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How to Remove Pet Hair From Laundry

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We love our “fur babies” and pets can quickly become part of the family. What we don’t love is when the fur flies. Here’s how to remove pet hair from your laundry without pulling your own hair out.

When you consider that every square inch of your dog contains 15,000 strands of hair, it’s no wonder they leave fur all around the house. Remove pet hair from laundry using these simple methods: fabric softener sheets, lint rollers, and vinegar along with your washing machine and clothes dryer.

cat hair on everything

You can remove pet hair from laundry and bedding by following a few simple techniques. Dogs and cats shed a little every day, but especially during the spring and fall. If you share your home with either or both, you understand just how much hair that can be. Get control of this hairy problem and you will have a happier, healthier home for all members of the family.

How to Remove Pet Hair from Laundry

Hair and fur in the washing machine can cause a big mess.  It tends to clump when wet and will clog drains and filters.  The answer is to remove as much as possible before the wash cycle.

Lint brushes or rollers will remove much of the loose hair.  If you don’t have one handy, use a damp rubber glove to swipe the fur into manageable bunches and toss them in the trash.
remove dog hair from clothing
Vinegar added to the rinse cycle will help release the hair from the fibers.  Nothing will really dissolve hair, so your best line of defense is to avoid putting soiled laundry that’s full of dog hair in the washer in the first place.

If you share your bed with man’s best friend, you already know how much the fuzz can build up in a very short time.  Every morning when you make your bed, take a few minutes to run a lint roller over the linens to remove what may have been left behind.

You will be surprised, and maybe a little shocked at what is one the lint roller.  If you don’t have a lint roller, use packing tape wrapped around your hand, sticky side out, to pick up lint, fur, and fuzz.

Duct tape can be used in a pinch, but it can leave a sticky residue behind.  Regular cellophane tape works just fine, especially the wide rolls used for shipping packages.

Dryer balls, either wool or other material can help remove hair from clothing in the dryer.  You can also use a tennis ball in a pinch, but be ready for a lot of thumping and bumping as they go around and around.

Fur Zappers™ are sticky little gizmos that remove pet hair and fur in the dryer.  Available online, they can be washed with dish soap to remove the build-up of hair after use.

fur zappers1

How to Remove Pet Hair From Bedding

1 Shake out bedding before washing.  If weather permits, take it outside.  Birds love pet hair and will often use it for nesting material.

2  Pop your sheets and blankets in the dryer for 15-20 minutes on no-heat or air-fluff to help loosen and remove excess hair before you wash them.

A fabric softener sheet can help by reducing the static cling that holds the fur onto the fabric.  Be sure to clean the lint filter afterward.  Wash separately to avoid sharing the hair with your other laundry.

3  Add a ½ cup vinegar to the rinse water to help release any remaining fur and fuzz.

4  Use dryer sheets in the dryer.  Some brands have a type specifically for pet hair and lint.  It is a larger size and helps remove pet hair.  Regular ones work just fine, however, you may choose to put two in each load.

5  Clean the lint trap halfway through to ensure the best results.

clean pet hair from lint trap

Can Pet Hair Ruin a Washing Machine?

Hair and fur, as well as lint and fuzz, can be left behind after washing a load of blankets or towels that have been used for bathing animals.  Always wipe the drum after use to remove any bits still clinging to the inside of the drum and top of the washer.

Failure to keep the inside clean can result in clogging of the drain holes and hoses and could lead to expensive repairs.  Every so often, run an empty load with one cup of vinegar and the hottest water possible.

This will not only help to clear out any fur or hair leftover but will also prevent build-up from dryer sheets, which can end up compromising the efficiency of your appliance.

use vinegar clean pet hair from washer

Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Hair

Do dryer balls get rid of pet hair?  Yes.  They relax the fabric to help release hair and lint.  They also reduce wrinkles for the same reason.  Dryer balls do not noticeably lessen static cling.

Do washing blankets remove pet hair?  Yes, but it is more effective to eliminate as much hair as you can manually (by shaking, lint brushing, or air fluffing) before “adding water”.

Are there fabrics that don’t attract pet hair?  Leather, denim, linen, and any tightly woven material tend to resist hair and lint.  Conversely, corduroy, velvet, and velour are among the worst, as are man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester.

What dissolves pet hair in the washing machine?  No product actually dissolves hair.  The best we can hope for is to more easily remove stray hairs left behind in the washer.

One solution available in the UK, Vamoosh™ purports to get rid of pet hair accumulations by using active oxygen but has a few drawbacks.  It is intended for white laundry only and uses extremely hot water, up to 190 degrees.
vamoosh pet hair dissolver

What can I use in the washer to remove pet hair?  One cup of vinegar in the washer will help release the stragglers; just run a cycle once a month with hot water.   Wipe drum with a damp paper towel after washing pet bedding or other hairy loads.

What can I use in the dryer to remove pet hair?  Clean your lint filter often.  About once a month take it out and wash with warm soapy water to remove build-up from dryer sheets that can clog the lint filter. Rinse well and air dry before replacing it.

The hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner can get the fluff that you can’t reach beneath the lint trap.  Make sure the dryer is off and cool before vacuuming.

Pet hair on couch = FURniture

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to reduce the amount of shedding that goes on in pet families.

1 Brush your dog or cat often.  Daily is not too much.
2 Regular baths with a good shampoo will remove loose hairs and help with the urge to scratch.
3 Dust and vacuum regularly.  This will cut down on the furballs and dander floating around and everyone will breathe easier.

If pets on the bed really get your goat, try covering the bed with a sheet during the day, or keep bedroom doors closed to remind them that this room is off-limits.

Slipcovers on the sofa will keep hair and fur off the furniture and are much easier to wash.  A sheet will work in a pinch or a decorative throw.

pet fur on furniture

Offer your pet their own bed, complete with little doggie blankets.  The plush lap blankets, found in every color and pattern and available everywhere for under $5.00, are great for doggie beds.  Pretty, durable and so easy to wash, your dog or cat will love them.

How to Remove Pet Hair from Carpeting

If there are hair and fur in your laundry, you can bet it’s on your carpet, too.  A damp squeegee will gather up the loose fur before you vacuum.

remove hair from carpeting with squeegee
British mother Manda Goody admitted she was ‘shocked’ by how much hair was pulled up by the squeegee (pictured)

For extra help, fill a sprayer with water and add a spoonful of liquid fabric softener.  Mix well and mist your carpet evenly.  Allow to dry for five minutes, then vacuum.  As always,  check the filters and empty the bag often to ensure maximum effectiveness.

How to remove dog hair from carpet

The companionship and affection we receive from our four-legged friends are worth every bit of extra work involved in having them in our homes.

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2 thoughts on “How to Remove Pet Hair From Laundry”

  1. I do all my Shepard mix’s bedding on one day, but first I wash our “dog blanket’s” we use on top of our bed to keep our bedding clean. Between all the loads of laundry I get rid of any fur that has accumulated in the washing machine and dryer (a lot).

    After all the fun I let the washer dry out completely (at least overnight) and then use our vacuum to suck up every hair in the washer. I use the soft bristle attachment to really clean the drum and door.

    I get the gaskets, everything. Since it’s totally dry it all comes out great and won’t ruin our vacuum. I do the same thing for the dryer. Then I run a cleaning cycle in the washing machine with either vinegar or store bought machine cleaner. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really is quick and I have never had an issue with our machine and the filter is always in great shape.

    Sorry for the rediculously long comment, but this is a battle I have won and I want everyone else to be able to as well. Don’t let the thought of all the fur stop you from adopting a pet!


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