How to get pet hair out of laundry – 5 quick tips for loosening stubborn pet dander

Is pet hair still there after washing? These tricks could be the final solution, laundry experts say

A poodle dog standing in front og a clohthes drying rack filled with brightly colored clothes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We all love our pets, but carrying a piece of them around all the time in the form of their hair is not a great look – especially when our clothes are freshly washed but the hair remains clinging to the fabric. 

So how do you get pet hair out of laundry? Laundry experts suggest it could be as simple as switching out your laundry products, but your machine may be causing you havoc too, they warn. 

Here, they explain how to clear away pet hair once and for all when doing laundry – and why it might be sticking around for so long. 

How to get pet hair out of laundry

When pet hair seems glued onto your clothing, you will be relieved to know that there are some simpler options to getting rid of it than using the best vacuum for pet hair on all of our garments individually. Here is what the pros suggest:

fiddle leaf fig and dog in living room

(Image credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images)

1. Wash your clothes in vinegar to reduce static cling

Many of us may have heard of using white vinegar in laundry to help deodorize clothes, but there are several benefits this pantry staple offers, including helping to shed clothes of pet hair, reveals Joshua and Ashlie Waterman, co-founders of Stripped Down Laundry. 

Adding just ½ a cup of distilled white vinegar to a large load of laundry can help to relax the clothing fibers and reduce the laundry's pH, resulting in less static cling, they explain.

‘Static cling is usually caused by alkaline laundry detergents, and the clothes rubbing against one another as the machine cycles,’ they say. ‘Reducing this with vinegar will stop the hair gluing itself to your garments, so to speak, allowing it to be washed into your lint trap for easy removal.’

2. Remove pet hair in the dryer with dryer balls

If you prefer not to use vinegar in your washing machine for whatever reason, then it is possible to counter the effects of static pet hair in your tumble dryer too (or even as well as if you have a serious hair problem), Joshua and Ashlie Waterman, laundry experts continue. 

‘We suggest adding dryer sheets, or better yet using dryer balls, in your tumble dryer once again to reduce static – wool dryer balls moistened a little with water before adding is best for this,’ they say,’ and is one of the best ways to get wrinkles out of clothes too!’

If you don't have a dryer ball or sheet to hand, then Joshua and Ashlie warn against turning to quick household hacks, such as using an aluminum foil ball, in their place. These not only won't help with your pet hair problem but can actually cause damage to your drum and clothing with their rough edges.

3. Make sure your washing machine is clean

While there are several easy ways of removing pet hair from fabric, they will all be redundant if the inside of your washing machine and tumble dryer are coated in tricky pet hair, says Stuart Pyburn, franchise consultant, and appliance expert at Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company. 

‘It really pays to clean a washing machine once in a while, especially when you have pets as the hair will stick around inside the drum for several washes, adding hair to clothes that may have previously been relatively hair free,’ he begins. ‘Without laundry in it, pour half a cup of vinegar into your washing machine and run a rinse cycle. Vinegar is a natural softener and should allow the hair to flow easier down the drain.’

‘For the dryer, run the dryer empty on “air only” with two dryer fabric softener sheets in it. They will loosen the hair’s grip, sending it into the lint filter. Then, clean the dryer vent and lint filter. It is good to remember that your dryer isn’t the only appliance that could have a lint trap! If your clothes are coming out of the washer with fur or hair already on them and the washer has a lint trap, the washer lint trap is likely already overdue for a cleaning.’

4. Use a lint roller when you put clothes on

If your clothing is not coming out of your washing machine and dryer looking like the offspring of yeti, then it could be worth simply tackling the hair as and when you come to wear the item, suggests Muffetta Krueger, cleaning expert and owner of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants. 

The quickest way to do this is, of course, a lint roller to remove lint from clothes. Alternatively, you can use a lint brush with soft bristles to remove the pet hair from the fabric. Repeat this process until you've successfully eliminated all visible hair,’ she advises. ‘I like the Scotch-Brite Lint Roller, available at Amazon, or for a more sustainable option, the ChomChom Roller Pet Hair Remover or OXO Good Grips FurLifter, also both from Amazon.’

ChomChom Pet Hair Remover | Was $31.95, Now $29.99 at Amazon

ChomChom Pet Hair Remover | Was $31.95, Now $29.99 at Amazon
This reusable lint roller is designed especially for pet hair, with a handy compartment collecting loose hair for easy removal.

Muffetta
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a driving force in the domestic service business, with over 15 years of operational management experience in the industry.

5. Use a dry air cycle on your dryer before washing your clothing

The final method is to tackle the pet hair before you put your clothes into the washing machine, adds laundry experts Joshua and Ashlie Waterman. ‘Another effective tip is to run the clothing through the dryer on an air dry cycle for about 10 minutes before washing. This preliminary cycle helps loosen and dislodge pet hair, making it easier to remove during the subsequent washing process,’ they explain. 

FAQs

What breaks down dog hair in a washing machine?

Besides white vinegar, there are some commercial pet hair dissolvers that can be used to physically break down hair in a washing machine when running a cleaning cycle. This hair will then be caught by the lint trap more easily, or washed away into the drains. Vamoosh pet hair dissolver from Amazon is a good example of this. 

Does a vacuum cleaner remove pet hair from clothes?

A vacuum cleaner can be used to help remove pet hair from clothes, but it is by far one of the most awkward methods given the machine's bulky size and the fact it will suck the clothing up if you are not currently wearing it. What’s more, the strong suction or intense beater brushes may wear down the fabric reducing its life span. 


Although getting pet hair out of laundry can seem as impossible as getting dog hair out of carpet, these five simple approaches are a great place to start.

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.