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Getting rid of pet dander: everything you need to know

Dog and cat dander causing irritation? Put a stop to it today.


a white dog sitting on a bed

Key points:

  • Cleaning to reduce pet dander is the best way to control pet allergies - and other allergies too! Learn more about how cleaning can help alleviate allergies with our tips.

  • Dust regularly in all areas your pets use.

  • Clean carpets, curtains, and furniture & cushion covers at least once per month. More if required.

  • Use products that are effective at getting rid of pet dander.

Find yourself sneezing or rubbing your eyes when your favourite pet is around? Having a pet allergy is never fun, but it doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your furry friend. Once you know how to remove pet dander from home furnishings, you’ll be able to address the source of your allergies. Read on for tips to help you keep hold of your four-legged companions!

Wash blankets and household fabrics your pets use for bedding as often as possible to remove excess pet dander. Use a gentle detergent like OMO which will effectively remove dander while being gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.

What is pet dander?

Pets with hair or feathers shed dander, a combination of dead skin cells and hair (or feathers). These can sometimes trigger allergic reactions. Those with asthma and skin conditions like eczema are particularly sensitive to cat dander, dog dander and other common types.

What should you do if you have a pet allergy?

Your first step after having some kind of reaction should always be to check with your doctor so they can run some tests and see exactly what kind of allergy it is. They may recommend that you avoid having pets altogether.

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If the allergy is not too severe you may be able to make changes to minimise the dander to relieve your allergies and keep your pets.

How to remove pet dander from upholstery, furniture and your home

1. Create a pet-free zone

Designate an area in your home as a pet-free zone: no pets should enter this room at any time. This means the person with the allergy will always have somewhere to go for respite.

2. Keep pets off furniture

Train your pets to stay off the beds, sofas, and any other upholstered furniture in your home to minimise exposure to pet dander. You should also keep them off the seats in the car and instead put them in a carrier or use a seat cover.

For fabrics that have come into contact with your pets - such as their own bedding - wash with a mild laundry detergent like OMO Auto Washing Powder, which is ideal for washing machines, or OMO Hand Wash Powder, if doing laundy by hand.

3. Don’t neglect the cleaning!

Dusting as often as possible will minimise pet dander in the house but you should only do this when the person with allergies is not at home. Otherwise it could trigger their allergic reaction.

When you vacuum carpets or any other flooring, use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter and wear a mask if you're the allergy sufferer. Removing dander from carpets can be particularly difficult so opt for ones with a low pile and use a steam cleaner. If this doesn't seem to help, you may want to consider removing carpets altogether and replacing with wood, laminate, or tile flooring instead. 

4. Use a HEPA air cleaner

Run a HEPA air cleaner for at least 4 hours a day to minimise airborne dander in your home. Pet dander can float in the air, so a HEPA air cleaner attached to your central heating or air conditioning may help remove pet allergens from the air and reduce your chances of reacting.

5. Bathe your pet

Daily brushing and regular baths can help reduce excess pet dander. Take your pet to a groomer or have someone in your family who does not suffer from asthma or allergies brush and wash your pets. Be careful not to bathe pets too often though - it can cause their skin to dry out.

6. Opt for a non-furry pet

If working out how to remove cat dander is getting too much, the other alternative is to choose a pet that doesn’t produce dander at all. Fish, snakes, reptiles, or turtles are all good options here and can make great pets for people with pet dander allergies.

These tips should make a real difference to any allergic reaction you or your family suffer as a result of pet dander. Once the majority of the dander is removed, it will be much easier to live with your beloved pets and enjoy their companionship – and cuteness – without worrying about allergic reactions.

Originally published