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If you feel like your pet’s hair is starting to take over your house and belongings, check out these 11 tips on how to keep pet fur under control at home so you can better survive the next Furpocalypse (a.k.a Shedageddon or simply The Great Shed).
In this post…
In this post, we discuss different ways of tackling the dreaded furry onslaught head-on, as well as a few preventative tricks. We’ve also included plenty of additional tips and information for each of the 11 methods for those who like a little more insight, suggestions, or motivation.
1. Get to know your pet’s fur type.
Finding the best and most effective type of brush style for your pet may depend on their type of fur. This can vary from animal to animal, even within the same breed or if two animals happen to be related.
Some types of pet fur may be silky, dense, fine, or even coarse. Certain pets may even have what we refer to as “bunny fur,” which is light and fluffy and is often seen find floating through the air or attaching itself to your pet’s favorite spot on the couch. Others may have what we might call Velcro fur, which tends to be more coarse and has a habit of sticking stubbornly to woven fabrics, making it somewhat difficult to remove at times.
Do They Have a Double Coat or Tend to Be a Heavy Shedder?
Another factor on how to keep pet fur under control is figuring out whether or not they have a double coat—or even a triple coat, like Siberian cats or Bergamasco Shepherd—and then taking the appropriate steps in order to handle it and keep it in check.
A double coat can be found on certain breeds of cats and dogs and basically consists of a dense coat, or undercoat, that lies beneath a longer and more coarse topcoat, which is sometimes referred to as guard hairs and various other nicknames.
The undercoat may be soft or woolly, and you might even notice that it’s a slightly different color from the rest of your pet’s upper coat, or that it might convert to a lighter shade during certain times of the year.
Undercoats are most often there to help keep them warm or cool; whereas, the protective outer layer, or topcoat, helps to repel things such as dirt, bugs, debris, and, one some cases, even water to some dere.
Tis the Season
Pets with double coats will typically shed their undercoat rather aggressively about twice or more a year—usually starting in the fall and springtime. If you ever find that sometimes your dog or cat can sprout enough fur that’s equal to another pet its size when you brush them, then chances are good that your pet has a double coat.
During the winter seasons, double-coated animals also tend to look fluffier or poofier when they’re growing or are close to shedding an undercoat, or like they might have had one too many treats and packed on a few pounds unexpectedly.
You can usually tell when pets are about to lose their coat and it’s about time to start brushing them more frequently by the loose tufts of fur hanging off them. Some breeds may just drop large tufts of fur in their wake, and you’ll typically find them on the floor. Or they might just look more disheveled than usual.
In some cases, you may even notice their fur changing colors or becoming lighter, even if you don’t see a lot of fur coming out right away. This is usually a good indication that the Great Shed is about to begin soon.
Common Double-Coated Breeds
Here are a few double-coated or high-maintenance shedders, both cats and dogs.
Even if you don’t see your pet’s breed on the list, they might still be a double, triple, tufted, or otherwise high-maintenance fur baby. Luckily, the Internet is full of tips on treating or handling a particular breed and its more common type of fur.
Up Your Brushing Game
Either way, when pets start to shed their undercoat, it usually means that you’ll be on extra duty for both brushing and cleanup. But following some of the next steps and getting ahead of the game, as well as understanding your pet’s fur better, can help make things easier.
2. Brush your pet weekly, if not several times a week.
In order to keep furfetti from littering your home on a regular basis, make sure to brush your pet at least once a week.
You may need to up this to two times a week or more if your pet has a double coat or similar. This will be more so the case if they’re currently shedding their impressive mounds of clone duplicates, like a scene from Gremlins or Star Trek’s hyper-breeding Tribbles.
Brushing more frequently is also helpful for animals who may not sit still or tolerate brushing well or for all that long. This is more so with thick, double, or triple coats since some hairs may not be ready to come out until later or may require a lot more brushing.
Try to reward them after you’re done each time with a healthy treat. Or, better yet, give them some playtime and affection.
Set reminders. While procrastination is usually the main reason why pets can go un-brushed for long periods of time, resulting in more mess later, it can also be an issue of forgetting.
If this is something that might be an issue for you, try to set recurring reminders for yourself using an app or by setting designated brushing days for yourself. You can also stack the task with other chores or events to keep it consistent, like Trash Day or Vacuuming Day, and to make things a little more efficient.
Have more than one brush located in strategic areas of the home. Sometimes, having to do extra steps, such as retrieving a cleaning tool, can slow us down or become an excuse to procrastinate. This is more so the case if it’s a task that’s already tedious on its own but may also create a bigger mess for you to clean up, like brushing a pet.
So if you struggle to stay on top of brushing your pets on a consistent basis, it can help to have more than one brush scattered through your home—particularly in or near to where you’re most likely going to want to brush your pet.
3. Invest in a good-quality brush that’s suitable for your pet’s fur.
You can choose from several types of pet brushes these days to suit your pet’s needs and fur type, such as slicker brushes, bristle brushes, pin brushes, and rake-style brushes. There are also various kinds of de-shedding tools, including shedding “blades.”
Listed below, in the Brush Styles drop-down section, are some of the more common types and what types of fur they might be better suited to work on.
Slicker brushes are one of the more popular styles of brushes to use. They feature fine bristles that may either come with straight teeth or teeth that have a slight bend at the end to grab more fur. Bristle brushes can be used for small or mild mats and to get at the undercoat a bit, though maybe not as well as de-shedding tools, shedding blades, or de-matting brushes.
A bristle brush can be a great maintenance tool to have—particularly the self-cleaning slicker brushes—and it’s something we tend to use the most on our Corgi. In fact, we once saw someone describe this slicker brush as the Swiffer of pet brushes, and we think that’s pretty accurate!
Bristle-style brushes usually feature soft bristles and are typically used to remove loose fur. They’re considered ideal for fine, silky, or single-coated pets.
The length of the bristles and the space between them may work differently on various coat lengths, which may be something to pay attention to when looking for the best option.
|Pin Brushes||Best for medium to long-haired coats and curly-haired coats. Pin brushes for pets look similar to many human brushes and tend to come with wooden, silicone, or metal bristles in most cases. These tend to work better on low-maintenance fur types.|
|Pin & Bristle||Pin and bristles brushes are double-sided and tend to be the most all-around brush style that can work on a number of coats to some degree. However, they may not be efficient for “de-shedding” or helping to remove undercoats as other styles of brushes, such as slicker brushes.|
|Rakes||Rake-style brushes tend to look like small rakes and are helpful for brushing out double-coat during their shed season. In some cases, these brushes may look like a de-shedding too rather than a traditional rake. Comb-like rake brushes are more suitable for fine, single, or long coats.|
|De-matting Rakes||De-matting rakes or brushes look similar to rake-style brushes in regards to the handle and the width of the brush, but they usually feature curved, claw-like fingers on the head that are designed to safely cut through matted fur. These are generally ideal for thick or long-haired and double-coated pets that experience tangles and matted fur.|
|De-shedding Brushes||De-shedding brushes or tools are ideal for pets with undercoats and feature blades that look like a cross between a de-matting tool and a rake brush. Furminator brushes are one example of this, although several other options are becoming more widely available.|
|Shedding Blades||Ideal for short to medium-haired dogs and cats, shedding blades are usually double-sided tools that can be used with gentle pressure to help remove undercoats as pets start to shed them. They can come as a straight blade or hoop style.
We love to use this shedding blade on our resident Chief and Editor, Digby, the Corgi, whenever he sheds his double-coat and find that it can work better than many popular de-shedding tools we’ve, including the Furminator. We could see this being useful for Australian Cattle Dogs in particular.
4. Minimize the mess as you brush.
Learn to minimize the mess while brushing to keep fur from flying and dust bunnies at bay.
Microfiber is excellent to use on pets since it can dry them quickly when they’re used dry, and they’re great for trapping any debris, particles, and dander off your pet’s fur when they’re used on them.
Plan ahead and try to brush your pet when you plan to vacuum and/or dust and make sure to do it beforehand to avoid extra work or mess. That way, you can off a few birds with one stone. Otherwise, consider a vacuum nearby to use in the area you brush, and try to avoid doing it around furniture or hard-to-clean areas or known “fur magnets.”
Consider keeping a trash can or bag nearby to collect all the removed fur, and try to keep it in the bag as you work. This will save you from extra steps later, including having to empty the vacuum sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
5. Look into the best de-furring tools for your furniture.
As most pet owners know, removing loose fur from furniture can be done using a vacuum, various DIY methods, or through the use of certain store-bought de-furring or fur removal tools.
However, sometimes things such as the size of the piece of furniture and the material involved can affect what kind of fur removal tool will work best for your pet’s fur. In many cases, more than one method for a particular household, depending on the materials and items involved. Figuring this out can come down to personal preference and experimenting.
Popular Fur Removal Tools
Here’s a list of some of the more popular options for removing fur from items such as clothing, bedding, and furniture.
Self-Cleaning Hair Remover Rollers
Roller-type brushes are growing in popularity due to their level of effectiveness on most types of pet fur. They’re similar to tape-styled rollers, only there’s no need to replace anything and they self-clean themselves. All you need to do is empty out the fur from the onboard bin once it’s full.
These types of rollers come with a handle and work using a back-and-forth motion, which both catches fur onto the non-adhesive nylon surface and cleans it off simultaneously, discarding it into the onboard bin that’s usually just above the handle.
Several different brands make them, and they can sometimes all start to look the same, but you can find the more efficient and better-rated ones here.
We currently use this roller by ChomChom. You can find our review for it here.
Fur and Lint Remover “Brush”
||Similar to the above-mentioned fur remover roller, only it comes in paddle or wand form and isn’t self-cleaning, although some may come with an additional piece to clean the wand. People most often prefer the roller style version for most applications.|
||Broom-styled fur removal tools are long-handled brooms with a rubber-like broom head at the bottom. As with many hair- or fur-removing options out there, rubber-like materials can be great for grabbing and holding onto the fur. This can even be seen with disposable vinyl, latex, or nitrile gloves at times, as well as various silicone items. The fur is usually removed from the broom by hand.|
||Squeegee-style fur-removing tools aren’t the most popular option for large pieces of furniture, but some people prefer their compact size for removing fur from car seats, clothing, and the occasional seat cushion.|
||There fur removing mitts or gloves made out of the same material found on reusable fur-remover rollers, such as the ChomChom and paddle-style brushes, which are usually made up of a type of textured nylon material.
Disposable vinyl or latex gloves can also get the job done pretty well, though it’s not always the most cost-effective or environmentally friendly approach. Dish gloves may also work on some surfaces.
Tape-Styled Lint Roller or Packing Tape
||The classic method for removing fur and hair from furniture, clothing, and other fabric-type surfaces. Packing tape and lint rollers can work particularly well on linen-type fabrics that have a fine weave, such as lampshades and dining chairs
Classic lint rollers can sometimes struggle on thicker materials, such as chenille-type couch surfaces, where hair tends to stick a bit more like Velcro.
While effective, tape-style methods of removing fur have to be replaced, which can add up in cost.
Vacuums made for homes with pets
||Most people tend to prefer to use handheld vacuums or their standard vacuums when they come with that happen to come with upholstery or pet-friendly vacuum attachments, such as the Dyson Ball Vacs and stick vac options. This is generally because they make quick work of de-furring large surfaces, such as couches, floors, carpets, rugs, chairs, etc.
However, it’s also common for households to use both standard cordless or corded vacuums as well as handheld vacs, depending on their mood, preference, and the amount of work needing to be done. And some—including myself at desperate times—even use their stick vacuum on couch surfaces that can handle it, but generally after they’ve cleaned or wiped down the vacuum head first.
You can find a few of the top-selling handheld vacuums made for pet hair or fur removal directly below this section, or find a broader list of options here (new tab).
||These types of “brushes” are just like broom-style brushes that have a rubber-like base on them, only without the long handle. Some prefer these over brooms since they can be stored more easily, thanks to their compact design.|
So far, we find that reuseable, self-cleaning rollers to be the more efficient and cost-saving solution and is our current go-to method for cleaning up fur from furniture. They’re the most universal and good for multipurpose tasks, and they seem to be the easiest to use and clean, which is important for those who may procrastinate with maintenance cleaning or cleaning in general.
However, some surfaces may work better with a handheld vacuum or standard vacuum with upholstery attachments. For linen-type materials, such as what’s commonly used on lampshades, good old packing tape or a tape-style lint roller works best, in our opinion, and it’s a great way to dust those surfaces as well.
6. Dust at least once a week.
Dust isn’t just a product of dirt flying in the air but also human and animal dander, which many people can also be allergic to and may not even know it.
While wiping your pet down with a lightly damp microfiber cloth can help keep pet fur under control, as can routine bathes and grooming when appropriate, so can dusting before the dust has the chance to accumulate in the first place. And the more you do it, the easier and faster you’ll get at it.
Try to work from top to bottom and move in the same direction around the room each time to help turn it into a physical habit. Over time, you should also become faster and more efficient at it, speeding up your overall cleaning time. Working from top to bottom will also prevent extra dusting due to fewer dust particles falling onto areas you’ve already cleaned.
You can do “dry” maintenance cleaning most weeks using a stick duster (our top pick: Swiffer 360). And then maybe follow up with a detailed wipedown of items once ever so often, or “wet” dusting, such as with a lightly damp microfiber cloth, whether once a month, every other month, or quarterly if you keep up on the maintenance dusting well enough
Make sure to dust and then vacuum a short while afterward to ensure that whatever got left behind or landed on the floor later is picked up too.
Invest in a good-quality and effective duster. There are various duster options on the market, but it’s good to find one that isn’t only good at trapping fur but will help make dusting easier and faster. Top-rated ones usually include microfiber, like this one by Oxo, as well our favorite go-to, non-negotiable duster of choice, which is this particular Swiffer 360.
7. Vacuum at least once a week, if not daily or every other day.
Vacuuming a minimum of once a week is often necessary when you have fur babies in order to keep pet fur under control—especially in the main areas of your home. Otherwise, not doing so may lead to their fur building up, which may become a bigger mess and more of a nuisance to clean up later.
If your pet sheds often and once a week isn’t cutting it, you may want to consider vacuuming daily or every other day. Again, try to at least focus on the main areas of the house or whatever rooms you and the rest of your household—especially your pets—hang out the most. And, if possible, try to include the most frequently used furniture in the mix (i.e., couch), whether with your vacuum or a de-furring tool.
The Upside to Vacuuming More often
While vacuuming daily or several times a week may sound like a nightmare to most folks who hate cleaning, there are also numerous upsides involved with vacuuming more consistently that may make it worth your while.
For instance, you can get vacuuming and a few other daily chores are done in under 10-15 minutes, all while gaining the benefit of a cleaner-looking home each day and setting your day off with a productive, proactive sense of accomplishment to launch your day.
In fact, even just the sign of vacuum lines and knowing your home looks and feels cleaner can fire off feel-good signals in the brain, especially if you do it earlier in the day.
Secondly, you’ll be more than likely to get more fur out of carpet and furniture for the most part, since the average person tends to move their vacuum too quickly to get fur up out of the fibers adequately.
Vacuuming more often can help to reduce allergens and some odors in your home. It can also help, mainly by helping to reduce the smorgasbord of their favorite food: human and pet skin cells (a.k.a. dander buffet). Yummy!
Consider getting a vacuum cleaner that will make it easier and more likely for you to vacuum at least once a week, if not several times a week. Most people find it easier to use a vacuum that’s lightweight (no more than 10 lbs) and cordless, such as some of these options here.
Not sure you can handle vacuuming once a week, much less daily?
Consider trying robot vacuums. While robot vacuums can’t quite replace deep-cleaning vacuums, they can be fantastic for maintenance upkeep. And fortunately these days, more and more options are becoming available, causing more affordable pricing as a result.
And if you’re truly lazy and or time-constrained, as we sometimes tend to be, you may just find that a self-cleaning robot vacuum cleaner could be the way to go, particularly if you have multiple stories at home or a lot of pets.
8. Invest in a decent, lightweight, fur-friendly vacuum.
We once had to learn the hard way that not all vacuums are created equal after I saw how much fur had been trapped in our old carpet a few years ago, just from one dog and despite vacuuming fairly regularly.
Part of the problem is that most people tend to rush when they vacuum, not giving the vacuum enough time to agitate carpet fibers and suck up any debris.
The other issue is that some vacuums downright suck, only in the wrong way. They either don’t provide enough suction or agitation, or even a mix of both. This is why it can be essential to research before buying a vacuum, which we’ll be covering in another article soon.
Either way, you’ll also want something that you’ll actively use. Even if a vacuum is the best in the business and costs a small fortune, if it’s too big or heavy, or you have to move the plug to a different outlet constantly, then you’re probably not going to use it often enough or may even become fatigued when you do use it.
Quick Vacuum Shopping Tips
9. Consider having your carpets cleaned.
Cleaning your carpets at least once throughout the year (though ideally more often) can help suck up stubborn pet fur that even the most robust vacuums will leave behind. And that’s not even delving into all the other gross stuff carpet cleaners can pull up.
Carpet cleaning is also great for combating normal wear and tear from heavy foot traffic, where dirt and debris can get trapped inside the fibers. And it’s an ideal way to combat anything from fleas to dust mites and odors.
Professional or DIY
You can choose to have your carpets done by a professional outfit or opt to do them yourself. Some people will even use their machines every quarter to keep their carpet looking great and home smelling fresh year-round, whether using water, water and vinegar, or a store-bought solution.
If you choose to do things on your own, just make sure to research how to do it properly, using sources such as Youtube. We’ll be covering this topic soon, so stay tuned.
Because no two machines are alike, it’s also important to make sure to do your research on when purchasing a carpet clean, if that’s something you’re interested in doing. Make sure that it provides adequate suction, agitating, and cleaning capability.
It’s also important not to oversaturate your carpet or to use too much soap.
Above all, make sure to “rinse” the soap out with clean water only, and it’s often beneficial to do a few dry passes after.
What We Currently Use and Recommend
Carpet cleaning is a big deal for us, and it’s something we try to do every quarter at least.
Our top pick out of the many we’ve tried or owned is this gem of a unit made by Bissell, which is specifically designed for pets and offers just the right amount of suction, agitation, and cleaning power while offering a lightweight, vacuum-style design.
It was a bit of a surprise to enjoy this unit so much, considering we didn’t care at all for Bissell’s other cleaners, but it’s surpassed even the commercial Rug Doctor we previously owned along with a few other options.
10. Make sure to change your home’s filters.
Pet hair can regularly get trapped in or even clog up various filters in the home that are designed to trap debris, like pet hair. This can include anything from your vacuum filters, which typically need to be changed monthly, air purifiers, and your furnace/AC filter.
Changing your filters will help reduce pet fur, dust, dander, and debris in your home in the future, all while allowing the product the filter works with to work more efficiently (i.e., AC unit, vacuum, etc.)
If you frequently forget to change or clean your filters, whether in your vacuum, air purifier, or rest of your home, you can set recurring reminders for yourself by using your phone, home hub, or another smart device. Or go the analog route and mark it in your calendar or planner each month or as necessary.
11. Try using adequate air purifiers in high-traffic areas. (Optional)
While this is purely optional, air purifiers can greatly help keep pet fur under control —particularly when it’s flying through the air, frolicking about in a sea of dust moats, just before honeymooning underneath the nearest and most neglected piece of furniture.
Air purifiers can also reduce your dusting and cleaning efforts. And they’re ideal for a few other pet-related concerns, including dander and good ole pet allergens.
Choosing the Right One
Regardless of which air purifying unit you get, if you decide to get one, make sure to get something that’s rated to work in the size room you plan to place it in. This is because most air purifiers are advertised and rated going by their highest or maxed-out setting.
It’s also important to pay attention to the filter, how good it is, how many layers are involved, how much replacement filters might cost, or whether the filter can be cleaned and reused again.
Some units also come with filters and features that are designed with pets in mind, while others may also target things such as general allergens, dust, mold, odors, pet odors, and/or heavy smoke.
Popular & Efficient Air Purifiers for Larger Spaces w/ Pets
Based on our previous research while looking for air purifiers for our own home, here’s our shortlist of the top-rated and most efficient air purifiers for large spaces and households with pets.
We currently own this model by Alen Breathesmart for our open-concept living room and dining area, which is still running strong years later. It’s definitely the most efficient, comes with one serious-looking filter, has some of the best features on the market, and it’s still our overall favorite one out of the other units we have scattered throughout the house or have previously owned.
In this post, we covered 11 different ways on how to keep pet fur under control at home, such as what’s listed below. We also provided plenty of additional tips, tricks, and in-depth information for each step or method for those who prefer to have a little more insight.
Our Favorite Fur-Busting Picks