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My friend Lauren recently complained that no matter what she did, she couldn’t wash her dog Desmond’s hair out of his blankets. I laughed because SAME, GIRL. Same.
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There’s something about short dog hair that seems to weave itself right into the fabric and nothing but the jaws of life can wrench it loose. Luckily, in my 10+ years as a Dog Mom whose pug beagle cross sheds like it’s his darn job I’ve learned a few things about how to wash dog hair out of clothes and blankets.
When it comes to dog hair in fabric, the best defense is a good offense.
Dog hair still happens though! No matter how good of a house keeper you are and how much you are on your cleaning game, dogs are going to shed. Luckily, we’ve spent years perfecting our routine for fur-free laundry.
Wiry dog hair embeds itself in wet fabrics.
Have you ever washed something and felt like it came out of the machines with more dog hair stuck on it than when it went in? Yeah. ME TOO.
For the longest time, I was baffled by this phenomenon. Especially with cotton fabrics, I was surprised time and time again when I’d pull them out of the wash and it would look like the dog hairs had become one with the fabric. It doesn’t have to be this way. My secret laundry weapon is actually the dryer. Toss your laundry into the dryer with a couple of wool dryer balls and a damp microfibre cloth for 10 minutes on the low or no heat cycle BEFORE you put it in the washer.
The dryer will pull loose dog hair out of the fabric and into the lint trap or onto the microfibre cloth, meaning less hair goes into your washer. (Don’t forget to clean the lint trap before your wet laundry goes back in.)
Reduce static cling and fuzzy clothes and that funky dog smell with white vinegar.
I swear by white vinegar. It is one of my absolute favourite go-to cleaning wonder ingredients and laundry is no exception. Toss one cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle to help relax fabrics and release dog hairs. As an added bonus, white vinegar also reduces static cling and it kills tough odours, like wet dog or that frito feet yeast smell some dogs get. PRO TIP: I’m the actual worst for forgetting to add the vinegar, but you can buy the Downy Balls meant for fabric softener and fill them with white vinegar and they work just fine. If your washer has a built in fabric softener dispenser you can use that as well.
Consider supersizing your laundry routine by adding fur-fighting extras.
Full disclosure? I’ve never used this thing, but my friend Heather from OK Collars, who has two labs who love to swim and shed like a mofo, swears by the FurZapper. These slightly tacky, flexible reusable discs go in your wash and act like a magnet for pet hair. You can use them in both the washer and the dryer, but you don’t want to use them with fabric softener or dryer sheets which are like their kryptonite.
Keep natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics separate.
Synthetic fabrics supercharge static in your laundry. Natural fabrics attract dog hair like the dickens. When you wash them together, you get the WORST of both worlds. By washing and drying these fabrics separately, you’ll cut down on the static that keeps dog hair stuck on your clothes.
Wash the dog hair out of your washing machine.
Have you ever gone to soak a load of laundry and noticed a fine film of hair floating over the surface of the water? Oh the joys of dog ownership, right? Dog hair doesn’t just stick to your clothes and fabrics, it sticks to your washing machine too.
Regularly run your washer with a vinegar rinse and no detergent to clear it of stuck dog hairs. Wipe out the washer with a damp microfibre cloth when it’s done draining making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, around the rim of the basin, the lid and in any detergent or softener dispensers. For stubborn hairs, you can vacuum a dry washing machine with the upholstery attachment.
A clean dryer means cleaner clothes.
Dog hair in the dryer is my Mount Everest. No matter what I do, I swear there’s always a stray hair up in there. However, there are things you can do to greatly reduce the amount of dog hair in your clothes dryer.
Thoroughly clean the lint trap, the follow that up by vacuuming with the crevice tool. Take the lint screen outside and use a soft brush to remove any stuck hair. Grab up stubborn hairs in your lint trap by sticking a lint brush in the opening and moving it around the edges.
If dog hair persists even after a thorough cleaning, you might have a clogged drain pump filter. The good news is this can be cleaned too, but you’ll have to find the manufacturer’s directions for your machine to do it – or call in a pro.
Remove dog hair from your dryer mid-cycle.
Your dryer’s lint trap is a magical place. It can help capture dog hair on your clothes and whisk it away, but if it’s over full, it can also release dog hair right back into your laundry. Clean your lint trap thoroughly after every. single. load. and make sure you are cleaning your vent hose and screen frequently as well. For super hairy laundry loads, like dog blankets or towels? Clean the lint trap halfway through the dry cycle to ensure your lint trap isn’t full and can continue to keep hair at bay.
Wash fabrics often.
Wash your dog hair hot spots, like blankets, sheets and favourite clothes often. The less time between washes, the less time for hair to build up! We wash our sheets every single week to keep dog hair and dog smell out of our bed.
When in doubt, lint roll it out.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there is that ONE DOG HAIR that just will not come off your clothes. It makes me want to scream. In these cases, a quick once over with a sticky lint roller will usually take care of the problem.