It can be fun to take a dog in your car. You and your dog can travel to awesome places and no doubt experience all sorts of adventures together. You know what’s not fun? The clean-up after. When your dog gets out, they’ll leave behind piles of hair. Some of this hair clings to the upholstery and it is very tough to remove. Your average vacuum cleaner won’t grab all of it. You won’t be able to pick it up either. So, how do you clean dog hair from the car?
Dog hair sticks easily to your vehicle’s upholstery due to static electricity. When rubbed against, the upholstery generates a static charge, pulling those hairs in. This makes it impossible to just pick the hairs up. You’ll need to use a combination of methods to clean the upholstery. We recommend using pet vacuum cleaners, duct tape, and fabric softeners. You can even use balloons to remove the most stubborn hairs.
On this page, we want to show you how to clean dog hair from the car. We won’t lie. It’ll be a lot of effort. It could take hours for you to get every strand of hair. But, if you want your car to look close to pristine, then you’ll love our advice.
How Do I Clean Dog Hair From The Car?
We wish that we could give you a magical solution for removing dog hair in your vehicle. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. There is no ‘one trick’ that is guaranteed to work. You’ll need to use a combination of methods. Even then, you may struggle with removing some of the tougher hairs. If you have a dog, you should resign yourself to having vehicle upholstery that is always slightly ‘hairy’. Still, the following methods should help you to eradicate most of the problem. At the very least, your car will look more presentable.
You can grab most of that dog hair with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure it is a proper pet hair vacuum cleaner, though. They are much more effective at dealing with pet hair, plus they don’t get clogged up as easily. Non-pet vacuum cleaners, when used regularly on pet hair, will break.
Pet hair vacuum cleaners work tremendously well at lifting looser hair from upholstery. So, a quick pass through your vehicle and you’ll pull most of it up. You’ll be left with a few stray hairs, but we’ll deal with those using other methods.
If you have pets, chances are you already have a lint roller. They are those small sticks with an adhesive roller on the end. Pretty simple to use. As the name suggests, you roll it over whatever you want to clean. It couldn’t be easier.
A lint roller can grab some of the stray hairs that your vacuum cleaner couldn’t. It shouldn’t damage the upholstery in your vehicle either since the adhesive has been designed for fabric.
Lint rollers are most effective if you are removing the hair immediately. Leave it for more than a few hours, and you’re making your life harder.
If you still have some tricky hairs to tackle, then grab yourself a spray bottle and some fabric softener. Any fabric softener will do but choose something that you enjoy the smell of. You’ll be coating your car’s upholstery in it, after all!
Making your fabric softener concoction is easy:
- Fill up a spray bottle with water.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of fabric softener.
- Put the lid on the spray bottle.
- Give it a good shake.
You can now spray the fabric softener directly onto any stubborn hair. This should loosen them up, allowing them to quickly be lifted with a lint roller or a vacuum cleaner. In some cases, you can just rub a piece of tissue paper over the surface and pull the hairs up.
Do bear in mind that fabric softener could potentially discolor some car upholstery. If you are unsure, spray the fabric softener on something a bit ‘out of view’ and leave it for a few minutes. If it doesn’t discolor it, then you’re good to go.
This method is a bit ‘tricky’, since if you are too heavy-handed with your wire brushing, it could damage your upholstery. So, this may be a last resort for stubborn hairs that you can’t bear to look at.
Pick yourself up a fine-strand wire brush. It will drastically lower the risk of scratching the fabric. You’ll then want to run it ever so gently over the upholstery. Don’t push down. Just let it glide over. The wire brush should get underneath the hair, lifting it up.
If you have a steam cleaner with a wire brush attachment, then you may want to use that. The steam does a wonderful job at releasing stuck-on hair.
Once again, we cannot stress how important it is that you are gentle using this method. Poke too much with the wire brush and you’ll have a problem far more unsightly than any pet hair would be.
This is a method that tends to work with some of the looser hairs. The hairs where a vacuum cleaner and lint roller may not be lifting them, but something that isn’t clinging strong enough to need to pull out the wire brushes.
This method is simple. Grab some rubber gloves (clean ones!), stick them on your hand, make them a bit wet, and rub your fingers over the dog hair.
If all goes to plan, the dog hair should stick to the rubber gloves. You can then give the rubber gloves a wash and they are ready to be used again.
Remember the lint roller from earlier? Great! It is a very effective method for removing dog hair. The problem is that lint rollers have a very light adhesive. This is to prevent them from tearing the fabric on clothing. Sometimes, that adhesive isn’t enough to remove dog hairs in a vehicle. You’ll need something stronger, and this is where duct tape comes in.
Duct tape is a piece of tape with a very strong adhesive. It is used for all sorts of repair jobs. Most people will probably have some duct tape kicking around their homes. So, let’s put it to use and remove that dog hair!
Tear yourself off a small strip of duct tape. Push it up against the hair, and gently lift it up. The best part? You can keep using that same piece of duct tape. Use it to lift up any stubborn hair until it loses its adhesiveness. This is a very effective method and it should get most of the dog hair. In fact, if the dog hair isn’t too old, it should remove all of it.
We don’t recommend duct tape for all situations, though. The adhesive is strong. It may damage or discolor your vehicle’s upholstery. As with some of the other dog hair removal methods, use it in a hidden area first. Make sure that no damage to the upholstery occurs. Some older upholsteries can start to fray when duct tape is used on them.
We are going to get scientific with our last method! Lots of fun too. Remember when you were a kid and you would rub balloons against fabric and then stick the balloons to things? Well, we can use the same principle to remove stubborn dog hairs from your car.
As mentioned earlier, the whole reason why you can’t remove dog hair easily from your vehicle is static electric charges. That static holds the hair in place. When you rub a balloon against the upholstery in your vehicle, you’ll be doing the same thing. It is just going in the opposite direction.
So, blow up some balloons, and gently rub the balloon over the hairs. As you do, the balloon will generate a static electric charge, and the hairs will be lifted from the surface. They’ll stick to the balloon too. After you have cleaned a section, wipe the balloon down and do the next. You can keep reusing the same balloon.
Preventing Dog Hair in The Car
As we said, dog hair is difficult to remove. You’ll probably need to use multiple methods to deal with it. So, your best bet is to stop dog hair from getting into your car in the first place. Although, this is easier said than done.
We’ll give a few methods here. This should stop most dog hair from sticking to your vehicle’s upholstery. However, as long as you are letting a dog into your vehicle, you won’t be able to stop every single hair. You’ll need to do a bit of cleaning every so often (or resign yourself to having your car coated with hair).
Use Seat Covers
You can buy some quality seat covers for your vehicle. Whenever your dog is getting into the car, use them. Most of the hair should land on these covers. When your dog gets out, remove the covers, give them a shake and they’ll be good as new.
Brush Your Dog Down
Before your dog gets in the vehicle, give them a brush down. This should remove most of their loose hair. This means that there’ll be far less to stick to your upholstery. Regular grooming will also prevent excessive hair shedding.
Give your dog a haircut
Keep The Car’s Air ‘Humid’
On a dry day, your dog will shed more. Dogs with dry skin scratch themselves, loosening up hair. So, on dryer days, keep your dog well-hydrated. You’ll also want to run a humidifier in your car. If the air is humid, you’ll dog will shed less. This gives you less to clean up.
Don’t have the humidity too high, though. It should be just enough to make both you and your pet comfortable, not so high as to damage your vehicle’s upholstery.
You can buy anti-static sprays for the car’s upholstery. These sprays will prevent your vehicle’s upholstery from generating a static charge. No static charge? The hair won’t cling. It should be loose enough to just vacuum up.
This isn’t a method that you should use regularly. Anti-static sprays are expensive, and they could cause light discoloration to some materials.
We love taking our pets travelling with us, especially our Dobermann – But then can a mess and sometimes removing the hair can be challenging as it gets into all the gaps.
While that dog hair is difficult to remove, it isn’t impossible. Using a combination of hair removal methods can help. We recommend starting with a good pet vacuum cleaner, then graduating to fabric softener, lint rollers, wire brushes, and even balloons. It may be tough to get all the hair from your vehicle, but you’ll at least make it look more presentable.