How to clean pet hair from a car

On the Road 3 min read

Many pets leave behind surprising amounts of fur, especially long-haired breeds or animals that change coats seasonally. Fortunately, a few tricks can help you clean pet hair from your car. Start by cleaning any pet hair in your car using a three-step process: wipe with rubber gloves, vacuum, then finish with a lint roller. If you need to remove odors, you can use baking soda or coffee grounds.

How to remove pet hair from car

1. Wipe with rubber gloves

Put on a pair of clean rubber gloves — like those used for cleaning dishes — and wipe your hands along all the fabric surfaces of the car. The surface of the rubber gloves has enough grip to pull pet hair along, but the hair won’t stick to the rubber gloves the way it does to the fabric. Use the gloves to get cat or dog hair out of your car carpet and upholstery into a few piles.

2. Vacuum

Once you have collected the hair into piles, you can easily vacuum it up. A cordless vacuum is an excellent alternative if you have an upright or corded vacuum that’s difficult to get into the car or can’t reach your car while plugged in. Some vacuums have special upholstery or pet attachments. If you can’t use a vacuum at home, many gas stations have commercial car vacuums you can use for a small fee. Using the rubber gloves first will minimize the amount of vacuum time for which you must pay.

3. Use a lint roller

Using a lint roller can help you get the last bits of dog hair out of your car. Roll the lint roller over each surface, removing a layer of tape whenever the roller gets too full to pick up any more fur. If you have a home vacuum with a crevice tool, use it after the lint roller to get into cracks or spots where it is too big to reach.

How to keep your car free of pet hair

Once you’ve learned how to remove dog hair from car upholstery, you can make things easier by preparing in advance.

Use rubberized mats

Pet owners who travel with their pets can purchase rubber mats and save time on car cleanings. You can get generic all-weather floor mats at many auto stores. Some companies make trunk liners for station wagons, hatchbacks, and SUVs. Remove and spray them with a hose when it’s time to clean them.

Cover your seats

A synthetic fabric cover can protect your seatbacks and make cleaning pet hair from your car as easy as shaking the seat liner after your pet gets out. Look for a seat cover with cutouts for seatbelt anchors to transport passengers safely. If dedicated car liners and seat covers seem overkill for how much time your pet spends in the car, consider brushing your pet before they get in to minimize how much you’ll need to clean pet hair from your car.

You can also get an inexpensive tarp from the hardware store or a piece of scrap fabric and cut it or fold it to size. If you opt for fabric, choose something smooth, as textured fabrics like flannel hold onto pet hair and are harder to clean effectively.

Create a pet cleaning kit for the car

Using the kit, you can quickly clean, dry, and brush your pet before putting them in the car and use the lint roller to clean up any shedding you could not prevent. If the pet leaves a smell in the car while you’re on the road, you can open one of the coffee pods to absorb odors before they settle into the fabric too much.

If you have enough storage space in your car, you can make a pet clean-up kit containing:

  • Pet-safe wipes
  • A small pack of tissues or a fabric hand towel
  • A travel pet brush
  • A lint roller
  • Sealed single-use coffee pods

How to remove pet odors from the car

If your pet has left an odor in the car, you can remove the odor easily by putting a dish of baking soda or dry coffee grounds in the car for a few hours. Both are great at absorbing odors, and the sooner you use them, the better job they can do at removing the pet smell from your car.

If you’re a pet owner who takes your pet everywhere with you, keeping your car clean is just one thing to worry about. Pet insurance can help your peace of mind by covering you in case your pet is injured while on the road. Learn more about how pet insurance works.

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