Every pet owner knows how annoying pet hair can be. It gets into your home, your clothes, and your car – leaving a patch of prickly, smelly hair. Thankfully, there are many ways to remove pet hair from your car without needing a steam clean.
In this article, we will explain 13 of the best techniques for removing pet hair at home.
1. Stop The Spread Of Hair By Removing The Pet
Removing pet hair from a car can be tricky, which is why it is important to take your pet to a separate location before you get started. We all know our pets love to spend time with us, but your pet jumping back into your car while you clean will only ruin your progress.
To ensure you only need to clean pet hair from your car once, keep your pet contained in your home or backyard while you clean.
2. Gather Materials And Equipment
Before you start to remove pet hair from your car, you will need to prepare the vehicle for cleaning. As hair floats into the air when it is removed, it can easily get stuck to anything in your vehicle: from child seats to cushions.
To ensure you only need to clean your car, make sure you remove everything portable from your vehicle. If these items also require cleaning, set them aside and do not bring them into your home.
If your pet’s hair is stuck to seat covers and you wish to clean them, we advise you remove these from the car before cleaning. This will give you a better angle to clean the covers, and prevents the hair from collecting elsewhere in your vehicle.
Once your vehicle is ready for cleaning, you will need to prepare yourself. This means you need to gather any materials you wish to use when cleaning, including:
- Buckets or bags for the hair.
- A vacuum.
- A pumice stone.
- Duct tape.
- Fabric Softener.
- A wire brush.
- Velcro curlers.
- A Squeegee.
- Pet brushes and combs.
Pet hair sticks to a range of fabrics, including cotton, wool, polyester, velvet, acrylic yarn, denim, spandex, viscose, and nylon. If possible, try to choose clothing made from leathers (including PU leathers) or silk, or cover your clothing with a plastic poncho.
If you have long hair, we also recommend tying it out of the way before you start cleaning. This also applies to beard hair.
3. Identify The Fabric Used In Your Car’s Upholstery
How you choose to clean your car depends on a handful of factors – the most important of which is the type of fabric your car’s interior is made with. Your upholstery could be made with nylon, polyester, vinyl, PU leather (also called ‘faux leather’), or leather.
Upholstery made from vinyl, PU leather, and leather must be cleaned gently, as abrasive tools like wire brushes, and brooms, and cleaning solutions like fabric softener and vinegar may damage your upholstery.
4. Remove Pet Hair At A Surface-level
Cleaning the pet hair from your vehicle works best if you try multiple strategies in two separate phases. During this first phase (the ‘pre-clean’ phase), we recommend you try and collect the pet hair that is only stuck at a surface-level.
This may feel excessive, but it is an important step for a reason: it is easier to clean hair that is deeply embedded in your car if access to this hair is not blocked by surface-level hair.
Surface-level hair includes piles of hair, clumps of hair, or small hairballs. There are four effective ways to remove this surface-level hair.
Remove The Hair Manually
Large hairballs and clumps can be removed by hand if you do not mind getting your hands a little dirty. Simply pick the hairball up, and drop it into your waste bag.
This works best with pets who have very thick hair and can be a good strategy when removing small quantities of hair.
Use A Pet Brush To Collect Hair
Pet brushes are built with incredibly fine bristles that are perfect for removing hair. This makes them a great tool for removing hair from car upholstery, as fabric upholstery has a similar texture to your pet’s fur.
When using a pet brush, always make sure you remove the hair on the brush with a comb before use. This will prevent you from accidentally coating your car with more hair.
Then, try scraping pet hair in long scrapes. After every 2 – 3 scrapes, remove the hair from the brush and start again. This should decrease the amount of hair in your vehicle substantially, allowing you to clean the remaining pet hair at a deeper level.
A broom with large bristles cannot be used to remove hair that is firmly stuck to your vehicle’s upholstery, but it can be used to scrape off surface-level pet hair. This will allow you to remove around 30% of the hair in your car, making it easier to deep-clean the remaining hair.
Sweep the hair up in straight lines, and manually collect it into a bag.
If you have a spare comb around your house, we recommend using it to remove pet hair at a surface-level. Combs give you very good leverage and control, allowing you to scrape up large quantities of hair in one go.
This works best when applying the comb in a cross-hatch type pattern (removing hair after each scrape). This means you:
- Scrape hair down.
- Scrape hair up.
- Scrape hair to the left.
- Scrape hair to the right.
As this only allows you to clean small areas at once, combs are best used when you need to remove pet hair from a small area only.
5. Remove Pet Hair Using One Of These 9 Methods
Once you have cleaned the surface-level hair from your vehicle, it is time to give your car the deep clean it needs. A deep clean should remove about 90% of the remaining hair, leaving you with a vehicle that looks like it did pre-pet.
At this stage, we have listed 9 possible cleaning methods. We recommend trying multiple methods, depending on the materials you have available, and the amount of hair you need to clean. These nine methods are listed below.
It is also important to consider the type of car upholstery you have. If your car is upholstered with leather or PU leather, you may want to avoid abrasive cleaning techniques like wire brushes.
Vacuum Or Lint Roller Method
Your household vacuum is your best friend when it comes to pet hair. Vacuums have been redesigned dozens of times since their invention, making them the perfect tool for removing pet hair.
Many vacuums are sold with vacuum attachments specifically for pet hair, usually including a brush to scrape hair. When using these, follow these three steps for the best results.
Go over the hair once with your vacuum.
This step loosens the hair from your car’s upholstery. As pet hair tends to stick together, this will mean your pet hair forms small clumps – which are faster to remove.
Slowly vacuum over the hair.
Vacuums use a high degree of suction power to remove hair, meaning they work best when used multiple times. With each area, run the vacuum over once, then slowly re-vacuum that area.
Remove hair from the vacuum nozzle and try again.
Vacuums collect hair on the nozzle of the vacuum, making it easy for hair to re-stick to your car. To prevent this from happening, remove the hair from the vacuum and go over the hair again.
After you have vacuumed as much hair as your vacuum allows, you may be left with some remaining pieces of hair. If you want to thoroughly clean your vehicle, we recommend cleaning this area with a lint roller.
A lint roller is a roller covered with a sticky surface on one side. This allows you to grab small pieces of hair (or lint) from fabric. Lint rollers work really well on leather, PU leather, and upholstery fabric – making them a great way to remove pet hair from your car.
We recommend this lint roller from Prokasita, as it is designed specifically to remove animal hair.
Prokasita Lint Roller
This lint roller is the perfect solution for cleaning pet hair on the go. It is multifunctional, meaning it is able to remove hair from cotton, polyester, leather, PU leather, vinyl and a range of other materials. The roller comes with two handles and six roller refills – meaning you get 420 sheets of lint roller.
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Rubber Gloves Method
When it comes to removing pet hair from vehicles, rubber gloves are the secret weapon every car owner should know about.
Rubber gloves are made with rubber, latex, or nitrile. This makes them perfect for collecting pet hair, as pet hair naturally sticks to plastic and rubber materials. As plastic gloves are a household staple, the secret to removing pet hair may just lie underneath your kitchen sink.
There are two ways to use gloves to remove pet hair.
Dry rubber gloves
Dry rubber gloves can remove hair on their own. To do this, you’ll need to put the rubber gloves on your hands.
Then, rub your hands over the surface of the hair while keeping your palm flat. This will collect hair onto the surface of your gloves. After every few seconds, scrape the hair into your waste bag with a hairbrush.
Wet rubber gloves
Wet rubber gloves will give you a slightly deeper clean, as moistening the hair will allow it to clump together. To do this, put the gloves on and spray water or a cleaning product over the surface of the hair. Then, rub your hands over the hair to remove it.
As wet hair sticks together, you will need to remove the hair from your hands every few seconds.
If you do not have any rubber or plastic gloves available, you can achieve a similar result with plastic wrap. To use plastic wrap, wrap it around your hands and rub your hands over the surface of the hair.
Like rubber and plastic gloves, balloons can be used to remove pet hair from your car. Balloons generate status electricity when rubbed against a hairy surface. This means they will be able to collect pet hair that is firmly stuck to your seats.
To use a balloon to remove pet hair from a car, follow these steps.
Blow up the balloon.
Start by blowing up 2 – 3 balloons to a medium-large size. The larger you blow the balloon up, the more ground it will cover – making big balloons more efficient at pet hair removal than small balloons.
Rub the balloon on your clothing or hair.
Next, charge up the balloon by rubbing it on your clothing or hair. You will need to rub the balloon until it is charged. You will know if the balloon is charged if it makes the hair on your head stand up when it is held 2 – 3 inches away.
Rub the balloon on your pet’s hair.
Once the balloon is charged, rub the balloon over your pet’s hair. This will collect the hair onto the surface of the balloon. To maintain the charge of the balloon, rub the balloon in circular motions.
Clean the balloon.
Once the balloon no longer collects any hair, remove the hair from the surface of the balloon with a tissue or damp cloth.
Recharge the balloon.
If the balloon loses its charge, you will need to recharge it at this stage.
As this process requires you to clean the balloon frequently, we recommend using 2 – 3 balloons. This will allow you to speed the process up by collecting more hair at once. Once you have used the balloon to deep-clean the hair out of your vehicle, always dispose of the balloons in the waste bin.
When it comes to removing hair quickly, there is no solution like tape. Tape is available in nearly every home, making it a great material to grab in a pinch. There are two primary forms of tape you can use for removing pet hair: duct tape and stationery tape.
Stationery tape is the thin, clear tape you buy from office supply stores. Stationery tape comes on a tape dispenser, making it easy to apply with one hand.
As the stationary tape is small, we recommend only using it when removing pet hair from a small area.
Duct tape is one of the stickiest forms of tape available in the home. This makes it great for removing pet hair from your car, as it can be taped down and torn off quickly. If you are cleaning pet hair from a large area of space, we recommend buying duct tape with a large width.
Using tape is fairly straightforward, as you simply stick it down, smooth the tape over and rip it up. As this is a quick process, we recommend pairing this method with another method that does not require wetting the hair – like vacuuming, wire brushing, velcro curling, or collecting the hair with rubber.
Squeegee That Hair Method
Since the squeegee phase took off internationally in the 19th century, squeegee’s have been game-changers at household cleaning. As the upholstery in your car is similar to the carpet in your home, squeegee’s can also be used to remove pet hair from your car.
Squeegees are sometimes sold with several attachments, but you will want to use the rubber attachment to clean pet hair. It is up to you whether you choose to use cleaning fluid with your squeegee, as you can use a squeegee with, or without cleaning fluid. Here is how we remove pet hair with a squeegee.
Rub top to bottom
First, you will want to run your squeegee across the surface covered in pet hair – starting at the top and slowly working your way down.
Clean your squeegee
After each scrape, you will need to clean the pet hair off of the squeegee. You can do this with water, a towel, or a microfiber cloth.
Dispose of hair and clean your squeegee
As hair may become trapped inside your squeegee, always make sure you remove the cleaning blade from the squeegee. This ensures you can clean the blade thoroughly before using the squeegee on other surfaces.
We recommend ‘The FURemover’ as the perfect squeegee for cleaning pet hair in your vehicle.
Price Range: $
The FURemover is a special type of brush/ squeegee combination designed to remove pet hair from any surface. The FURemover is made with 100% natural rubber, making it suitable for use on leather, carpet, vehicle upholstery, hardwood, linoleum, and rugs.
The FURemover comes with a squeegee-edge, meaning the tool can work like both a brush and a squeegee. This makes it perfect for removing pet hair from your car, as you can remove surface-level hair with the brush and collect deeply-seated fur with the squeegee.
The FURemover is sold in multiple shapes and sizes, meaning you can get it in a size that suits you.
Our rating: 4 / 5
Wire Brush Method
Wire brushes are the strongest form of clean brush available on the market. These brushes are built with brass or steel wire – making them both hard and springy.
Wire brushes are a very useful cleaning tool, but we do not recommend using them on leather, vinyl, or PU leather surfaces. As leather can collect scratches, using a wire brush to remove pet hair may damage your car’s upholstery permanently. However, wire brushes can be extremely useful if your car’s upholstery is made with polyester or nylon.
Here’s how to remove pet hair with a wire brush.
Grab your materials
First, you will need to collect a waste bag, a spare brush, and your wire brush. You will also need to wear a pair of thick gloves, as wire brushes can puncture your skin quite easily.
Scrape hair with the wire brush
Take your wire brush and drag it in a straight line through your pet fur. Moving top to bottom, run the brush over the entire hair patch. This will help loosen the hair, making it easier to remove later.
Take your brush and remove the pet hair by brushing in a crosshatch pattern. This means:
- Brush straight down.
- Brush straight up.
- Brush to the left.
- Brush to the right.
After you have completed this pattern, remove hair from the brush and continue until you have removed the majority of the hair.
Remove final strands of hair
After you have removed the majority of the hair, collect the remaining strands by running your brush in large, circular motions. This will allow the brush to hit the hair at multiple angles, working it out of your vehicle’s upholstery.
If you find yourself needing to clean pet hair from your car frequently, you may want to invest in a portable wire brush. We recommend the wire brushes from MAXMAN.
MAXMAN Scratch Brush
Price Range: $
Size: 14 inches
Weight: 11 ounces
Description: The scratch brushes from MAXMAN are both strong and small, which makes them perfect for storing in your car. These brushes are built with heavy-duty steel bristles and include a study beechwood handle. Brushes are available in black or silver.
MAXMAN’s scratch brushes are American-owned and have been a bestseller since 1992. They are sold in a small case, making it easy to keep them away from the prying hands of children and pets.
These brushes can also be used on rust, grills, paint stains, tiles and to remove corrosion from metal equipment.
Our rating: 4 / 5
Velcro Curlers Method
Velcro curlers are made to hold hair in place, making them a useful tool for removing pet hair from your car. To use velcro curlers, simply run them across the patch of hair and remove the hair from the curlers.
Velcro curlers work best when used gently on vinyl, PU leather, or leather surfaces.
It can be difficult to remove fine hair from velcro curlers. If you or someone in your home intends to keep using these curlers long term, you may not want to contaminate them with pet hair.
Treat With Fabric Softener Method
Fabric softener is a natural enemy of all types of hair, making it a great secret weapon for removing pet hair from cars. Fabric softener is a dissolvent and a detergent, which is why it breaks down fibers in your clothes as it cleans them.
To get the best results with fabric softener, you will need a pumice stone. Pumice stones are great for scrubbing and cleaning, as they are extremely good at collecting dirt, hair, and debris.
Fabric softener and pumice stones work great together, as the fabric softener will make the stone less abrasive, and liquid makes the stone more effective at cleaning. Here is how to use them together.
Prepare your solution
First, you will need to prepare a solution of fabric softener and water in a container. This solution should contain one-part fabric softener to seven-parts water. If in doubt, follow this recipe and mix thoroughly.
Fabric softener solution:
- 1 Tablespoon of fabric softener
- 3.64 fluid ounces (or ⅓ cup) of water
Soak your pumice stone
Take your pumice stone and soak it into your solution for 2 – 3 seconds. Shake the pumice stone to remove excess liquid.
Rub hair with the pumice stone
Take your pumice stone and rub the surface of the hair. This should scrub away hair, allowing you to collect it with the stone or a brush.
Using water, rinse the hair off of the stone.
Vinegar And Water Method
Vinegar and water is a tried-and-true cleaning method popular in every home. White vinegar (acidic acid) is a powerful cleaning agent that relaxes and loosens pet hair – making it easy to remove.
To get the most out of vinegar and water, you will need to use a scrubbing tool with the liquid solution. This could be a squeegee, a brush, a broom, a pet brush, rubber gloves, or a pumice stone.
Here is how we recommend you remove pet hair with a vinegar solution.
Mix your solution
Vinegar cannot be used undiluted, as it may damage human skin and your car’s upholstery. Instead, use a solution that is half-water and half-vinegar – like this recipe:
- ½ cup (4 ounces) water
- ½ cup (4 ounces) white vinegar
Spread vinegar solution onto pet hair
Taking a rag or spray bottle, spread a thin coating of your vinegar solution over the patch of pet hair. Wait 2 – 3 minutes for the solution to soak through the hair.
If you are using a pumice stone, soak the stone as we recommended in ‘Method #8’.
Taking your scrubbing tool, work your way across the patch of pet hair. Once your tool is full of hair, remove the hair using a comb or your fingers.
How To Prevent Your Pet From Shedding Hair In The Car
If cleaning pet hair from your vehicle is a regular activity for you, you may want to take steps to prevent your pet from shedding in the car in the future. There are many ways to protect your car from pet hair, including investing in pet seat covers.
We recommend the iBuddy pet seat cover.
iBuddy Pet Seat Cover
Price Range: $
The iBuddy pet seat cover is a removable seat cover that sits on the back seat of your car. This seat cover is made with waterproof fabric, meaning you can simply remove the cover from your car and wash it to remove pet hair.
As this seat cover takes less than 60 seconds to install, it is perfect for busy families and pet owners.
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do I Remove Pet Hair From My Car?
You can remove pet hair from your car by cleaning it with a range of materials, including a vacuum, rubber gloves, balloons, duct tape, squeegee’s, wire brushes, velcro curlers, fabric softener, and vinegar.
What Is The Best Dog Hair Remover?
The best dog hair remover is a rubber pet hair brush. These hairbrushes have rubber bristles, which attract and collect hair while you brush. As dog hair is very thick, rubber brushes are extremely effective.
How Do I Keep My Car Pet Hair Free?
You can keep your car pet hair-free by investing in a pet seat cover. You simply place this cover down on the seat before you put your pet in the car. The seat will then collect hair, which you can simply remove with a vacuum. Car wax can also keep pet hair off of your car’s exterior.
Does Fabric Softener Remove Pet Hair?
Fabric softener can loosen and relax pet hair, making it easier to remove with a cleaning tool like a brush. Fabric softener must be diluted with water, at a ratio of 1-part fabric softener, to 7-parts water.
Ultimately, every car and every pet is different. This means you may have to try multiple hair removal methods to find the one that is right for you. There are many great ways to remove pet hair from cars, 13 of which are detailed above.
We understand that mess happens in every car.
Garry is the happy owner of a funky 2018 Nissan Juke Ti-S AWD. After growing up around his family’s mechanics shop, he is passionate about bringing budget-friendly car care to every driver. Garry has a business degree and is a car enthusiast.