Removing Pet Hair from Furniture and Clothing

Man using lint roller

“The problem with cats and dogs is that they shed.” Shedding is a common complaint of people who prefer homes free of pet hair to the joys of having a pet. But do we have to choose?

To a point, yes. If you don’t want any pet hair in your home, don’t get a pet. However, we can reduce the problem of pet hair on furniture and clothing with these approaches:

  • Reduce the amount of pet hair that your cats and dogs shed
  • Choose fabrics that attract less pet hair
  • Remove pet hair from clothing and furniture
  • Accept some pet hair as a part of life

Reduce the amount of pet hair that your cats and dogs shed

Look for causes of pet hair loss. Pet hair loss is normal. Animals shed seasonally, and indoors animals may shed more because their systems can’t detect seasonal changes as well. Moreover, unexpected temperature swings may cause pet hair to shed and regrow more often.

However, some animals may have hair loss for reasons beyond seasonal changes. If your pet is shedding excessively, try changing his diet. If he’s under stress, try to alleviate his stress. Take him to your veterinarian to be checked for any medical causes of hair loss.

Brush your pet regularly. Daily brushing removes loose hair before it gets on you and throughout your home. Brushing also helps keep your pet’s coat healthier.

Bathe your dog. Bathing your dog also reduces loose hair.

Choose fabrics that attract less pet hair

For your furniture and wear-at-home clothing, consider fabrics that pet hair doesn’t stick to as well. Denim, for example, doesn’t attract pet hair as much as to some other fabrics. Pet hair is less likely to stick to some garments that have been washed a lot than to newer garments. Polyester, rayon, and nylon also attract less hair than some fabrics do.

Fabric furniture collects pet hair. Pet hair does not stick to leather furniture, however, and any pet hair that the animal sheds while on leather furniture can be easily brushed off. Suede furniture is also easier to remove pet hair from than fabric furniture is.

Protect your clothing and furniture

You want to spend quality time with your pets, but you don’t need your pets to spend quality time with your clothing. Keep your closet door closed, and be sure to put clothes away when you aren’t wearing them.

If you allow your pets on furniture, put a towel on their favorite place to sleep. Encourage them to use that spot and that spot only. You can remove the towel when you have company.

For cars, a pet car robe covers the back seat of the car, protects it from pet hair, adds comfort for your dog, and is easy to put on and take off.

Remove pet hair from clothing and furniture

A variety of techniques make pet hair removal easier:

Pet hair removal from clothing during laundry

If your dryer has a lint trap, it will catch a lot of pet hair while your clothing is in the dryer. To increase its effectiveness, use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer. Better yet, use liquid fabric softener during the wash cycle as well. But avoid using scented versions of both — the combined scent may be too strong.

To increase its effectiveness, empty the lint trap after every load.

Pet hair removal around the home

Lint brushes and lint rollers can be used to remove pet hair. So can masking or packing tape wrapped around your hand or rolled into a ball with the sticky side out. Rub it along the fabric grain.

Rubber gloves (particular those with ridges) and damp sponges also pick up pet hair fairly well.

Vacuum regularly, daily if necessary. Rub fabric furniture with a used fabric softener sheet before vacuuming to loosen the pet hair.

Accept some pet hair as a part of life

While we can do a lot to reduce the amount of pet hair that spreads through our homes, we can’t eliminate it completely. We can accept it as a small trade-off for the love and companionship that our pets give us.

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