The Right Way to Remove Pet Hair From Clothes, Furniture, Bedding, and More

Plus, learn the key to minimizing your pet's shedding in the first place.

There's a lot we're willing to do for our pets, from upping our spending habits to making them personalized toys. But there's one thing every pet owner could surely go without: all that pet hair. Whether you're constantly spotting it on your clothes or finding yourself covered in it after sitting on your couch, anyone with a furry four-legged friend knows the struggle of cleaning up their hair.

If you also live with someone with allergies, dealing with pet hair can be more than just a slight nuisance, since the fur can cause flare-ups. Fortunately, there are a few ways to minimize the buildup of your pet's daily shedding. We tapped cleaning and home experts to share their best tips and tricks for removing pet hair from any surface.

grey cat asleep on sofa

Rugs and Carpets

When it comes to rugs and carpets, vacuuming is your most effective tool in your fight against pet hair, says Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute. "Vacuum cleaners can remove dirt and grit particles which get ground in with every footstep (or pawprint), weakening the fibers of your carpet," he says.

But to really get your carpet fur- and dander-free, vacuum rugs and carpets weekly—and then go over your work with a specialized brush, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations of Two Maids. "After vacuuming, you can roll [carpets] with a lint roller or pet hair-specific cleaning brush every one or two days, depending on how many pets you have and how intensely they shed," she says.

Deep Clean Your Rugs and Carpets

Giving rugs and carpets a deep clean a few times a year will eliminate any stubborn pet hair buildup, especially in areas that are highly trafficked by your four-legged friends, says Sansoni. Consider hiring an expert or renting a steam cleaner—just be sure to vacuum and pre-treat any stains before you steam clean. "Once you're done, try to get the carpet dry as quickly as possible," says Sansoni, who also recommends turning on any fans and opening windows to help get the moisture out.

Hardwood, Vinyl, or Tile Flooring

When it comes to pet hair, hardwood, vinyl, or tile flooring are much easier to maintain.

Materials You'll Need

  • Vacuum or microfiber mop
  • Household cleaning solution

Follow these expert-approved tips to rid these floor types of pet hair:

  1. Vacuum or dust your floors with a microfiber mop, says Leah Bradley, senior brand manager at Bona. Start on the edges of the room and sweep or wipe your way towards the center.
  2. "For stairways, begin at the top stair and wipe pet hair out of the corners, repositioning your wipe as you work your way down so a clean portion is ready to grab more pet hair, dust, and allergens," says Sansoni.
  3. For stuck-on pet hair, apply a pet-safe, water-based cleaning solution to your floor and mop it up.
dog in bed
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Bedding, Linens, and Towels

You can use a rubber glove to remove pet hair from bedding, linens, and towels, says Sansoni—it's his go-to trick. Dampen it with water and run your hand over the sheet or blanket. "The hair will cling to the glove and you can more easily gather the hair and throw it away," he says.

From there, launder the items. "Run them through a 10-minute no-heat dryer cycle to loosen pet hair, which often winds up in the lint trap," says Sansoni. "Throw in a dryer sheet, too, because any static buildup can keep hair bonded to the fabric." Take items out of the dryer, shake off any remaining pet hair (preferably outside), and then toss them into your washer to be thoroughly cleaned.


When it comes to clothing, lint roller will be your biggest lifesaver—especially if your clothes are constantly covered in your pet's fur and you need a solution fast. You can also run them through a wash cycle if you have the time (but you'll want to hit them with heat first!) or use a hand-held steamer.

Lint Roller

When using a lint roller to remove pet hair from clothing, always make sure the roller is clean, says Rechelle Balanzat, a laundry and dry cleaning expert and the founder of Juliette, a premium laundry cleaning service based in New York City. From there, lay the fabric on an even, smooth surface. "Roll the lint roller up and down your clothing until the pet hair is completely gone," she says.

Use a Washing Machine and Dryer

Similar to bedding, linens, and towels, you can also use your washer and dryer to get rid of pet hair, says Balanzat.

Materials You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Pet hair removal dryer sheets

Follow Balanzat's steps to remove pet hair using these major household appliances:

  1. Make sure to clean the pet hair as best you can before putting the clothing in the dryer. Separate these garments from all other laundry.
  2. Place clothes in the dryer first for 10 minutes on a low heat setting to soften the fabric and loosen the hair.
  3. Move clothes into the washer. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the drum; this will help loosen the hair from your garments.
  4. Toss the clothes back in the dryer and consider adding pet hair removal dryer sheets, which also help reduce wrinkles and static.

Try a Steamer

As another option, pull out your hand-held steamer. This is ideal for delicate fabrics, as the added dampness will loosen the hair from clothing without damaging the material.

Countertops, Tables, and Other Hard Surfaces

Any dog or cat owner knows that pet hair can float—which is how it ends up on all kinds of unexpected surfaces, from coffee tables to countertops. Make sure to keep these clean, too.

Materials You'll Need

  • Dry cleaning brush
  • Paper towel
  • All-purpose cleaner

Here are Cohoon's tips to remove pet hair from these hard surfaces in your home:

  1. Use dry cleaning brush to sweep up or a vacuum attachment to suck up pet hair.
  2. Go over the area with a wet paper towel to catch any stray hairs.
  3. Clean area with all-purpose cleaner or material-specific solution. "If animals are walking on countertops, remember to disinfect the area often, too," Cohoon says.

Upholstered Furniture

Keep your favorite lounger fur-free with this handy tip from Martha's Homekeeping Handbook: Purchase a dry sponge at a pet-supply store and use it to lightly wipe dog hair in a sweeping motion from upholstery. Just make sure the sponge is dry. When you clean the sponge after use, wash with soap and water, and let it dry.

You can also use a damp rag to pick up the hair, but make sure to ring out water from the rag before using it to prevent the upholstery from getting wet.

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How to Deal With Heavy Shedders

Cleaning up your pet's hair is one thing, but if you're trying to maintain it from the get-to, brushing your pet regularly is key, says Lori Bierbrier, DVM, the medical director of community medicine at the ASPCA. "You cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, but you can reduce the amount of hair in your home with regular brushing," she says. "Ask your veterinarian or groomer to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog's hair type."

If your pet is an excessive shedder, a specific diet could also help control the issue; however, you should consult your veterinarian before making any changes. "Pets with allergies or sensitivities might need to experiment with different brands to discover which food works best for them," says Dr. Bierbrier.

Updated by
Nashia Baker
Nashia Baker, Associate Digital Editor for Martha Stewart
Nashia Baker is a skilled writer and editor in the journalism industry, known for her work interviewing global thought leaders, creatives, and activists, from Aurora James to Stacey Abrams. She has over five years of professional experience and has been a part of the Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Weddings teams for the last 3 years.
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