For many pet owners, hair shedding is a serious problem. As a pet owner, you have probably come to terms with the fact that regular house cleaning is the norm, especially during shedding season. While we all love our furry friends, it is important to tackle pet hair for the health and hygiene of everyone at home. And while we can see the hair our pets leave behind, there’s more to fur and fluff than what meets the eye.
How are pet hair different?
Animal hair stops growing as soon as it reaches a certain length and sheds to be replaced by new hair and this can change between the seasons. “Breeds like German Shepherds, Collies and Samoyeds will shed more hair in the spring and autumn to make way for their summer pelts, which can explain why you find pet hair constantly at certain times of year.
“Pet hair has a tendency to embed onto a carpeted surface or electrostatically stick to a hard floor surface. This is where vacuum cleaners come to the rescue. Beyond the pet hair and food you can see, there is a host of microscopic life that pets bring in with. Pet dander is just one of those things; it is composed of tiny, microscopic, skin particles shed by pets with fur or feathers. It can be shed onto surfaces or transported through the air in household dust,” said James McCrea, senior mechanical engineer at Dyson.
How can we maintain a healthy home while still sharing it with man’s best friend? McCrea shared his top cleaning tips.
Practise to groom your pet regularly
Pets shed fur all the time as their hair reaches the catagen phase – the stage in a hair’s life cycle stops growing – more regularly than humans, so grooming your pet regularly will avoid hair being deposited all over your home. Groom your pet in the same area and spot; clean with slow vacuuming using a mini-motorised tool, designed with nylon bristles.
Follow the top to bottom cleaning approach
Like dust, pet hair and dander can become airborne when disturbed, and fall onto lower surfaces. Clean up high and finish on your floors. Don’t miss out your sofa or armchairs if you pets spend time there. Soft furnishings can hold pet hair as well as pet dander, dust mites and other allergens.
Go slow with vacuuming
Vacuuming slowly gives the airflow and brush bar more time to ‘agitate’ the pet hair and remove it from the surface. Pet hair is more likely to clump on carpets or form tumbleweed on hard floor surfaces than human hair. Vacuuming ‘little and often’ prevents excessive build-up. If you’re tight on time, using a robot cleaner while you’re out will keep pet hair under control between more thorough cleans.
Vacuum in different directions
Go over the carpet a few times in alternating directions to pick up more pet hair and agitate some of those embedded ones loose. But don’t forget, any more than two or three times gives minimal increase according to our research.
‘Peel’ pet hair from surfaces
Some vacuums are engineered with nylon and carbon fibre bristles at their cleaner head to disturb the hair and ‘peel’ it off the surface on which it’s electrostatically stuck. Using a cleaner head with a lint picker strip will stick the pet hair to it – a lint roller can do the job in some cases, but it won’t be able to remove the pet dander that causes allergies.
Wash your linen/upholstery
Washing blankets, cushions and bedding – wherever your pets spend the most time – at 60° will help to break down allergens and reduce the amount of microscopic dander that dust mites feed on. At the end of the wash, make sure you remove any pet hair out of the drum.