My condo gets dusty and filled with cat hair easily. How do I clean it?
March 8, 2015 9:21 AM   Subscribe

My flooring is all vinyl and tile. I sweep and clean regularly, but a film of dust forms quickly and my cat constantly sheds. I live in a ~600 sqft place and it's annoying to put up with. What's the best way to prevent and clean cat hair and dust?
posted by GiveUpNed to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Mitheral at 9:22 AM on March 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have two cats and both are shedders. I recently started grooming them with a Furminator and they are both shedding MUCH less now. I was totally amazed at the amount of fur that that thing removed from their little bodies--I felt like I had enough to build another cat. So--if your cats are into being handled, consider buying one of these to prevent all the shedding. It's made a huge difference for us.
posted by bookmammal at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2015 [12 favorites]

I keep a cordless stick vacuum for quick pick up of fur. Have 2 cats & 2 Shelties so fur is constant for us. I had a Neato robot vacuum but the battery crapped out too many times for me, and I couldn't use it unless I was home as it would quickly fill up with fur & need emptying. It stops when the dust bin is full & just waits for someone to empty it so keep that in mind if you get one. So I would come home to a small area cleaned and have to find the vacuum to empty it & get it to continue.

The stick vac had worked really well for me. For the dust on furniture, I use a disposable-head duster & do a quick dusting every few days.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2015

If you don't have carpet a roomba is overkill (and noisy). I use the Mint robot sweeper every second day. It is very quiet and doesn't disturb me at all (I work at home). You still need to vacuum every once in a while because dust will accumulate in cracks in your flooring and along molding and on your furniture.

Also if you do buy a furminator do not buy the small size (it's kind of pointless)
posted by srboisvert at 9:35 AM on March 8, 2015

The other thing is if you have a cat you really must empty your vacuum regularly and clean or replace the filter otherwise vacuuming performance will degrade so badly you will think your vacuum is broken.
posted by srboisvert at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2015

Four cats and a Husky here.. The only way to stay on top of the fur and dust is to attack it on a regular basis with both a furminator and a good vacuum with filters (I use a Shark with a pad/wand thing for the hard floors once in a while.After two days the vacuum will pick up about a gallon size container of fur).... I vacuum nearly every day, dust furniture two or three times a week..
posted by HuronBob at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Prevention: anecdotally, my friends who feed their cats very high-quality food tend to have less shed-y cats.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:53 AM on March 8, 2015

Sweep with a microfiber dust mop rather than a bristle broom. And don't vacuum routinely if you don't have any carpet. It will kick part of the dust and hair up into the atmosphere and it'll just resettle.
posted by drlith at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

My house is 100% hard floors (for the first time in my life) and I tried living without a vacuum cleaner and only lasted about 6 months. I switched to bagged vacuums years ago (because canister vacs rely on usually 2-4 filters between the intake and the container, and they can't be ignored - half of them are those foam pads you can wash but fill to clogged again in about 2 weeks, the other half of the filters are those pleated paper things that are enraging to clean and expensive as bags to replace routinely) and just got a $100 basic upright, with a hard floor setting and a long hose (we have high ceilings and they are cobwebby).

It does a far better job than any amount of sweeping and mopping*. I have too many rooms and too many furniture legs for a robot vacuum to be terribly effective, and I am a little afraid my dogs would promptly attack and kill one anyway.

*A friend of mine who cleans beach-adjacent vacation houses says screw sweeping and mopping - vacuum and the wet Swiffer pads (or the dollar store knockoffs, which are indeed just fine) are how she gets her work done, and it works plenty well enough for me.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:04 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Will your cat tolerate being vacuumed on a low setting?
posted by brujita at 10:05 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Brush your cats and use a wool dust mop daily.
posted by Specklet at 10:26 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seconding the Mint robot sweeper. I run it every week (no pets), and am always amazed and how much dust it picks up compared to manual Swiffering. You might have to run it every day or two.
posted by redlines at 10:48 AM on March 8, 2015

In addition to sweeping/vacuuming regularly, I can attest from personal experience (growing up with 2 cats and a parent who collected rare/antiquarian books) that having a HEPA air filter that you clean/change regularly makes a substantial difference to the amount of ambient dust around to settle on things.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 11:01 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'd get an appropriately sized HEPA air filter. I have one for the bedroom and it is surprising how much less dust builds on up surfaces now.

For a while I was cheap and had hacky solutions consisting of box fans with 20x20" furnace filters duct-taped onto the back ... they do a good job of capturing cat hair / dander / large dust but are noisy. Eventually I just sprung for a Honeywell HEPA from Target and it's been a great purchase.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:26 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

Make sure you're changing the air filters in your HVAC system regularly (quarterly at least) if you have one. If your filter is shot, the dust and cat hair just gets recirculated.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:41 AM on March 8, 2015

I second Lyn Never's friend - I vacuum then use a swiffer. I've found that just vacuuming doesn't get all the hair and dust.
posted by gt2 at 11:45 AM on March 8, 2015

Swiffer makes a vacuum swiffer which picks up dust with the pads and vacuums the big hair. Walmart carries it. It's rechargeable and about 40.00.
posted by BarcelonaRed at 11:53 AM on March 8, 2015

Had two cats who shed a lot - just wanted to second that brushing them regularly - daily if you can - helps a great deal. I used to brush an unbelievable amount of hair from my cats every day, it would make a pile nearly as big as the cat haha.
posted by FireFountain at 1:52 PM on March 8, 2015

You need to keep an air filter running continuously and clean/replace the filter regularly.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:28 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing recommendations for a HEPA filter. As long as you replace the filters in a timely way, a good filter removes a surprising amount of dust from the air. You'll notice a difference right away.

For pet hair, I've had good luck with Furminator combs for the cats and a good vacuum for the floor/furniture.
posted by Owlcat at 6:00 PM on March 8, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses guys. I just bought a Furminator and a rubber cat comb. Additionally, I'm purchasing a wool mop and a HEPA filter. I can't believe I never thought of it!
posted by GiveUpNed at 11:46 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

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