5 Ways to Remove Pet Hair from a Sofa

From vacuuming to using common household items in unexpected ways, these tips take the fur out of furniture.

As pet parents, we love our furry friends—but oh, that fur! The fur itself is harder to love, especially when it's all over everything we own, including (and especially) the sofa.

Keeping pet hair from overtaking the couch can seem like an insurmountable task, and indeed, it does require regular work. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive tools and clever techniques to help keep Fluffy's fluff at bay, with no plastic coverings required!

weavings hanging above boston terrier sitting on gen z yellow couch

David A. Land

Understanding Your Sofa Type

Couch manufacturers developed a cleaning code or legend that's important to seek out before you clean your couch in any way. The code, which appears on the care tag that is sewn onto an inconspicuous area of the sofa (usually the underside of the seat) will appear as one of four letter symbols. Here's what they are and what they mean:

  • W = Wet/water cleaning only
  • S = Dry solvent cleaning only
  • SW = Dry solvent and/or wet cleaning
  • X = Professional cleaning or vacuuming only

In addition, any other special instructions will be enumerated on the care tag. The techniques described in this article for removing hair from a couch are safe for most furniture and fabric types, but consulting the care tag before undertaking any cleaning effort is always advised.

living room with dogs

Erin Little

1. Vacuum for the Deepest Clean

The best way to remove pet hair from a couch is also the most straightforward. Vacuuming the sofa will give you the biggest bang for your cleaning buck: A vacuum will pick up loose pet hair and remove dander and other animal body soils that trigger allergies and leave behind odors.

Vacuum your sofa regularly using the upholstery brush attachment. If your vacuum didn't come with one or if you've misplaced it, inexpensive universal attachment sets can be purchased online or at home improvement or hardware stores. Look for a set that includes an upholstery brush attachment as well as a crevice tool, which can help with detail work like vacuuming along a sofa's seams, where hair can become stubbornly embedded.

If using a full-size vacuum several times a week to detail the furniture isn't ideal, a handheld vacuum is a worthwhile investment. Tucking a small handheld vacuum in the room you most often use can also help to make this chore a cinch; simply reach for it to give furniture a quick once over instead of getting out your regular vacuum.

2. Use Hair Removal Tools for Upkeep

Small hair-removing tools like sticky rollers and furniture brushes are another important weapon in your fur-fighting arsenal. These tools can be used in between vacuuming to keep hair at bay.

Traditional sticky fabric rollers are one option for pet hair management. But for furniture, bypass the standard sticky roller and opt for a specialty roller to make the job faster and easier. Oversized or jumbo sticky rollers are ideal for use on furniture because they can cover more area with each pass. Another style to look for is an oversized sticky roller with an extendable handle, which can help to mitigate some of the awkwardness of rolling large pieces of furniture (they're also fantastic for removing hair from hard-to-reach places, like curtains).

Reusable furniture brushes and rollers are used the same way as sticky rollers—pass them over the sofa for quick and easy pet hair pickup—but instead of sticky paper, they use microfibers to attract and capture hair. Reusable fur removers are a more cost-effective solution than sticky rollers, and they create less waste.

3. Remove Pet Hair with Common Household Items

Purchasing specialty tools for pet hair removal isn't necessary, as some common household items will do the same job as sticky rollers and furniture brushes. One of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to remove pet hair from couches and other upholstered furniture is to don a rubber household glove and simply run your hand over the surface. The rubber causes the hair to ball up into a wad that can be picked up and deposited in the trash. Getting the glove slightly damp can help this process, but be sure to consult the cleaning legend on your sofa to be sure the fabric can be safely exposed to water. Similarly, a slightly damp dish sponge can be used in the same way as a rubber glove to pick up pet hair from a sofa.

4. Remove Hair from Slipcovers, Throw Pillows, and Blankets Before Washing

Before laundering slipcovers, throw pillows, blankets, and other removable textiles, address pet hair buildup. Use a roller, brush, glove, or sponge to give the fabric a once-over before tossing furry items in the washing machine.

In-wash products can also help to remove pet hair. Hair catchers for washing machines attract and grab onto fur as it loosens from fabric, and can be used over and over again, making them a budget- and environmentally-friendly choice. The use of laundry boosters like white vinegar or fabric softener can also help to loosen fur from fabrics in the wash.

5. Get Some Grooming Tools

One of the best things you can do to keep your sofa (relatively) fur-free is to groom your pet regularly. Consult with your vet or groomer for recommendations for how often your pet's particular coat should be brushed, washed, and groomed at home and professionally. All three are an important part of keeping your pet's coat healthy—and keeping it off your furniture! 

Grooming gloves, which help to reduce shedding by removing the dead coat and straightening hair follicles to help them hold onto the hair longer, can be used the same way as rubber gloves to remove pet hair from a couch. Simply run a clean grooming glove over the upholstery, allowing it to grab loose hairs for easy pickup.

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