For many pet owners, hair shedding is a serious problem. Shedding makes a mess, no doubt about it. 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 that we tackle the constant pet hair around our homes 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 meets the eye.

As we continue to spend more time indoors with pets, Senior Mechanical Engineer James McCrae shares tips on how to keep your home pet-hair-free. Dyson Engineers have put the hours in to understand how to clean them up effectively. Read on for some top tips on how best to remove pet hairs from your home.

How are pet hair different?

Pet hair shares many similarities with human hair. But there are some key differences that make pet hair particularly difficult to clean. 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. For example dog 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 the 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 them that’s invisible to the naked eye. Pet dander is just one of those things. 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.

When we design vacuum cleaners, we test with dust from real homes and not just industry-standard material, because we know that organic matter like pet hair and dander is often caught up in household dust and will have a big impact on how the machine functions. In the development of our vacuums, we go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that our technology will work effectively for our owners. In our Pick-Up Laboratory, we test how effective our machines are at removing pet hair from different floor types – from industry standard carpets, all the way to tatami matting commonly found in Japan.

So how can we maintain a healthy home while still sharing it with man’s best friend? James McCrea, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Dyson shares his top cleaning tips, engineered for pet owners.

  • 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 this with slow vacuuming using a Mini-Motorised tool, designed with nylon bristles to remove embedded pet hair and dander.

  • Follow the top to bottom cleaning approach

Like dust, pet hair and dander can become airborne when disturbed and fall onto lower surfaces, so start cleaning 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. A Mini-Motorised tool is great for furniture you can’t put in the wash.

  • 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 of pet hair. If you’re tight on time, using a robot cleaner to remove pet hair while you’re out will keep pet hair under control between more thorough cleans.

  • Go 360 degrees: 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° degrees 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