Taking care of pets is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and can even lead to an increased quality of life. According to Time, research shows that having a dog or cat is linked with lower blood pressure levels and heart rates, as well as putting pet owners at a reduced risk for heart disease. Roughly 70% of households in the United States own at least one pet, per American Pet Products Association, with cats and dogs being the most common.
While having a pet is great, it’s also a lot of work. Aside from tending to their basic needs, you also have a host of new chores as a result of your furry friend. Whether you’re cleaning out a litter box or sweeping up heaps of dog hair, having a pet undoubtedly adds steps to your cleaning routine. Your laundry is likely one of the main areas affected by pet hair, which can impact both the machinery and your clothes.
Dry your clothes first
Whether you’re cuddling with your dog or lounging in bed with your cat, their fur is inevitably going to get all over your clothes and bedding. This can be incredibly annoying to get rid of, but there are ways to reduce shedding, as well as remove excess pet hair from the washing machine. As Kol’s Notes points out, keeping shedding to a minimum prevents pet hair from being such a hassle in the first place. Make sure to regularly brush your furry friend, and vacuum not only your floors but their favorite lounging spots — beds, couches, etc. — on a frequent, if not daily, basis.
Despite your best efforts, though, dog and cat fur will still find its way into your laundry pile. One of the most effective ways to get rid of excessive pet hair is to actually dry your laundry before washing it, which will knock off some of that fur. Adding dryer balls will enhance the effectiveness of this method.
Run a cycle of vinegar
No matter how hard you try to keep pet hair out of your laundry, it’s very likely that there will still be some that gets washed out in the washing machine. While this may not seem like a big deal, pet hair can seriously damage your laundry machines. According to Consumer Reports, the hair clumps up and sticks to the machinery, which can eventually lead to improper drainage. This not only damages your washing machine but your entire home’s plumbing system.
There are ways to clean built-up pet fur out of your washing machine, though. Simply using a wet rag to wipe down the empty drum can be incredibly effective if done regularly, per Hepper. Still, you should deep clean your washing machine semi-regularly to prevent hidden buildup. Do this by running a completely empty cycle with warm water and some kind of cleaning agent. This can be a specific washing machine cleaner, bleach, or even just detergent. Vinegar and water also work great, and can even be added in with your regular laundry cycles. Don’t forget to check the water pump filter, too.