri in the canister of bagless vacs or in the bag for vacuums with bags. It prevents smell build-up. Also, you can put a piece of cut up flea collar into either of the above mentioned items to kill fleas and their eggs when you vacuum, should they come into your home on your four-legged family members.

  22. Great information on the wash. I will definitely try it with my sweaters. Also the swifter is a great idea to use first. I have an upright shark it’s great with the pet hair attachments but what I did to solve some of the problem of flying hair was tape a thin cardboard to the underside at an angle and then to the side so it still vents well but doesn’t blow as much hair around. I also use a Casablanca duster. It’s a great first start for furniture and great for ceiling fans and blinds because the hair clings to it. I went through a few of these that matted with washing. I now clean the pet hair out with the hose of my vaccum. It removes hair, fuffs it back and it maintainseems it’s statc clinging properties.

  23. A raw egg a day in their food reduces pet hair fall out by half. Not an official study, just my observation. Their fur is shiny and healthy too. Just dont watch them eat it or you might not want to eat eggs anymore.

  24. Suuuuuper helpful read! I didn’t think about putting the blankets and clothes in the dryer first before the washer! My boyfriend and I are moving in together and these tips should help so much with managing the cat hair and he won’t notice it so much 😉

  25. I have been living in the dark age! I adopted 2 cats, one with long and beautiful hair, the other with very short blonde hair but they don’t come with cleaning instructions!!!! Thank you so much for this video I will do everything you recommend! I’m desperate for a cleeeeeeeeeaaaaan apartment! Again THANK YOU!

  26. I used to have trouble with my dogs hair (jackrussel whippet cross), he’s a short hair so moults regularly, and it’s stiff and hard so sticks in fabric well. I’m shocked people say in the comments they only vacuum weekly, I manage the hair by doing it daily, it’s only 20 minutes but worth it, I even do the dogs 3 beds (not that he uses any of them much), do mine daily, change sheets twice weekly, and find using a disposable glove is great on the sofa (it’s suede) but even better with a fine spray of fabreeze to dampen and neutralise odour. X

  27. LOVE THIS!! I comb my cat several times a day. I have found that “work gloves” they have rubber on the palms of the hand works great to pick up the hair everywhere. but he still has a ton of fur.

  28. weekly brushing of pets..outside. monthly bathing. daily sweeping (sometimes 2 times daily) light sweeping of entire house with a broom or stick vac. then a weekly thorough sweep/vac.

  29. I love these hair care tips. I found this website by asking Google if putting laundry in the dryer before washing helped remove pet hair, and it does! My tip for protecting a bed from pet hair, this works very well for me. I put my nice heirloom quilts on my bed, then I use a duvet that’s larger than my quilts so I get full coverage. I don’t put a blanket in the duvet, it acts like double sheet protection and I coordinate it with my bedding so my bed looks nice :). It’s lightweight (and works well in the summer when it’s hot), I can wash it in my front load washer as often as needed and my bed is clean and looks nice. I used to just use an old sheet but my bed just didn’t look nice when the rest of the room has a decor. I only use 100% cotton on my bed. Some people have left comments that 500 plus thread count cotton doesn’t release pet hair well (like on Amazon.com) but I haven’t had issues with that. I always shake my bedding before washing, of course. With a duvet cover it’s easy to change your decor, too. Oh, I have a golden retriever mix, a short hair doxie and a spaniel–lots of fur!

  30. very helpful tx..i would like a cover that can let air circulate for summer for my dog to wear. and help protect the car seats..any suggestions??

  31. I have an issue with the pet hair clinging to the head of my vacuum cleaner. How can I prevent that from happening. I seem to get more on the head of the vacuum than in the vacuum. PLEASE HELP!

  32. I love seeing comments about corgis.
    We have two (one of them is a fluffy) and our poor house is just caked with fur at all times! We have a baby arriving soon and all I can think about is her being covered in dog fur just like her parents. I love these two to pieces though. The anti-carpet comments make me laugh, we have hardwood and every single strand of fur shows up. Word of advice: avoid microfiber couches when you have shedders!

  33. I have a Black Lab/German shorthair mix- both breeds known *shedders*! I find a *completely* dry rubber glove gets hair off of EVERYTHING!! It doesn’t pick it up, but it gathers it and makes it able to be picked up. Awesome! And such a economical solution to!
    I also use an off brand of Furminator. I can’t stress how awesome that brush is! I got it from Walmart for $27. Best $27 I ever invested for my pets!!

  34. Great article. I’m so glad you mention the laundry which seems to be my biggest problem. Next big problem now is that I don’t have a clothes dryer.
    Do you have any other suggestions to keep the dog hair away from the washing? I’ll be having some visitors soon with a little baby and they are not used to pets so I’m really worried that a few too many black dog hairs might put them off. It really is awful pulling freshly washed clothes out of the machine to discover dog hair on them. Thank you.

  35. I know the furminator is suppose to work really nice but be careful cause the ends of the prongs can damage the dogs skin. The ShedMonster is nice cause there are no sharp prongs the ends have a curve to them so they don’t scratch the dogs skin.

  36. Under blankets and pet beds – you might want to edit – They are really prominent source of DOORS. Think that should be odors?

  37. I have a Corgi, definitely a Dogenstein when it comes to shedding. Luckily regular bathing, brushing and vacuuming help manage it indoors. My hair problem is in the car. Vacuuming just doesn’t quite do the job. The hairs stick to the seats and seems impossible to remove. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of hair in the car?

    • The baking soda trick works really well for the car, or you can get that carpet dust (which is basically bakind soda) and/or that ant static spray then vacuum. Then just use the upholstery tips above. I highly recommend a seat cover or a sheet though cause you protect your seats and they are way easier to take out and wash!

  38. We have a german shepherd – and if you know dogs you know how bad they shed…

    (1) Blow dry after giving the dog a bath – I go to a place that lets me wash my dog for $5, and it has a high powered blow dryer, more than brushing/washing/etc. – This is what gets rid of hair. (Probably not helpful for cats). It also means I don’t have to deal with that mess in my own house. Feeding your pet a good diet is also supposed to help reduce shedding (at least the ones caused my nutrient deficiencies) I also use shampoo/conditioner that is supposed to help shedding. I’m not sure how effective that is though.

    (2) Carpet ‘brush’, similar to things mentioned above, but it’s big and it really helps get the hair loose.

    (3) Yes, Furminator and pet vac. They are the best things ever. (particularly the pet vac. I love mine and I swear it makes my life better).

    (4) A portable garment brush. Like a lint roller, but without the waste. It works better with textured items (like wool) that tend to claim hair the worst. A little ineffective on silk and smooth cotton, but still better than nothing. ((Although I am super excited to try the pre-dryer trick… I hope that helps with making sure it at least comes out clean!))

    (5) Embracing the hair. Sometimes it’s there. Whatever.
    —–

    A trick I’d like to use – not having carpet. My mother has this luxury and her house takes minutes to clean of pet hair with a Corgi and two cats. Of course, while renting I don’t have this power.

  39. We have eleven cats (because we used to foster kittens) and one Corgi, a year round shedder. Hair makes me crazy! I’m going to try these examples right away. Thank you Melissa!

  40. This is your greatest post ever.
    I have two sweet inside dogs and one is a white Great Pyrenees. The Pry is a shedder. White hair seems to be everywhere. I use a squeegee, dampened often, to get hair from large area rugs. Works very well but is, and will remain, a daily chore. Will use a squeegee on the furniture today.
    The laundry portion was also quite helpful. I love to wear black and all I have to do is walk through a room and white hair jumps to my clothes. lol
    Thanks again for this episode. I love them all but wish I could get someone else to do the work for me. 😉 You are doing a wonderful service for your many followers.

    • Glad to hear that someone else is dealing with a Great Pyrenees. I love all of Melissa’s suggestions about dog grooming except doing the whole washing the dog twice process. I can only imagine trying to get my Pry in the bathtub twice in one day. Do you agree? lol

Tell us what YOU think!!