Dealing with your pet’s hairy problem

We love our pets – but we definitely don’t love the hair they shed all over the house.

Some dogs and cats seem to leave more hair on the floor and furniture than they actually keep on their bodies, and it can be a real challenge to get rid of it and keep the house clean. But there are plenty of tricks you can use to make sure you don’t have a hairy house.

Engi Bally, marketing manager at a domestic cleaning company, says: “A lot of our customers have pets, so we’re very accustomed to having to get rid of the hair they shed. For floors, you can just use a vacuum – make sure it has a pet head attachment though – but furniture is the tricky bit. You have a few options to get it off – a lint brush, sticky tape or a damp microfibre cloth works a treat.”

Here are 10 tips to make sure pet hair isn’t a problem in your home.

1. Brush your pets regularly
You can’t stop dogs and cats shedding hair, but you can reduce the amount they lose by grooming them regularly, throwing the balls of hair away, or grooming them outside. Chances are your dog or cat will love the attention, although some more grumpy pets might have to be chased around the house before you can pin them down for a good brushing.

2. Be savvy with your surfaces
You’re not going to be able to change all your flooring and furniture to pet hair resistant types, but if you’re planning a new floor or piece of furniture, opt for hard floorings such as wood or vinyl, and leather furniture that you can wipe clean. And don’t forget your bedding, because while your pets might not be allowed on your bed, most of them will climb up whenever they get the chance. Pet hair will cling to woollen bed throws, so opt for shiny synthetic materials where possible.

It might also be worth investing in some anti-static spray, which helps stop hairs sticking to fabric. Or make your own, by mixing water with a little fabric conditioner, then just give the fabric a quick spritz and wipe it off.

3. Use rubber gloves
Rubber gloves don’t just protect your hands while cleaning, they’re great at getting rid of pet hairs too. All you do is pop on the gloves, wet them and wipe them over fabric, cleverly lifting the hairs. “Our best-kept secret is to take a rubber glove and press on surfaces like sofas or any fabric, and that allows the hair to ball up,” says Ms Bally. “What’s good about it is that it works for both cat and dog hair, short and long. Once it’s balled up, you can just wipe the rest of the surface clean.”

4. Cover up problem spots
If your dog or cat has a favourite spot they sit or lie on, cover it with a blanket that can be washed regularly.

5. Apply sticky tape
Wind sticky tape around your hand, sticky side up, and brush it against furniture fabric or clothes – pet hair will stick to it straight away.

6. Try a damp cloth or fabric softener sheet
A simple damp cloth will get rid of a lot of pet hairs – microfibre cloths or sponges work particularly well. Similarly, a damp mop will pick up pet hairs on the floor. Another trick is using a slightly damp fabric softener sheet that you’d normally pop in your dryer – they’re great for picking up pet hairs.

7. Opt for a lint roller
You may already have invested in a few lint rollers to get pet hair off your clothes, so just roll them across your furniture fabric to pick up the hairs there too.

8. Use the washing machine
Wash pet beds and blankets regularly in the washing machine, shaking them outside before you bring them in. Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle can help detach the unwanted hairs from the fabric but be sure to get rid of any hairs left in the drum afterwards.

9. Make the most of your tumble dryer
A few minutes in the dryer on the cool setting can also help loosen pet hairs. A fabric softener sheet in there with them will do an even better job, and you can then just dispose of them by emptying the machine’s filter.

10. Vacuum
Vacuuming will get rid of a lot of pet hairs on the floor and upholstery (make sure you use the upholstery attachment). There are plenty of special pet hair vacuums on the market, but whether you have one of those or a standard vacuum cleaner, be sure to empty it regularly as pet hairs will block it easily.

Do you have pets? Can they roam free in your house or are they confined to a certain area? How do you deal with pet hair?

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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