Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We love our pets dearly, but having their hair all over the house? Not so much. Yet, unless your chosen breed is a hairless variety, pet hair in the home is unavoidable. Upholstery, carpeting and clothing are pet hair magnets. Minutes after I vacuum, I see more tufts of fur on my carpet…mocking me.
Once, a delivery driver briefly sat on my chair, and when he turned to leave I saw that his backside was wearing half a cat. I didn’t say anything because really, what could I say? “Wait! Let me brush off your butt.” I don’t think so. Pet hair in the home is a nuisance, but there are things you can do to minimize it.
Solutions for Pet Hair on Furniture
Rubber pet grooming gloves have little “nubs” on them designed to loosen fur while you massage your pet, but they work great for removing pet hair on your furniture too! Rubber gloves with raised grippers work too – the textured surface provides traction which helps to “grab” the pet hair when you make short scraping strokes over your furniture. A dampened sponge or microfiber cloth rubbed in one direction can help to ball up the pet hair so that collecting it is easier.
Pet hair “sticky rollers” are handheld brushes with perforated sheets of sticky paper. You roll the device over furniture (or clothes) and the pet hair sticks to the disposable sticky sheet. If you have more than one pet, or a pet that sheds a lot, these are marginally useful and rather expensive, because you will go through a lot of sticky sheets quickly.
A fabric lint brush is more cost effective than the sticky roller and better for the environment too – there’s nothing to throw away and it lasts virtually forever! Sweep it over your furniture in one direction and the pet hair is collected on the brush. To clean the pet hair off, simply brush in the opposite direction.
A roll of clear packaging tape (the wider the better) is a good investment for a pet owner. I cut several strips about 6-8” long and hang them from the edge of my coffee table. I wrap one strip around my hand (or just leave it long) and go over my furniture. When that strip is full of pet hair I discard it and grab the next one.
Washable throws won’t remove pet hair from your furniture, but if you can train your pet to sleep on them instead of wherever they please, it will keep the majority of their hair in one place. I have one on the back of my couch where my cats like to bird watch, and another on the end of my bed. Cleaning them is easy – I shake them off outside to remove loose hairs, and toss them in the washer.
Solutions for Pet Hair on Clothing
Sticky rollers, lint brushes and tape all do a reasonable job of “de-furring” your clothes. I wouldn’t recommend using them on expensive fabrics like silk or cashmere, obviously, but they’re fine for your basic cotton or wool garments. I keep my lint brush handy and always give my clothes a quick sweep right before I walk out the door.
You can also put an item of clothing in the dryer on fluff for 5-10 minutes. The lint filter removes some of the pet hair, but you might still have to use tape or a lint brush. Keeping your clothes picked up can help minimize the pet hair on them. Finally, don’t fold clean clothes on the bed or other surface where your pet is allowed.
Solutions for Pet Hair on Carpets
Vacuuming will pick up some of the pet hair on your carpet, but sometimes it won’t come up no matter how vigorously you vacuum. However, there are “pet” vacuums for sale now – some are marketed specifically as “pet hair removal vacuums,” while others tout “pet hair” attachments designed to lift the hair up. I’ve not upgraded my vacuum yet, but this could be a worthwhile investment. If you decide to buy a pet hair vacuum, be sure to research them thoroughly, as reviews are mixed.
You may think I’m nuts, but my favorite way to remove pet hair from my carpet is to run my lint brush over it. I have one brush that is for “carpets only.” Multi-tasker that I am, sometimes I brush my carpet while I’m talking on the phone. Rubber brooms are said to work for removing pet hair from carpet, though I’ve not tried one. The rubber bristles create friction which scrapes the pet hair into clumps that you can either vacuum up or pick up by hand.
The last way to deal with the problem of pet hair is simple – acceptance. I learned long ago that it wasn’t worth my time to obsess over cat hair in my home. I saw a great quote that was, I think, a joking response to people coming into your home and complaining about pet hair. “If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.”
Read more articles by Julia Williams