Getting Rid of Pet Hair Around the House
If you have a dog or cat, you know the struggle of dealing with unwanted pet hair in unlikely places. Both dog hair removal and cat hair removal can seem like a never-ending battle. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you conquer the fur around the house.
Carpets and Upholstery
Use a rubber glove, like the kind you wear to wash dishes, for dog hair removal. Simply dampen it and rub your glove-clad palm over the surface of your furniture to wipe up the hair. This trick works just as well for cat hair removal, too. If you don't have a rubber glove, Apartment Therapy suggests lightly rubbing a damp sponge over your upholstery instead. This can also be used to remove excess hair from your pet's body. Using the rubber glove (or those specifically manufactured for pet hair removal) over your dog or cat's body and watch as the hair statically clings to the glove instead of your pet.
On carpets, try a broom with rubber bristles to loosen pet hair from carpet fibers and scrape them into a manageable pile. If you don't have this type of broom, a window squeegee can accomplish the same thing, says Bob Vila.
Tackle tough areas like your kitty's favorite lounging spots by going over them multiple times in different directions with a vacuum to help loosen deeply embedded cat hair. If you can invest in a high-end vacuum cleaner, look for one specially designed for homes with pets. These cleaners often include powerful attachments made specifically for cleaning pet hair out of carpets.
Spray a soft cloth with furniture polish or dusting spray before using it to wipe down furniture. The spray will not only help attract stray hair, but will also help reduce the static that attracts pet hair in the first place.
Another way to reduce static and prevent pet hair from sticking is to wipe down baseboards and other hard surfaces with dryer sheets. This can also work on upholstery. Just be sure to test a small area first since dryer sheets can leave behind a shiny film. For sweeping, use a microfiber mop, which tends to carry a static charge and is better at attracting and holding onto hair than a standard mop.
Robot vacuums have also become popular over the past couple of years. These can work on both hard and carpet surfaces. They tend to be more expensive than most traditional vacuums, and will only suffice for small amounts of shedding. However, they can be programmed to run on their own, cutting down on your time spent sweeping yourself.
Clothes and Bedding
For quick fixes, you can go over clothes or bedding with a sticky lint roller. If you're environmentally conscious, look for the kind that you can rinse and reuse. A velvet lint brush also works well and tends to handle upholstery better than the typical roller. You can also use the sticky side of masking or packing tape in a pinch to grab unwanted hairs.
If you have time, or if you're dealing with a lot of hair, it might be easier to simply place your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes. Toss in a dryer sheet or a set of reusable dryer balls to reduce static electricity and help loosen hair from the fabric. Pet hair will go to the lint trap and your fabric will come out hair-free.
Shedding & Your Pets
Regularly brush and groom your pets to capture shedding hair before it can become a problem in the first place. For dogs with thick undercoats, look for a brush or comb specifically made for grabbing this fur before it has a chance to work itself free from your dog's coat. Your cat might appreciate a grooming comb with deep tines that give her a back scratch while you brush. As a bonus, there will be fewer hairballs!
If your pet hates brushing, try a grooming glove that's specially made for grabbing loose hair. Wear it when you pet your dog or cat and they'll be none the wiser. You can even try using the brush attachment on your vacuum hose to brush the coat of your large or medium-size dog if he will tolerate it. You can gently use a small, hand-held vacuum on smaller dogs and cats — just don't apply the hose directly to your pet. It's also not a good idea to try this if the vacuum makes your pet scared or anxious. Be sure to reward your good boy or girl with a healthy pet treat and a cuddle when you're done.
Airborne Dog & Cat Hair Removal
Visible pet hair on clothes and surfaces isn't the only problem with shedding pets. Pet hair and dander also float in the air, which can exacerbate allergies and breathing problems. An air purifier can help clean the air of pet hair and dander, which in turn means there will be less of it settling on your floors and furniture. Look for one that takes a filter specifically made for pet dander, hair and other pet-related allergens. It's also a good idea to change your air filter on your HVAC unit regularly to help capture the unwanted pet debris.
A shedding dog or cat is usually normal, but check with your veterinarian if your pet suddenly starts shedding more than normal or develops bare patches. Excess shedding could be a sign of stress or another health problem.
As annoying and unsightly as pet hair can be, it's a small price to pay for the love and joy pets bring.
Jean Marie Bahaus