I tried five ways of removing pet hair from fabric – and one stood out above the rest
All these methods worked – but one was by far the most effective, and I'll be using it again
As someone who regularly looks after both a black cat and a German Shepherd, my clothes and home furnishings are very rarely free from pet hair.
Whether I am trying to get dog hair out of carpets or free my trousers from cat hair, removing pet hair seems like a never-ending battle. After being tired of black hair matting my bed linens, I finally decided to try out a series of cleaning tips to get rid of pet hair to work out which is the best.
I tried five methods of removing pet hair from fabric and, while all of them worked, one was a stand out for how quickly it cleared the material.
How to remove pet hair from fabric
Unlike many cleaning tasks, there is very little prevention for pet hair so the cures have to really work. Here is how I got on with five common pet hair removal techniques.
1. Lint roller
Lint rollers are for more than removing lint from clothes – they are a tried and tested method of loosening pet hair from fabric, too. The downside to traditional lint rollers, however, is that they frequently need replacing, and I often forget to buy more refills. What’s more, I am very conscious of just how much non-recyclable waste the sticky sheets cause.
So in an effort to be more sustainable, I decided to give a washable, reusable lint roller, at Amazon a go instead. It worked exactly like a normal lint roller for both my furniture and clothing, and all I had to do was rinse it in the sink afterward (collecting the hair in a hair trap) and leave it to dry.
This meant that I had to pause in between removals, but there are other lint rollers and rakes available that reduce this waiting time. Overall, it was super efficient and collected a lot more hair than I thought it would before it needed cleaning.
This washable lint roller comes removes the waste from removing pet hair, and means you will never forget to restock again.
Lint rakes are simple to use and are great alternatives to wasteful lint rollers with sticky sheeting.
Vacuuming upholstery is another go-to for removing pet hair from the soft furnishings and fabrics in our homes. Having recently bought a vacuum for pet hair specifically, I gave vacuuming another go having had little success with embedded hair in the past.
The pet hair vacuum certainly helped to remove a good bulk of the hair, but a few stragglers remained, especially on loose fabric such as my bedding where it was hard to vacuum without the material being pulled. Vacuuming worked great for my couches where the material was more taut, but didn't work at all on my clothes, so this is a good option for quick cleaning on certain areas, but not the universal solution.
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser | $79.95 at Amazon
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is a great small handheld vacuum for removing embedded dirt and pet hair thanks to its motorized brush tool and is one of our favorite handheld options on the market.
What's more, Bissell donates $5 to pet charities with every purchase.
3. A pet brush
A pet brush is designed to collect pet hair from your animal before it has the chance to be left all over your home, so why not try it out for your fabrics? This was a tip I picked up from a friend of mine after I saw her using her dog's rake to pull embedded pet hair out of the carpet.
I used the cat’s softer bristled brush to tackle the hair on my blankets, pulling the material taut before brushing the fabric as I would the cat. The hair was picked up almost instantly, but the results will vary depending on the type of brush you have. An undercoat rake will, for instance, be more effective at dealing with pilled fabrics like carpets, whereas the soft brush is ideal for cleaning upholstery and clothes without damaging them.
Soft Pet Grooming Brush | was $14.21, Now $9.99 at Amazon
This soft pet grooming brush is designed for animals with long hair to help remove knots carefully. The soft bristles mean it is also ideal for picking up pet hair around your home without scratching or pulling any fibers from fabrics.
4. An anti-static spray
You can buy anti-static prays at Walmart, to prevent small particles and fibers from sticking to fabrics, but I decided to make my own. To do this, I combined two tablespoons of fabric softener with one cup of water and a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and shook to combine. This anti-static spray is not too dissimilar to a cleaning spray to repel dust as both work to charge the fabric to push away particles and stop them from sticking.
I liberally applied the spray to any areas with hair but had to combine it with another removal method (I chose the vacuum) to collect the hair. I must say that there was certainly a difference in how much hair was collected with the spray than when I used the vacuum alone.
All in all, an anti-static spray will remove hair in conjunction with another removal method such as the lint roller or vacuum, but I think it is a better preventative tool to prevent hair from sticking fast in the first place. If you do make a homemade spray, be sure to use a small amount of fabric conditioner as it increases flammability and could stain.
5. Sticky tape
Sticky tape is another alternative if you do not have a lint roller at home. A trick my mom taught me when I was younger, all you have to do is roll the tape around your hand so that the sticky side is facing outwards. From there, rub your hand over the fabric to collect the hair.
Again, this method certainly worked, but it took more time than the lint roller for large areas as it was a little more awkward to continue to replace. This is a great method to use if you need to run out the door, I think, but it is not a go-to for cleaning a house fast.
Sticking with the classic, the lint roller was easily the best tool to help remove pet hair from fabric, and using a reusable version meant I can continue to be more sustainable at home – I will, however, opt for one I do not need to wait to dry next time.
It certainly wouldn’t hurt to pair this method with the anti-static spray too to really shift the stubborn matting.
If you don’t have a lint roller to hand, then your pet’s own brush (free from existing hair) was certainly a close contender for the next best option too – only missing out due to the large variation in brushes and their different degrees of effectiveness on different surfaces and fabrics. Nonetheless, given that you have an animal, you are almost guaranteed to have one of these in a cabinet somewhere already that might just do the trick.
Can pet hair ruin a washing machine?
Pet hair can clump up when exposed to water and clog up the pipes, drum, and filters in your washing machine. As a result, it is best to try to remove as much pet hair as possible before washing your clothing and home linens to help keep your washing machine working properly and prevent fire hazards. This is especially important if you have a combination washer and dryer.
Removing pet hair from fabric can feel like an uphill battle, but you can stay on top of the smattering of loose hairs by regularly cleaning around the home, and of course, brushing and grooming your pet regularly – at least once a week depending on their hair length.
Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for six months, 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.
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