Dear Dr. Sip and Melissa,
I know this is out of your official world of expertise, but do you know the best way to get pet hair out of the car upholstery?
Dan and “Furbo”
East Lansing, MI
Dr. Sip: We always say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Melissa: So if you get a hairless pet, it’s worth a pound of vacuumed pet dander!
Dr. Sip: Aside from taking the car to get professionally cleaned which can be costly, or laying down washable covers, we really didn’t have too many ideas. So we did what most people with an Internet connection would do.
Melissa: We started at Amazon.
Dr. Sip: Things looked promising from our very first search, “keep pet hair out of car” on Amazon. I’m not sure about the search terms but one of these things is not like the others…
In what world does “Beauty Salon Wall Decal” and “Get Pet Hair Out of My Subaru” have any crossover in the search terms?
Melissa: I’m personally a fan of this little number. Why use vacuums, brushes, or covers when you can use “Rock.” Frequently bought together with Paper and Scissors.
My favorite review title says it all: “It's a Pumice Stone - You'll Need a Manicure After Trying to Get the Hair Collected Off It.” It appears that this “tool” will actually clean the interior of your car if you use it very, very, very gently. That said, cleaning the pumice seems to be its own time intensive project.
Dr. Sip: That seems like a lot of work. Rick’s Professional Auto Detailing suggests that you use a balloon. Blow up a balloon and use the static electricity to rid the car of unwanted pet hair.
Melissa: If you live each second with a balloon in your hands in absolute fear that the balloon will loudly POP suddenly you can use the money you saved on detailing or an extra therapy visit that week. Win/Win!
Dr. Sip: I particularly like this part of Rick’s sage advice. “The second step of collecting the hair off of the balloon can be a little tricky, but once you have the balloon (cleaned) it can be reused as needed.” Reuse your hairy balloons for your next kid’s party! Wooo! “Hey, why does this kid’s party smell like wet dog and Febreze?”
Melissa: The Internet also seems to think that a rubber glove or Velcro curlers will also net a cleaner interior to the car. Both would be used in a similar way -
Dr. Sip: But how does dressing up like a 1950’s housewife get your car clean?
Melissa: That might also work, if you’re into that sort of thing. Alternatively, lightly wet the gloves, put them on, and pull the hair towards you. Essentially you are making clumpy piles to vacuum up later. The Velcro rollers can be worn at the same time (because a girl’s gotta look good after detailing her car) or you can roll the Velcro rollers along the car seats, lifting up the pet hair.
Dr. Sip: These all seem pretty labor intensive.
Melissa: They are. Since these use a combination of friction and static electricity, from rocks to rollers, the tools used to clean the pet hair all seem to have the same problem: They are also hard to clean afterward.
Dr. Sip: Double-sided tape can work, but that’s expensive and wasteful. A powerful vacuum would work well, but these can be expensive and might not work if an outlet is hard to come by.
Melissa: So the sad truth is there is no easy way to clean the interior of a vehicle. The best options are persistence--dedicate a few times a year to cleaning the car with the cleaning tools you have at your disposal, prevention--putting down washable covers to make things easier to clean, or just throw some money at the problem-- consider springing for an interior detail once or twice a year. If none of that sounds appealing, maybe a naked-pet is the way to go?
More about Dr. Sip (who is a practicing vet in Berkeley, CA) and Trainer Melissa (who wrote “Considerations for the City Dog”) and can be found here.