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Tired of Cat Hair on Your Sofa? This Unusual Method Is a Fool-Proof Lifesaver

Does your furry friend shed all over? Here's how to remove dog and cat hair from furniture easily.

Dan Avery
Dan Avery Writer
Dan is a writer on CNET's How-To team. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Expertise Personal Finance, Government and Policy, Consumer Affairs
3 min read
Two cats on a couch

My cats, happily shedding on my new sofa.

Dan Avery/CNET

When you live with pets -- especially cats -- hair comes with the territory... literally. It coats your clothes, your furniture and even your food.

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For most of my adult life, I've been pretty lax about cleaning fur off my couch. Love me, love my cats, right? But I recently invested in a nice $1,300 "grownup" sofa from West Elm that's upholstered in a gorgeous gray velvet fabric that's comfortable, stylish and stain-resistant. 

But it attracts fur like crazy. 

It doesn't help that I've placed it perpendicular to a glass sliding door and that Oliver and Simon, my 6-year-old domestic shorthair brothers, love to use the couch as their personal tanning bed.

So my curiosity was piqued when a colleague mentioned you could wipe cat hair off upholstery just by using a rubber glove -- no need to lug out the vacuum attachments or invest in pricey sprays or contraptions.

I decided to test this home hack scientifically. And to see if it worked across species, I had a colleague try it with dog hair. Here's what I did and how it panned out. 

For more household tips, here's how to fall asleep faster with a five-minute routine, how to start a fire with Doritos and how to wash your car without water.

What do you need to remove cat hair from furniture?

For this hack, all you need is a pair of dishwashing gloves. I bought a brand new pair of bright yellow Libman "all-purpose" reusable latex gloves.
And given that some people have a latex allergy, I also picked up a pair of Best Choice vinyl gloves to see how they did on the job.

How to clean cat fur off your sofa and chairs?

The technique is easy enough: Put on a glove and then brush your hand along the fabric. 

Gloved hand wiping cat fur off a sofa

Start swiping with the gloves on the area you want to de-fur.

Dan Avery/CNET

I thought the glove might pick up the fur, like a lint roller, but instead it collected the fur in a pile, more like a broom would. 

After seven or eight swipes, I had a nice pile of cat hair I could pick up, leaving the area fur-free. 

This trick works on more than just furniture: I cleared fur off a pillowcase and lampshade the same way.

Can you remove dog hair from furniture, too?

So it works on cat fur, but what about dog hair? CNET money editor Courtney Johnston tried it with her chihuahua, BMO, to check if this pet hack transcends species. 
"He's got short hair," she said. "It's not super stiff, but it gets into the couch fabric, making it harder to get out."

A deer-headed chihuahua sitting on a couch

Works with dog hair too.

Courtney Johnston/CNET

But the glove trick worked just as well, gathering all of BMO's fur on Courtney's couch into a clean pile that was easy to pick up.

How do rubber gloves remove pet hair?

I'm not sure who first realized they could use their household cleaning gloves to wipe away sheddings, but there is real science behind it. Dog and cat hair hold an electric charge that makes them stick to many surfaces. 

The idea is that wiping rubber against the fabric on your sofa or chair disrupts that connection with its own static charge, letting you gather the fur together. 

What about using damp gloves to pick up pet fur?

Apartment Therapy recommends dampening the gloves before rubbing them over the upholstery. Unlike when using a dry glove, the fur did lift off and attach to the wet mitt, eliminating a step in the process. 

It also, unsurprisingly, made my sofa cushions damp.

Whether you wet them or keep them dry, you should set aside gloves specifically for this task. You don't want the same pair that scrubbed down the toilet seat delicately removing Garfield's fur from your Chesterfield.

Can you use vinyl gloves to remove pet fur?

If you have a latex allergy, using rubber gloves is out. So I tested this house-cleaning tip using a vinyl disposable glove. Unlike with the rubber variety, more of the hair actually stuck to the glove, and any excess fur was left in a neat pile I could pick up.

A vinyl glove covered in cat hair

This trick works with vinyl gloves too.

Dan Avery/CNET

 One downside is the cornstarch used in many vinyl gloves, which created a bit of a powdery mess. 

If you want a powderless version, you can find latex- and powder-free gloves from Clorox.

For more easy life hacks, learn how to stop the flow of junk mail, correctly clean your AirPods and cut a cake without a knife.