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 Foor 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 & 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)!
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.
For hair on upholstery, you can, of course,e 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 & 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 & 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.
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.
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.
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).
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!) and clean as you go.
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.