Head bunts, petting sessions, and couch snuggles are some of the sweetest times cats and their humans share—but also the times you’re most likely to get covered in cat fur. And figuring out how to get cat hair off clothes can be surprisingly tricky.
Like all hair-covered animals, cats do shed some hair every day. They typically undergo major shed-and-grow hair cycles in the fall and spring, as they develop and then lose their winter coats. And some experts believe that since indoor cats don’t experience the winter and summer weather that outdoor ones do, their bodies may be confused into constant, year-round shedding.
Whatever the case, we understand your cat-hair-on-clothes woes—and we have solutions.
Cat Hair on Clothes: Why It’s a Problem
There are plenty of reasons you may not want to be coated in cat hair. Maybe you’re about to spend time with people who suffer from cat allergies. Maybe you have a major work meeting or are headed to a fancy event. Or maybe you just don’t like being covered in cat hair—and we don’t blame you!
Clothes covered in cat hair can even put a key appliance at risk: When mixed with water, cat hair forms into large clumps that can block up your washing machine’s drain holes and pumps and strain your plumbing system.
How to Remove Cat Hair From Clothes
“When you’re talking about cat hair and how it clings to everything, static electricity plays a large part,” says Jessica Ek, director of digital communications for the American Cleaning Institute. “One of the key things is reducing that static electricity.”
To break static cling, Ek says to apply moisture, assuming it’s not a dry clean-only garment.
Step 1: Lightly wet your hands or a paper towel.
Step 2: Brush your wet hands or the paper towel over any cat hair on your clothes to help the hair form large clumps.
Step 3: Use your hands to lift off the large clumps of cat hair from your clothes and throw it out accordingly.
Moistened dryer sheets or damp rubber gloves work nicely, too. “Anti-static spray can also help keep the fur from clinging to clothes in the first place,” Ek says.
For dry-clean fabrics or lighter dustings of hair, Ek says to use a lint roller or inside-out masking tape to lift the cat hair off clothes.
“And probably the easiest thing to do, depending on the cat, is more regular grooming and brushing so the hair isn’t coming off so much,” she says.
How to Get Cat Hair Off Clothes in the Washing Machine
To keep your washer running smoothly, it’s best to remove any significant cat hair from clothes before running them through the machine. Try any of the methods above, or run clothes through a 10-minute, no-heat dryer cycle—along with a dryer sheet to banish that static cling—before washing. (Be sure to empty the lint trap right after.)
When you’re washing, try adding white vinegar as a natural fabric softener to help loosen cat hair from clothes in the washing machine. Bleach can also help dissolve cat hair during a wash cycle.
When it’s dry time, toss in an anti-static dryer sheet or a dryer ball to help break up static cling and loosen any remaining pet hair.
Removing Cat Hair From Clothes On the Go
Ek recommends keeping a small lint roller in your purse or car, or even packing a few dryer sheets for quick, cat-hair wipe-downs. And even if you’re empty-handed, don’t forget that an empty hand can work too. Just wet it with a little water and wipe across cat hair to break the static cling and form easy-to-remove hair clumps.
Cat Hair Removal Products to Consider
While you don’t necessarily need cat hair removal products to remove cat hair from clothes, they do make life easier. Here are some product picks to consider to help banish the fluff.
Any dryer sheet should be fine for sucking up pet hair in the dryer or, when dampened, wiping it off clothes. Just be sure the box specifically says the sheets are anti-static, Ek says, though most of them are.
A set of basic wool dryer balls will bounce around your machine, gathering up stray cat hair that then travels straight into your lint trap.
Good for a quick, small-area de-hairing—especially on the go—but overall not the most effective or eco-friendly option.
A product like Static Guard can help release static-stuck pet hair from clothes and even stop it from clinging in the first place.
Basic rubber dish gloves can easily remove pet hair from clothes if you dampen them first.