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How to Get Rid of Pet Dander? [5 Easy Ways]

Last updated May 4, 2022

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Author
Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

For the most part, household pets are innocuous and even helpful animals to have around the home. They love us unconditionally, will play with us or let us play with them, and provide their own conveniences like fetching a ball again and again. 

But there’s something that makes having a pet unpleasant for a non-pet owner: The dander left behind by our loyal pups (and some feline friends) can clog up a person’s sinuses and turn their nostrils into their own personal rainforest.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to get rid of pet dander, and so in this article, we’ll explain what pet dander is, how long pet dander stays in the house, which pets are the worse for pet dander, and most importantly, how to get rid of pet dander quickly and easily.

What Is Pet Dander? 

Pet dander is a collection of fine particles that can cause allergic reactions in humans. It’s the dead skin and hair produced by animals (usually cats and dogs). The dander itself is not harmful, but it can cause people with allergies to have symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes.

How Long Does Pet Dander Stay in the House?

It’s tough to tell exactly how long pet dander will linger in the home, but it can last for up to six months, according to experts. Pet dander is found in flakes of skin that fall off pets and collect on carpets, couches, fabric bedding, and other areas of the home. 

These flakes are tiny, less than one-tenth the size of a grain of sand, and they contain proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in many people. How long they stick around depends on a variety of factors, including whether you have a dog or a cat, what kind of flooring you have in your home, and how often you thoroughly clean your home. 

What Pets Are the Worst for Pet Dander Issues?

People who suffer from pet allergies often find themselves asking this question. Pet dander isn’t just common; it’s also very difficult to get rid of completely, making almost any animal a potential issue. 

The worst offenders are likely to be cats, followed closely by dogs. While both produce dander (which is composed of skin flakes), cats also produce Fel D1 protein in their saliva, which results in more severe reactions for many people. 

Birds can also cause issues for people with allergies, most notably parrots and cockatiels because they’re not only covered in feathers but also produce powder down—a type of microscopic feather that flakes off and flies through the air in dust-like particles.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Pet Dander 

The following five tips can help you eliminate most of the pet dander in your home and alleviate your allergies so that you can keep your pets without having to worry about suffering from the harmful side effects commonly caused by dander. 

1. Vacuum every day

Whether you have a cat or dog, it’s important to vacuum your home regularly. You should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and you should vacuum twice per week at a minimum. When vacuuming, don’t forget to clean upholstered furniture and other surfaces (beds, chairs, etc.). If you are able to get a professional deep cleaner in once per year for your carpeted floors (or rugs), this will help remove allergens from these areas as well.

2. Use a damp cloth for hard-surface cleaning

If you’re using a paper towel, use it only once, then throw it away. Otherwise, the paper towel can spread dander around rather than clean it up. Also, make sure that the item you’re cleaning is completely dry before you reintroduce your pet to that area.

How often should you do this? Well, for most people with one or two pets, once a week is sufficient to keep allergens under control. A more intensive schedule, such as cleaning every day, might be needed if there are multiple pets in the home or if your pets spend much of their time indoors and on furniture.

3. Keep your pets off the couch or bed (or use a blanket)

It’s a good idea to keep your pets off the couch and bed so they can’t shed their dander onto those surfaces. If you can’t go without having your pet on the couch or bed, you could use a blanket as a barrier between them and the furniture. Also, be sure that you wash your pets’ bedding at least once a week in hot water (130ºF) and wash their toys every two weeks with detergent and warm water.

4. Replace carpets with tile or wood floors

Carpets offer an ideal place for dander to build up because they are harder to clean and vacuum than hard floors. If you have carpeted areas in your home, it is important that you vacuum the carpets at least twice a week to prevent the build-up of dander and particles. However, even with frequent vacuuming, pet hair will still get stuck in the carpet fibers, which makes it difficult to remove completely.

So, if you want to avoid frequent trips down on your hands and knees with a lint roller, then another option is to consider simply replacing the carpets altogether. Hard floors such as linoleum, tile, or wood are much easier to keep clean than carpeted surfaces and can be cleaned quickly with a rag or mop.

5. Get an air purifier

One of the most important things to do if you’re trying to eliminate pet dander is to invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter. HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air, filters are designed to capture dust and other particles, including pet dander. A good quality HEPA filter will remove around 99 percent of allergens from the air in the room it’s located in, which is especially impressive considering that allergen particles are usually less than 0.3 microns in size.

When shopping for a HEPA filter, choose one with a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating; this rating tells you how effective it is at removing allergens of various sizes from the air. You will also want to make sure that you choose an air purifier that’s sized correctly for your space; if it’s too small for the area you intend to use it in, it won’t be able to properly circulate clean air throughout the room.

You might want to check out the air purifiers we recommend for pet smells and bird dander:

7 Best Air Purifiers for Pet Odor

8 Best Air Purifiers for Bird Dander

Our Favorite Air Purifiers for Pet Dander 

The following are some of the best air purifiers you can buy for eliminating pet dander in your home, so if you have both pets and allergies, then you can’t go wrong with any of these devices. 

1. Alen Air BreatheSmart 75i

The Alen Air BreatheSmart 75i purifier is designed to combat allergies, fur, pollen, dust, and pet dander. It also has a carbon pre-filter that removes common household odors from cooking, pets, diapers, and more. What’s more, is that its H13 True HEPA medical-grade filter can capture and eliminate microscopic particulate matter. Plus, it has an AUTO mode that can automatically detect air quality and turn it on by itself, when necessary.

2. Medify Air MA-40

The Medify Air MA-40 is a stylish, tower purifier that has a silent sleep mode and can remove up to 99.9% of bird and pet dander from the air. It’s also able to clean a 420-square foot room in just under 15 minutes, making it one of the fastest air purifiers out there. This particular model comes equipped with a HEPA-H13 filter as well as an activated carbon filter to eliminate household odors.

3. GermGuardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

This purifier can remove nearly 100% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. What’s more is that it can reduce common pollutants like pollen, dust, and mold spores, as well as pet dander and other airborne toxins. The device also boasts a UV-C light that can efficiently eliminate VOCs.

4. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier

This air purifier comes with Swedish filtration technology that can effectively eliminate 99% of the airborne toxins in your home. It also has reusable fabric pre-filters and a silent HEPA filter. These two filters do a great job of removing pollen, bird, and other pet dander, along with other common household bacteria, which can dramatically improve air quality.

Final Thoughts

Pet dander is an allergen that causes millions of cases of allergic reactions every year. It’s the tiny bits of skin and hair that are shed by your pet, and the allergen comes from the saliva and urine of your pet. The most common pets to cause allergies are cats and dogs, though other pets can also cause allergic reactions in people.

Fortunately, if you’re dealing with pet dander in your home, there are a few easy ways to reduce it so you can live in harmony with your allergic friends.

First, vacuum regularly (at least once a week), and be sure to clean any hard surfaces in your home with a damp cloth as well. Next, keep your pets off the furniture, if you can, that is. Also, replace carpets with tile or wooden flooring if possible. Finally, invest in an air purifier for your home to help remove allergens from the air.