If you have a furry family member, chances are you’ve wondered about how to get rid of pet dander in your home. There’s so much to love about having a dog or a cat, but the allergens they generate can make things less than ideal for their human companions.
Pet dander is similar to dandruff, except it occurs on dogs, cats, and birds. Like pet fur, pet dander clings to surfaces and can be very hard to remove. Luckily, there are tips you can follow to live with animals without letting their pet dander get to you.
How Long Does Pet Dander Stay in a House?
It turns out, dander can stay around long after a pet is no longer in a home. Pet dander can remain in a house up to 4-7 months after a pet is gone. That means if you move into a new home, you could be affected even if you don’t have a pet of your own. It also means new dander from your furry friend isn’t likely to go away by itself.
Tips on How to Get Rid of Pet Dander in a House
Even though weekly baths can cut pet dander by up to 84% the remaining allergens can still cause problems. The best advice we have to give is to take a comprehensive approach. Getting rid of pet dander requires different solutions for different areas of the home.
How to Get Rid of Pet Dander in Carpet
Carpets and pets don’t go together for several reasons, and pet dander is one of them. Ideally, allergy sufferers will have limited carpet in the home since it traps allergens that can build up over time.
Other than ripping out the carpet altogether, the best solution to get rid of pet dander is regular cleaning. These tips will help you remove more pet dander every time, so break out the vacuum.
Dust before you vacuum using a damp cloth. Removing pet dander from hard surfaces like the walls and baseboards is extremely difficult with a dry cloth because the particles will get kicked back into the air.
Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) microfilter vacuum bag to prevent pet dander from getting back into the air.
Vacuum the carpet a few times, going in a different direction each time.
Steam clean the carpets once every 2-3 months.
While you’re at it, you may want to use the vacuum cleaner on the floor rugs, curtains, and pet bedding. Better yet, put them in the washing machine if they are machine washable.
How to Remove Pet Dander From the Couch
One spot where pet dander can accumulate is on the couch - even if you don’t allow pets on the furniture. Here's how to keep your sofa free of pet dander:
1. Get a pet dander lint roller. There are furniture lint rollers designed to pick up pet dander.
2. Use the vacuum nozzle accessory to clean out all of the crevices.
3. Steam clean an upholstered couch if it's possible.
4. If the couch cushions come off and are machine washable, wash them in the washing machine.
Like the carpets, the couch is going to need regular cleaning to keep the pet dander under control. And if your cat or dog currently lounges on the couch, you may want to consider getting them their own bed for the living room so they stay off the furniture.
How to Get Pet Dander Out of Air Ducts
Pet dander isn’t just in the air. It’s also in your HVAC system and air ducts. It can be especially problematic if you don’t have adequate air filters or your filter is overdue for a change.
If you schedule an HVAC check annually, air duct cleaning may be part of the service. The technician has a specialty vacuum that can get into the ductwork and suck out dirt, debris, and pet dander. You can help keep the air ducts clean by wiping down air vents and registers that can collect dust and particles.
The Best Air Filter for Pet Dander
The filtering grade of your HVAC filter (also known as your MERV rating) aids in removing pet dander from your HVAC system. The best air filter for pet dander is one that fits perfectly and has a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 10-13.
A MERV rating of 10-13 is a sweet spot for residential use. At this rating, air filters can clear 95-98% of airborne particles, including pet dander. The other reason to go with a MERV rating between 10-13 is that you shouldn’t have airflow issues. Air filters with a higher MERV rating can restrict airflow, which may affect comfort and damage HVAC equipment.
Filter fit is extremely important for air purification. An air filter that’s too large will be loose, allowing air to pass without going through the filter. And an air filter that’s too small can become damaged and bent, causing the same airflow problems. If not done correctly, no MERV rating will make a difference.
Even the best air filter for pet dander can only work for so long. Filters need to be cleaned or changed at least once every three months, but if pets are indoors, it should be closer to once a month.
Read More: How Often Do I Need To Change My Air Filter
How to Incorporate HEPA Air Filters
You may have heard of HEPA air filters and their ability to keep airborne allergens under control. While that is true, HEPA filters aren’t the best option for use in the HVAC system.
HEPA air filters are very thick, which is why they clear out 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. That said, they also significantly restrict airflow (which can have a damaging effect on your HVAC components and reduce comfort in your home.)
You may consider using a portable air purifier with a HEPA filter. Air purifiers can provide additional pet dander removal in a single room or portion of the home. Use them in areas like the living room or in the bedroom of a family member with allergies.
READ MORE: Air Filters vs Air Purifiers
Now that you know how to get rid of pet dander in a home the next step is to order an air filter. At Filterbuy, we have high efficiency air filters that are capable of removing pet dander from your home. There are thousands of filter sizes available or try out our custom air filter option!