How to remove long hair on carpet?
January 21, 2008 6:29 AM   Subscribe

How can I best remove long hair on carpet without breaking a vacuum cleaner?

I am moving and am stuck with cleaning the apartment cause my roommate left earlier in the month. She and I both have long hair and it's all over the carpet. I've run the vacuum through and it's not sucking it up. I tried a large scotch tape but the apartment is too big for me to be cleaning it that way. Do you have any suggestions on how to best clean long hair on carpet?
posted by icollectpurses to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could get a bulk pack of adhesive lint rollers from a warehouse store, then figure out some way of attaching it to a broom handle. The paint section at a hardware store might have different types of handles and rollers that could help with that. If you built that, you could probably go pretty quick across the apartment.
posted by amfea at 6:45 AM on January 21, 2008

Use a power-head on your vac, with brushes. They have them that create their spin on the brushes using the power from the suction (I assume you're not using an upright vacuum). Another thing is one of those old manual sweepers, that spin brushes as you push them. Final solution: hire professionals.
posted by Goofyy at 6:46 AM on January 21, 2008

In the past I've used a rubber-soled shoe - hold it with one side of the shoe down (ie so the foothole is perpendicular to the floor) and scrape along the carpet until you have the hair swept up into a series of hairballs, then pick it up and dispose of it. It sounds a bit unlikely, but it really does get nearly all of the hair, and it doesn't take long to do. The rubber sole is hard enough that it gets the hairs but doesn't damage the carpet. NB it can help to scrape in the direction of the carpet pile so you don't end up with patches that are a bit ruffled up.
posted by greycap at 6:50 AM on January 21, 2008

My mom has this heavy, rubber mitten covered in little knobby spikes that works amazingly well for getting hair out of the carpet; I think she got it at a tack shop. You just put it on and stroke the carpet vigorously. (I doubt this is its intended use, but it really works.)
posted by hjo3 at 6:53 AM on January 21, 2008

I have a carpet sweeper (this one) that picks it up. I still end up having to get the hair off the roller with scissors every so often, but it's $20 and not prone to actually breaking.

A carpet rake works better without so much snipping things off rollers, but I had that particular one and the telescoping handle was nice but got really wobbly after about a year.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:02 AM on January 21, 2008

You can buy something known as the "zoom groom" which is used to groom cats and works great in getting long hair out of carpet and rugs. This is similar to hjo3's suggestion. If you cannot find his/her product then the pet store is the other option for finding what you need.
posted by jadepearl at 7:04 AM on January 21, 2008

Get a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves. Crawl around on the floor and wipe it clean. Carry a small trash bin around with you to receive the mess. It doesn't take as long as it sounds, because it's much faster than using sticky stuff.

(If you want to try the heavy kind of rubber mitt that hjo3 recommends, you can find them in the dog grooming section of any pet store.)
posted by happyturtle at 7:08 AM on January 21, 2008

I second the recommendation of some vacuum-thing with spinning brushes on it. That includes all normal upright vacuum cleaners, and it's why uprights, though more cumbersome than canister vacuums, invariably do a better job on whatever they can reach.

This is also why Roombas do such a surprisingly good job, even on hair. They've not got much suction, but they do have a powered brush, which collects human and animal hair very well.

(...and then you have to clean the hair out of the brush, of course.)
posted by dansdata at 7:20 AM on January 21, 2008

Use the dishwashing gloves that happyturtle suggested, and rub your hands in a circle in one area on the carpet. It'll take a while to do the whole carpet like that, but it balls up the hair and makes it easier to gather.

I have long hair that constantly mucks up my vacuum, so I just take scissors to the hair after I've unplugged the vacuum. Had to take it apart once, too; that was a pain, but I was able to get all the hair completely off the brush.
posted by phatkitten at 7:20 AM on January 21, 2008

We have 3 dogs and 1 cat and found it almost imposible to vacuum their hair from carpets and furniture until we discovered this product. It actually works as claimed and makes the hair release from the carpet.
posted by buggzzee23 at 7:21 AM on January 21, 2008

I can't fathom all the suggestions for crawling around - sounds like the dark ages, before the long-handled broom was invented. Just get a vacuum cleaner with a rotary rug beater attachment and you're all set, unless you've got priceless orientals, on which I wouldn't use the rotary vac.
posted by beagle at 7:31 AM on January 21, 2008

Get a good upright vacuum cleaner. This may cost some money. Cheaper ones will still do the job, but they'll probably conk out on you after awhile. Long hair gets wrapped around the rollers and can sometimes overtax the motor, so every time you empty the bin, take a pair of scissors to all the hair wrapped around the roller.
posted by ErWenn at 7:46 AM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sweep it with a broom. No joke.

You have to spend more time at it, going over every spot several times, but it will bring the hair together into balls you can easily see and pick up.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:58 AM on January 21, 2008

This broom is what you want. The rubber bristles work on the same principle as rubber gloves, flipflops, rubber-soled shoes, sticky tape, etc., except you don't have to get down on your hands and knees. These are the kinds of brooms hair stylists use. I use one to get dog, cat and long-haired daughter hair off my carpeted floors.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:01 AM on January 21, 2008

i have the same problem and found this at the local drugstore Scotch-Brite Carpet Touch-Up Roller. it's basically an adhesive lint roller, as suggested by amfea, except you won't have to build it yourself. hope this helps and good luck.
posted by haroldlovesmaude at 9:03 AM on January 21, 2008

One of these cat brushes, brushing the carpet the same way you would use it on the cat. Most amazing accidental discovery I ever made.
posted by loiseau at 10:48 AM on January 21, 2008

I also use a rubber broom like the one SuperSquirrel shows. It works great on rugs and bare floors. Long hairs don't get caught in the brush, but they don't escape, either.
posted by wryly at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2008

2nd-ing the rubber-soled shoe, regretfully. I’ve bought a couple of those linked rubber brooms on the strength of how well some lug soled shoes work when raked across a carpet and they were both quite unimpressive on pet and human hair, compared to the right shoe; a regular broom works just as well. Some day I’m going to get it together to glue some soling (or an old shoe) onto a block of wood and put a handle on it to make a stand-up, long-pull rug scraper, but in the meantime, I’ll just continue to shoe up and drag my feet.

Re: my future project, the big question will be WHICH available soling, since you can’t so easily just order up the stuff that works best on your favorite shoes, and I don’t live near a soling supplier. It wants to be textured but not slick and hard; dull-finished rubber is more “adhesive.” I DID once have the perfect stuff, but didn’t take advantage... Here’s a link to my previous AskMeFi attempt to solve this problem; I really thought I had it licked, but unfortunately, the shoe-maker I contacted didn’t help...:(
posted by dpcoffin at 12:13 PM on January 22, 2008

btw, the problem with the rubber brooms I have is that they’re too soft; they seem to be made for wet scrubbing moreso than for hair pickup. If anybody’s found a nice stiff, adhesive one, I’d love to hear about it.
posted by dpcoffin at 12:15 PM on January 22, 2008

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