Clean Laundry Cat Hair Pills Prevention 101
November 15, 2010 12:41 PM   Subscribe

There's a lot of this going on in my apartment. What can I do to prevent my towels and cotton shirts from coming out of the dryer covered with cat-hair pills?

I have two lovely cats that naturally crave the comforts of my fine clothing for their various relaxation and stretching poses. My clothes pick up their shed in various other ways as well, and when I do laundry the towels and other cotton clothes (like my nice shirts) come out covered in these little knots of cat hair.

Currently I use a 3M lint roller and my fingers to pick off all the little hair boogers. I just ordered this reusable sticky roller, but was wondering if there wasn't something I could toss into the dryer with my laundry that would suck up the lint balls better than my towels and shirts do?

I use the community laundry machines, and I always check and clean the lint catch. If I take my clothes down the block and use an industrial dryer at the 'mat, would that be better?
posted by carsonb to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about products for the drier, but I have a suggestion for de-fuzzing fabrics pre-washing.

Something like this lint brush. Basically, anything with material like the "hooked" side of velcro is what you want. Brush one direction to pick up the hair, brush the other to release it. No need to wash the brush, as the hair doesn't get trapped. Save sticky products for materials that get caught in the little hooks (I've only found one surface in my house that has trouble with this type of thing, and it's a bedspread that the cats love).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:00 PM on November 15, 2010

the drier should make a significant difference -- i've seen that any cat-hair saturated clothes I have are extremely dependent on what drier i have used / owned.

silly question, are you using any fabric softener of any type? i use the scent-free ones exclusively, and the combo of that and my drier seems to make lint and cathair a non-issue.

i do use a lint-roller like crazy for clothes that they have got to after the dryer... ultimately, i've found that the best thing to do is have dedicated blankets for the cats to be on, get all hair off of me ASAP after I've had a cat on my lap (which is, yes, roller-intensive) and cover/stow all clean clothes - A large cheap towel will do wonders to cover things, and you can throw that in with all your cat-enabled laundry. Then, at worst, you have the cathair attached to things they'd be on anyways.

btw, I love that particular cat expression of "damn right, i'm sitting here."
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2010

Bounce dryer sheets are your friend. So are the dedicated kitty blankets (which cover about 50% of our house) mine love the fleece ones. You can usually find those at Garden Ridge or Target's dollar aisle for a few bucks a pop. (Other tools in my fight against furballs are the swiffer sweeper, the Furminator, the Pledge pet-hair sweeper and the sticky lint rollers.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 2:22 PM on November 15, 2010

I have four indoor cats so I know all about cat hair. Prevention is the key, don't leave anything lying about that you don't want hair on. I'm not a neat freak by any means (quite the opposite) but I keep all my clothes and towels off the floor and bed otherwise the cats would cover them in hair. To me, this way seems easier and less time consuming then having to dehair each item before putting them into the wash. It seems that cats like to lay on anything that has your scent on it.

I keep those sticky lint roller things around since the cat hair gets on the clothes that I'm actually wearing, all the time.

Green Eye Monster gives good advice with the fleece cat blankets. We keep a blanket on the back of the couch and one at the foot of the bed that they all like laying on.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:29 PM on November 15, 2010

Response by poster: are you using any fabric softener of any type?

Nope. I stopped a while back in fear of weird hormones, and then was too lazy to make more of the (really nice) homebrew recipe I found on AskMe years ago. Bonus question: Are there dryer sheets I can buy that don't have stuff I don't want rubbing up on my skin out there?

I will definitely clean my act up when it comes to leaving clothes around. Wall hooks for pants are purchased, dirty laundry bin upgraded, and I'll look into getting some cheap blankets.

Thanks for the input so far, looking forward to more suggestions!
posted by carsonb at 4:33 PM on November 15, 2010

I have three cats and three dogs. Dryer sheets work wonders for making clothes/towels/etc release any hairballs that survived the wash. If you're worried about scent or irritation, get a "free and clear" or "hypoallergenic" version of any of the normal brands. I've used Bounce Free & Clear for years. It does the job without leaving any scent (and without any skin irritation).
posted by amyms at 5:47 PM on November 15, 2010

I have a smooth satiny bathrobe (cost about $10 in Chinatown) that I throw over my laundry baskets, or lay on the bed to use as a laundry-folding surface. The cats can still sit on it and enjoy the pile of clothing, but the satiny texture won't allow any cat hair to stick.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2010

FURminator. It's crazy expensive but it helps SO MUCH.

I thought for a long time there must be a difference between "dryer sheets" and "fabric softener", like there might be dryer sheets that don't have fabric softener? Anyway, so far the ones I've found that have the least "stuff" are from Target's up & up brand. Can't find the actual product online but it's the one that says "Compare to Bounce Free" and it's orange.
posted by and1 at 3:02 PM on November 16, 2010

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