remove dog hair

How to get cat hair off clothes, remove dog hair from a couch, and more: read our ultimate fur-removal guide!

remove pet hair
Get Cat Hair Off Clothes

Pet hair isn’t just challenging to clean because there’s a lot of it. Sure, you have to deal with the sheer volume. You’ve also got to clean it off of different surfaces and materials, though. Often, it’s getting the hair to come free that takes more time than actually vacuuming it up or getting rid of it.

We’re all too familiar with the struggle of lifting pet fur from clothes, upholstery, and other surfaces around the home. That’s why we’ve decided to put this how-to guide together! In it, we’ll share all our tips and tricks for removing dog and cat hair from clothes and furniture pieces. We’ve also included some general advice for making your life easier when you live with pets.

How to get pet fur off your clothes

Use the faithful lint roller

A lot of people knock lint rollers, and if you’ve only used the cheap dollar store ones, we can understand that. Still, a good lint roller is one of life’s greatest investments. Get something with replaceable tape, and you can use the same one for years.

Use a lint brush

Lint brushes do just as well as tape on most (most, mind you!) fabric types. They also have the added benefit of leaving your clothing intact when they remove the hair. That’s compared to the tape rollers, which usually end up with some of your sweater fuzz on the roll.

This one’s particularly good:

OXO Good Grips Furlifter Pet Hair Remover for Clothing
  • FurLifter Brush combines the effectiveness of a lint brush...
  • Base clears fur from brush with a simple dip and holds fur...
  • Reusable system requires no refills
  • Soft, non slip, comfortable grip
  • Garment Brush is great for shirts, pants, jackets and more

We like the OXO because it has a base which clears the brush after it fills up. It’s much easier than having to vacuum the brush or wash it/let it dry. You can just dump the clumped fur out of the base when it’s full.

Take advantage of the dryer

If clothes come out of the washer still covered in pet hair, run them through the dryer with dryer balls. The balls will loosen the hair, and it’ll end up in the lint screen. It’s a good idea to stop and empty the lint screen midway so that you can remove as much hair as possible

Tweak your washing routine

While a longer cycle in any good washing machine ought to remove most pet hair, there are a few things you can do to help the process.

Use non-chlorinated bleach in the washer to loosen things! Half a cup of white distilled vinegar (the cheap stuff works fine) will also do the trick Both these solutions cause fibers to relax and release hairs.

Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach - Free & Clear - 64...
  • Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach lifts tough stains...
  • No bleachy smell, color-safe formula can be added to every...
  • 0% dyes, fragrances, chlorine bleach, phosphates or...

Avoid overfilling washers, too. It’s better to do a bit less per load so that hair has a route to the bottom.

Always run a rinse cycle after you wash super hairy items, and clean out any hair in the drum by hand, using the rubber glove trick below!

Steam your woollens to loosen hairs

This is a great trick for things that can’t be easily washed and dried in machines. If your lint brush or vacuum aren’t working, steam woollen garments. That’ll cut the static and make hairs much easier to remove.

How to get pet fur off furniture

Start with your vacuum

Your vacuum is always your first line of attack against pet hair! It’s far easier to vacuum fur than to use one of the tricks below, so always start with that. If the vacuum can’t handle it, then break out the specialist gear. If you’re in need of an upgrade, click over to our homepage for buying advice.

In most cases, a smart application of suction and a good attachment will do the trick. Use the upholstery attachment first, since that’s what it’s designed for. Most upholstery nozzles have some sort of rubber or velour strip to gather pet hair from fabrics.

If that doesn’t work, you might try a small turbo brush attachment. Many pet-model vacuums are equipped with them. You can also buy air-powered scrubbers to fit any vacuum. This Miele one is perfect for their vacuums, and it’ll also work on anything with a standard hose:

Miele STB 101 Mini Handheld Turbobrush
  • Ideal for vacuuming cut-pile carpets and delicate upholstery
  • For use with all Miele vacuum cleaners.
  • This tool can clean heavily-trafficked stairs and remove...

If it’s a fairly rugged piece of furniture, use your carpet brush! A good beater brush can do wonders on flat fabrics as well as carpets. So, if you have a wide area to clean, give it a try. Obviously, don’t try this on an antique or grannie’s favourite armchair without testing in on the back or the bottom of the cushion. We’ve done this on couches with good results.

Remember that it’s easier to use covers on futons than to spend time vacuuming each week, and futons are easier to manage than couches. Just be sure to clean the hair out of your washing machine after you do a big load!

Remove stubborn hairs by hand

The best method we’ve found requires a rubber dish glove and tap water. Put on the glove, run your fingers under the tap, shake off the big droplets, and then run your hand over the fabric surface. Hairs should scrub off very easily. Rinse off the accumulated hairs, and then go for round two!

Or, use a rubber balloon, rubbed on fabric rapidly until it’s more staticky than the furniture. This works like a roll of tape. Hair will zap right on!

How to get pet hair out of carpets and rugs

Again, your vacuum is the best tool you’ll find! Use a powered beater brush for the best results. Air-powered brush heads can be effective for everyday cleaning, but they’re not so great for pet hair. You should also be sure to keep your brush head free of tangled hair. Some have removable beater bars, but with many, you’ll need a cheap thread-picker to get all the strands out.

Take your time when you’re vacuuming. Sometimes, the brush head just needs a few extra revolutions to loosen a tenacious hair. Go in different directions over the same patch of flooring, too. Just as your lawn grows in the direction you mow it, hairs can escape the vacuum if you only work in one direction.

If there’s a patch that somehow won’t come loose, use a pumice stone. Or, just run over it with the wet glove trick we described above.

General advice

Be as preventive as possible!

As well as any of these methods work, the best scenario is one in which you don’t actually have to use them! So, make sure to take all the preventive steps you can to keep pet hair from accumulating and giving you grief.

Use washable covers on furniture items and pillows that are a pain to clean.

Brush pets outside whenever weather permits, and in an entryway when it’s cold or rainy. Keeping as much of the fur as far from your living space as possible is the key.

Vacuum cats and pooches who will tolerate it! You’ll be surprised how many actually like it, as long as the vacuum itself isn’t super loud or shrill. Use an upholstery attachment or put an old sock over a plain nozzle to make it comfy, and turn the suction to a low setting if your machine is adjustable.