How to Remove Dog and Cat Hair from Clothes and Upholstery

Don't Be as Furry as Your Pet

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If you have chosen a mammal for a pet, you're going to have pet hair in your home and on your clothes. Unless, of course, you have chosen to adopt a naked mole rat. And if you have, you have other issues; but back to the pet hair. I can usually identify a pet lover and the color of their pet by the hair clinging around the bottom of his or her trousers. Since I have a black lab mix, I wear a lot of black clothes!

The first step in removing pet hair from clothes is preventing excessive shedding from your pet. There is plenty of information available for cats and dogs on how to prevent shedding. You can also select breeds that are less prone to shedding.

As you know, no matter how diligent you are about grooming your pet; it is still going to shed. And, any clothes that have a texture (corduroy, loopy wools, suedes) or produce static cling (any man-made fibers) are going to attract the hair. But here are some ways to lessen your own fur ball look:

How to Reduce Pet Hair in Your Home

  • Vacuum your home and furniture often. Much of the pet hair on your clothes comes from the furniture.
  • Wash pet bedding often. After laundering, run an extra rinse cycle to be sure that your washer is free from pet hair. Check the washer after washing the bedding. If you see any pet hair in the drum, run a cleaning cycle to help flush it all away so it won't stick to the next load of laundry.
  • If you dry the pet bedding in a dryer, clean the lint filter in mid-cycle so that it can collect additional hair as the bedding finishes drying. If you don't clean a clogged filter, pet hair can redeposit on clothes.
  • For washable clothes or bedding that is covered with pet hair, run the items through the dryer on air/no heat first before washing them. The tumbling action of the dryer will loosen much of the hair and it will be sucked into the dryer lint trap. Be sure to clean out the lint trap immediately after taking this step to prevent odors and increase air flow.
  • Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle when washing loads with lots of pet hair. The vinegar will help the fabric fibers relax and "release" the hair.
  • When washing clothes, do not overcrowd the washer. The clothes need room to move freely in the water so that the hair can be loosened and flushed away down the drain.
  • Tossing the clothes in the dryer - even for a short time - will help remove hair more than air drying clothes. Keep all dryer vents clean and clear of lint so that there is enough strong air flow to pull the hair away from the fabrics.
  • The use of a liquid fabric softener in the final rinse or a dryer sheet in the dryer will coat the fibers of clothes and reduce static and pet hair cling.

How to Remove Pet Hair from Clothes

  • Using an anti-static spray like Static Guard on clothes will help loosen hair and make it easier to remove with a brush or lint roller.
  • Place the item in a clothes dryer with a couple of wet microfiber cloths (the lint will stick to the microfiber cloths) and tumble until slightly damp. Remove from dryer and use a clothes brush or sticky lint roller like the stylish Flint Lint Roller to remove the remaining lint.
  • If you have woolen clothes that are covered with hair, use a clothes steamer or even hang them in a steamy bathroom before using the clothes brush. The dampness will help the fibers release the pet hair making it easier to brush away.
  • A sticky clothes roller is often best for removing pet hair. If you don't have one (or can't find it), use some sturdy packing tape wrapped around your hand with the sticky side out. It works great!
  • If you don't have a lint roller or clothes brush, look under your kitchen sink for some dishwashing gloves. If you lightly dampen them and rub them over your clothes, the static they create and the texture of the palms will cause the stray hairs to cling to the gloves. Once they become covered with hair, give them a rinse and start again. 
  • Keep several clothes brushes or lint rollers handy for a quick clean up before leaving home.

Shop for Microfiber Cleaning Clothes on Amazon.com

Shop for Lint Brushes on Amazon.com

Shop for Lint Rollers on Amazon.com

How to Remove Pet Hair from Upholstery

For pet hair on upholstery, start by vacuuming with the upholstery tool on your vacuum.

Empty the vacuum cup or bag often to allow the vacuum to maintain as much suction as possible. Next, spray the fabric with an anti-static spray (Static Guard is a brand name). Brush the upholstery with a microfiber cloth or cellulose sponge. Finally, vacuum again and finish up with a sticky lint roller.