Pet Friendly House

Removing Pet Hair from Upholstered Sofas

Picture of a dog on a green sofa

Do you bear the hallmarks of a true pet owner?  Have you ever had someone approach you and just automatically “know” that you own a dog or a cat?  If so, it’s likely the pet hair sticking to your clothes that gave you away!

Removing unwanted pet hair from your home can be a real challenge. It likes to stick to anything and everything, and if you own a breed known for its wiry coat, it can even embed itself in fabrics, making it incredibly difficult for you to rid your home of the hair entirely.  It’s a frustration all pet owners share.  There has to be a solution!

What Makes Pet Hair so Hard to Clean?

If you’ve ever watched your dog shaking himself, you know that pet hair goes everywhere! When pet hair is released from your dog or cat’s coat, it becomes magnetized. This static electricity compels the hair to stick to surfaces and clump together to form hairballs, or dust bunnies, which collect underneath furniture and in corners. Many experts claim that homes with lower humidity are more prone to this issue.

When we attempt to vacuum hair, it often becomes airborne again. This hair will eventually settle back onto our flooring and furniture; however, most of us don’t have time to spend all day vacuuming and thus have to get up as much hair as we possibly can in one attempt and leave the rest for another day. This means that we are never really able to completely get rid of all of the hair in our homes.

What’s the solution?

Owning pets means dealing with a certain degree of mess. After all, for the unconditional love and loyalty they bestow upon us; they are worth it. However, most families with dogs do not love cleaning and also have a limited amount of time to devote to caring for their homes. Because of this, it is important to find solutions to pet hair removal that are not only effective, but that also don’t require inordinate amounts of time.

While it is difficult to remove hair from hardwood, tile, and laminate surfaces, it is particularly hard to clean it from upholstery. There are a number of things that pet owners can do to reduce the amount of hair that sticks to their fabric-covered furniture, but it is impossible to eliminate it completely.  Because of this, prevention combined with an efficient cleaning routine is the best plan of attack to keep your furniture looking clean and pristine.

Here are some of the best approaches to removing pet hair from your upholstered furniture:

Dryer sheets
Dryer sheets reduce static electricity, one of the main culprits behind impossible to remove pet hair.  Dryer sheets prove a powerful attraction for errant pet hair that rests on fabric surfaces. Simply running a fresh dryer sheet over your furniture will remove a great deal of the hair.  For hair that is embedded more deeply in woven fabrics, you may need to press harder to unearth it or even go over your cleaned furniture with a vacuum for more stubborn hairs that refuse to be lifted.

Care must be taken to select dryer sheets without fragrance as some pets are allergic to them and can experience severe reactions. 

ScotchBrite Pet Hair Removal products
The leading company ScotchBrite has designed a line of products to specifically combat the issue of pesky pet hair. Their Scotch Fur Fighter works on the same premise as a lint roller but with an entirely different design to enable you to access hair in hard to reach places including along seams and down crevices. This invaluable tool boasts the ability to effectively deal with deeply embedded hair by “grabbing” it for easy removal.

This inexpensive product comes with adhesive sheets that are refillable to allow for continuous use.

Lint rollers
Most people have lint rollers in their homes already, and if you are a pet owner, they are an absolute must. They are inexpensive, and their sticky surface makes them an ideal cleaning agent for hair removal. To release hair from your upholstery, simply run the lint roller along the surface of the fabric. The hair will stick to the adhesive sheet. Once the sheet has lost its effectiveness to remove hair, you can discard it and start with a fresh layer of adhesive.

It may take several attempts with a lint roller to lift the most hair, but you will be able to take care of the vast majority of it. The remaining hair can then be vacuumed for easy removal.

Moistened rubber gloves
If a sticky surface isn’t doing the trick for stubborn, embedded hair, why not try moistened rubber gloves? Sometimes water will work more effectively than a lint roller. Water will help neutralize static electricity and marginally increase the room humidity level. Both of these things make it easier to trap and remove hair.

Vacuums designed for pet hair removal
There is no doubt that a high quality vacuum designed for use in removing pet hair is the most important tool every pet owner must invest in. There are many models on the market today which boast of their pet friendly properties.  They are available in a variety of price points and with a a plethora of pet hair removing options.  Among the best models on the market include Dyson Animal vacuums as well as Bissell and Shark.

As with most pet messes, prevention plays a critical role in the amount of daily cleanup you must do.  Taking the time to regularly brush and groom your pets will greatly reduce the hair that is then shed into your home environment. Consistency is key. The more frequently and religiously that you brush your dog or cat, the more hair you can purposefully remove and dispose of which equates to less hair in the air, under your couch, on your furniture, and stuck to your clothes.

Keeping on top of pet hair removal is also key. Once it is allowed to accumulate over several days, the problem can seem insurmountable to solve. Daily sweeping or vacuuming, even if it is just a cursory onceover, will help to keep hairballs to a minimum.

Yes, pet hair removal is a problem for all families with dogs and cats. While we love our animals fiercely, we’re not so in love with the non-stop cleaning of hair. By following some of these few simple tips, you can help get the hairballs under control and keep the “pet residue” on your clothes and furniture to a minimum.  If all else fails, you can try to teach Fido and Fifi how to vacuum!

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