Creature comfort: Dyson engineers reveal the best cleaning regime for pets
Dyson Engineers are obsessed with making machines that clean better, especially when it comes to pets and healthy homes. Here, James McCrea, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Dyson, reveals his top tips and cleaning regime for pet owners.
27 August 2021
Pet Hair Problem
For many pet owners, the frustration of constantly cleaning up hair is an everyday problem, particularly as we spend more time indoors. But spotting the hair is half the battle. Beyond the locks left behind is a world of microscopic mess consisting of skin, hair and dirt. Here's how to deal with it.
“Pet hair shares many similarities with human hair,” says James McCrea, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Dyson. "They are both structured in the same way and they tend to have a similar thickness. But there are some key differences that make pet hair particularly difficult to clean.”
Human hair grows continuously, growing longer and thicker in the process (the anagen phase), which can last between two to seven years. The hair follicle will eventually reach the catagen phase when it stops growing. But animal hair stops growing as soon as it reaches a certain length and sheds to be replaced by new hair. This can change between the seasons, with certain dog breeds, like German Shepherds, Collies and Samoyeds shedding more hair in the spring and autumn to make way for their summer pelts. That's why you find more pet hair at certain times of the year.
Dyson Engineers' top tips for pet hair cleaning at home:
1. Groom the source of the problem: Pets shed fur all the time as their hair reaches the catagen phase – the stage in a hair’s life cycle stops growing. They shed much more regularly than humans, so grooming your pet frequently will avoid hair being deposited in 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. Explore all Dyson vacuum tools.
2. Clean from top to bottom: 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 armchairs and sofa, especially 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.
3. Wash pet blankets and remove covers: Washing blankets, cushions and bedding (wherever your pets spend the most time!) at 60 degrees Celsius 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.
4. Vacuum slowly: Vacuuming slowly gives the airflow and brush bar more time to “agitate” the pet hair and remove it from the surface.
5. “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. 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.
6. Vacuum often: 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.
7. 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.