How To Get Rid of Pet Hair in Your Home

If you have furry pets, you have pet hair. It's on your clothes and furniture and in your dryer vent. Here's how to keep it under control.

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Close up of vacuum cleaner cleaning dirty carpet
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Vacuum

Let’s start with the basics. A quality vacuum cleaner with an extendable, angled brush attachment makes quick work of pet hair wherever it hides.

Vacuuming is the best way to get pet hair out of carpets, furniture, car seats and any other nook and cranny, says Dan Deonarain, owner of Galaxy Maids, a cleaning service in greater New York City and Boston.

Don’t forget to empty your vacuum canister and clean the filter regularly. Pet hair fills up the canister fast. Your vacuum will last longer and run more efficiently.

Woman cleaning clothes with sticky roller from cats hair. Cleanin
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Lint Brush

We’re all familiar with the lint roller, those clever round tape wands that grab pet hair from our clothes.

Unfortunately, they create a lot of waste and are only marginally effective. I don’t know about you, but I’m ripping off multiple layers of tape each time I leave the house. And all that tape leaves a sticky residue on your clothes, making them more likely to attract more hair.

Instead of the roller, try a lint brush. Clothing and textile expert Frej Lewenhaupt says lint brushes, like this one from Steamery, last forever because they feature tiny polyester bristles instead of disposable tape. Just twist the handle and voilà! It’s clean and ready to go for next time.

Aluminium foil in the shape of a sphere on textured background
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Foil Dryer Balls

We all want fresh, hair-free clothes when we pull them out of the dryer. We use fabric sheets and wool dryer balls and dutifully clean the lint trap, but sometimes that pet hair keeps hanging on.

Patric Richardson, aka the Laundry Evangelist, says nothing works as well as a homemade foil dryer ball. Grab a one-yard sheet of aluminum foil, squash it into a ball and toss it in your dryer.

“The first time you do it, you’ll end up with enough pet hair in the lint trap that you could knit another pet,” Richardson says. “It’s a really great trick.”

clothes and a brush hanging in a closet
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Clothing Brush

Jeans, outerwear and cotton twill need a heavy-duty pet hair remover, and a good sturdy clothing brush can work wonders. “With just a few strokes, dust, dirt and hair will easily come off,” Lewenhaupt says. “It’s a great tool to have close at hand to give the outfit a quick sweep before leaving the house.”

Use a clothing brush on upholstery, and try it in your car, too. Couches, throw pillows and other home textiles can handle the bristles. Sometimes you just don’t want to haul out the vacuum cleaner.

The Man In A Gray Shirt Wearing Blue Rubber Gloves Before Washing The Toilet.
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Rubber Gloves

Those rubber gloves you stashed under the sink can be part of your pet hair removal toolkit.

“When your standard vacuum doesn’t seem to get the job done, rubber gloves can be a huge help,” says Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority. “Put on a set of rubber gloves and rub down any areas that need a bit of an extra cleaning.”

It works because the rubber on the fabric creates static electricity — a magnet for pet hair. Try this on carpet and fabric upholstery. When you’re done, simply rinse the gloves with a little water. The hair falls right off!

Towel hanging out of a washing machine
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Dry First

Have you ever tossed a clean-but-slightly-hairy garment into the dryer for a few minutes? That’s actually a good idea for laundry day, too.

“The best time to tackle pet hair on your clothes is before they go into the wash,” says Matt Connelly, founder and CEO of ihateironing, a leading network of dry cleaning experts in the United Kingdom and New York City. “During the wash, pet fur gets wet and sticks more stubbornly to your clothes, making it harder to remove.”

Before washing, set your dryer on low and toss in your clothes, Connelly says. The tumbling action separates the hair before it embeds in the wash. Make sure to clean your dryer filter regularly.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman sweeping the carpet at home
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Sweep the Rug

I use this one all the time. Do you have a rug with strings on the ends? Those are called “warps,” and it drives me crazy when they catch in the vacuum cleaner. (It’s not great for the vacuum, either.)

It’s easy to avoid the heartache, though — grab a broom and start sweeping! Use short strokes and work your way down the rug. Just like the clothing brush, the friction from the bristles collects the pet hair. Once you have a big pile, grab it and throw it in the trash.

Woman using wool dryer balls for more soft clothes while tumble drying in washing machine concept. Discharge static electricity and shorten drying time, save energy.
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Dryer Sheets and Dryer Balls

Static electricity makes pet hair cling to clothing. If you ever rubbed a balloon on your hair in grade school, it’s the same concept. Connelly says dryer sheets and dryer balls help.

“They work by decreasing the static on your clothes during the [drying] cycle, making it easier for the fur to separate from the fibers of your garments,” he says.

Lewenhaupt also recommends wool dryer balls for another reason. “Wool dryer balls make the air circulate more evenly in the dryer, which reduces the drying time by 10% to 30% and prevents static cling,” Lewenhaupt says. “Tumble dryer balls are also a great alternative to fabric softener.”

Ultrasonic cool mist humidifier
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Humidify the Air

Air purifiers, like these from Daikin, capture airborne pet hair and dander. But they’re expensive, and you’ll still have to mechanically remove hair on carpets, couches and other materials in your home.

Humidifying the air can help reduce the static electricity, and humidifiers are generally more affordable. Humidifiers keep your skin and sinuses hydrated, but can encourage molds and allergens if the air gets too moist. Aim for 30% to 50% humidity, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Bonus: Because humidifiers reduce static electricity, no more shocking yourself and your pet after walking across the carpet!

Woman Brushing Dog. Owner Combing Her Jack Russell Terrier. Pet Care
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Brush Your Pet

Finally, the best way to keep pet hair from landing everywhere is preventing it from going airborne. Grab a pet brush or silicone mitt and give your best friend a grooming session to keep shedding under control.

If your dog or cat isn’t used to being groomed, take it slow and offer plenty of treats and encouragement. I have one dog who loves it, and one who runs every time I approach with the brush. (Unfortunately, she’s the shedder.) With a little luck, you’ll reduce the pet hair you have to clean up in no time.

Ally Childress
Ally Childress comes to Family Handyman from the electrical industry, where she was an accomplished electrician, winning the highly competitive Outstanding Graduate award as an apprentice. Her professional electrical experience included large commercial projects such as Minnesota's US Bank Stadium, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and several hospitals. Before becoming an electrician, she worked in food safety and water quality as a scientist and technical writer. Ally's career, spanning multiple industries and areas of the country, honed her innate sense of curiosity and her ability to connect with subject matters of all kinds and explain dense subjects to diverse audiences. Ally is her household's designated handy person and is well versed in a variety of home DIY and maintenance tasks, able to confidently clean, troubleshoot, build, install, and modify. She loves spending time outdoors, especially with her partner and dogs.