There's a lot we're willing to do for our pets, from upping our spending habits for them to making them the cutest DIYs and personalized toys. But one thing every pet owner could surely go without: all that pet hair. Whether you're constantly spotting it on your clothes and linens or finding yourself covered in it after sitting down on your couch, anyone with a furry four-legged friend knows the struggle that comes from trying to clean up all that fur. If you also live with someone with allergies, dealing with pet hair can often be more than just a slight nuisance. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks to minimizing the presence of your pet's daily shedding.
Here, an expert shares the best ways to remove pet hair from any surface.
Rugs and Carpets
While vacuuming will certainly be your best bet for maintaining these surfaces from pet hair, doing so alone may not be enough. "Vacuum cleaners can remove dirt and grit particles which get ground in with every footstep (or pawprint), weakening the fibers of your carpet," says Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute. To really get your carpet fur- and dander-free, Sansoni recommends a deep clean a few times a year, especially in high-traffic areas. Considering hiring an expert or renting a steam cleaner yourself—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
This is much easier to maintain. "With today's cleaning products, keeping pet hair under control is a breeze," says Sansoni. "Start on the edges of the room and sweep or wipe your way towards the center. 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."
Bedding, Linens, and Towels
One quick trick Sansoni recommends: use a rubber glove, dampened with water, to 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." When it's time to launder these items—clothing, too!—Sansoni says, "Run them through a 10-minute no-heat dryer cycle to loosen pet hair, which often winds up in the lint trap. Throw in a dryer sheet, too, because any static buildup can keep hair bonded to the fabric." You can then take items out of the dryer, shake off any remaining pet hair (preferably outside), and toss them into your washer.
In addition to the dryer tip, Sansoni says having a lint roller nearby is going to be your biggest lifesaver if you're constantly covered in your pet's fur!
Keep your favorite lounger fur-free with this handy tip from Martha's Homekeeping Handbook: Purchase a dry sponge at a pet-supply store (they cost under $10) and use it to lightly wipe dog hair in a sweeping motion from upholstery. When using, 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 rag before using to prevent the upholstery from getting wet.
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. "You cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, but you can reduce the amount of hair in your home with regular brushing," says Lori Bierbrier, DVM, Medical Director of Community Medicine at the ASPCA. "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 chances as Bierbrier notes: "Pets with allergies or sensitivities might need to experiment with different brands to discover which food works best for them."