Hair, There, Everywhere!

Choosing certain fabrics for furniture can help keep cat hair at bay. Here are some other household hints to tame the problem.

Does your Persian accompany you to work each day by leaving her hair on your suit? Does your furniture look like fur instead of the woven fabric you chose when you bought it? Are you drowning in cat hair every time you walk across your living room?


Every cat owner lives with cat hair – which inexplicably seems to cling to everything. Cat hairs are needle-like and catch on things, says Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean, whose show, Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean, airs Monday through Friday on the DIY Network (visit them at Cat hair has body oils from the cat, and cats groom a lot, which makes it stick even more.

If you have a shorthaired cat, especially one with an undercoat, you can actually expect to do more hair cleanup duty than you might with a longhaired cat. Short guard hairs shed more, explains Cobb. Short hair is coated with more oils because its closer to a cats skin and therefore sticks to things more.

Plan Your Major Purchases
If youre contemplating buying new furniture, some fabrics may attract cat hair less than others. Fabric that has an open weave will collect hair more, says Cobb.  Cat hair is less likely to stick to more tightly woven fabrics. Leather attracts hair even less, but has other problems. A cats toenails leave little pin holes in leather furniture, says Cobb, and cats flex their feet when jumping onto or off of the furniture.

Carpets collect cat hair more than hardwood floors and require frequent vacuuming. Cats leave more body oils where they lie down, says Cobb. If you have allergies, they may become more pronounced if you have carpeting. Wood is easier to clean, but it also leaves hair loose to float in the air.

If you want to scoop up cat hair from hardwood or vinyl floors, use a microfiber mop. My favorite is the Act Natural mop, which can be purchased in pet stores, says Cobb. It has a head designed to pick up pet hair and its washable. (You can visit them at The Act Natural cleans without chemicals, so it may be safer for pets. It lasts years, and you dont have to continually buy any replacements for it, says Cobb.

If your cat likes to watch the world go by from a favorite window, curtains made of washable fabrics may be more practical than Roman or paper shades.

Household Tips
To clean carpeting, use a powerful upright vacuum cleaner with a beater bar, and vacuum at least every other day. The beater bar sucks up the hair, says Cobb. Use the attachments to vacuum hair in corners and around the edges of a room. If your cat has a carpeted cat tree, use a hairbrush to brush the hair into a pile and then vacuum it up with one of the attachments.

To clean cat hair from clothing or furniture, try using a damp sponge or dampened rubber gloves. These roll hair up, and you can rinse them off in a bucket, says Cobb. One of Cobbs favorite tools is a soot and dirt removal sponge. You use them dry and they last for ages, says Cobb. Soot and dirt sponges – which are sold in pet stores – are inexpensive and can be laundered.

Other tools to remove hair from clothing include sticky rollers and masking tape, or placing the clothing in the dryer on the air fluff cycle with a pair of pantyhose or some nylon netting. The nylon grips hold of the hair, says Cobb. When laundering, add between a quarter and a full cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle to keep hair from sticking to clothes. White vinegar makes a good fabric softener, too, says Cobb.

If cat hair remains stuck to the washing machine after youve removed a load of clothing, run it through one rinse cycle to prevent the hair from sticking to future loads.