Pets or nice things? Or both?

If you have pets, even if they don’t shed, you know the struggle of having nice things in the house. And if your pet does shed, then you might be living in a constant state of “Oops, sit over here this is the only chair in the house that is hair free”. I know this because I’ve fought it for years. I grew up with dogs and we now have a yellow lab and a golden retriever, and both shed enough to knit 10 dog hair sweaters a week. I’ve searched high and low for fabrics that are pet hair friendly, and so far these are some of the best options I’ve discovered for keeping the hairiness to a minimum.

The main things I look for in pet friendly fabrics: Washable. Wears well over time. Tightly woven or little room for hairs to stick between fibers. And that’s it! It’s not as hard as you’d think to find pet friendly fabrics. Here are my favorites:

Leather

This one is a given. The hair slides right off and when you take the vacuum to it, it’s a breeze. The biggest argument against leather, besides the cost, is that it’s cold, but the way we resolve that is by tossing on a king sized blanket. Whenever it gets dirty I just throw it in the wash or when guests come over I throw it in our blanket basket. If you’re worried about claw marks, there are some beautiful options out there that are made to look scratched and worn. The cost of leather truly is worth it, but there are also some great inexpensive faux leather options out there.

Velvet

On trend yet classic, velvet is an unlikely hero in the world of pet friendly fabrics. Most blogs and other people say that it’s a no no with pets, but when I switched to velvet pillows I had a “duh” moment. Mine are machine washable so I’m never worried about discoloration, and even the stickiest of pet hairs don’t penetrate velvet. I’ve had plenty of pillows that looked like they were actually small dogs because the dog hair was so woven into the fibers. Velvet does the opposite – I rarely even have to lint roll or vacuum to get the hair off since it wipes off so clean and smooth.

Canvas

Easily roll-able, vacuum-able, and washable, canvas is great. Our pup’s bed is made of canvas. The weave is tight enough that the hair does not get stuck in between the fibers, allowing it to come off more easily. It also gets softer and more workable with time and wear. A canvas slipcover for your furniture will change your life if you’re not in the market for new furniture.

Belgian Linen

This my favorite fabric in general, and it’s incredibly practical with pets in the house. Belgian linen just gets better and better with time, and of course it’s washable. Seriously, the more I wash it, the softer it gets, and if I could only pick 1 fabric to use all over the house, this would be it. My biggest concern was puppy toes poking holes in the fabric, but it’s honestly so flexible that it hasn’t been an issue. And if there’s anyone with experience in dogs being hard on a house it’s us.

Wool

I’m assuming that if you have a pet you already live with shedding, so if you can get past the initial rug shedding, wool is a great option. This is also a pet controversial material and one that many say stay away from. However, it’s easily cleanable and the natural texture of the fiber hides the hair…I repeat, hides…there’s just no way that I can vacuum every single day, so having a rug that does some undercover work helps. It’s already very loose with it’s fibers, so the pet hair just kind of disappears into it until I can vacuum. Bonus points if you can match your rug to your pet’s fur color.

Jute

Jute is along the same lines as wool. It’s incredibly deceptive and hides dirt and fur very well. The only downside is that all that gunk that seems to disappear sinks to the bottom and ends up underneath the rug, but I’d rather vacuum underneath my rug than look like I live in a dustbunny. They also shed, so make sure you can live with that, but they wear down well and don’t look dirty even when you’re hard on them.

Cotton

A finely woven cotton is my other go to option for pet hair resistance. Washable and soft, you can’t go wrong with this as a staple. I also try to make sure that it’s a staple in my wardrobe, makes life a whole lot easier.

Here are a few fabrics that I’ve learned the hard way to stay away from:
  • Satins and silky fabrics. While very pet hair resistant, they are not resistant to claws, teeth, and rough foot pads. Even the toughest of satins are no match for a rough puppy toenail.
  • Woven polyester blends, tweeds, and loosely woven fabrics. We’ve gone through so many pillows because the dog hair just would NOT come off after a certain point, and I now stay away from any fabric that would allow the hair to get tangled in with the fibers. Also, claws and loose knit items don’t mix, you just end up with an unraveled item.
  • Rayon, viscose, and like fabrics. They don’t wash well or hold up against the wear and wash that’s needed when you have pets. If you plan on buying new pillows every time your guests come visit then maybe, but otherwise, their longevity and hair repellent ability is not great.
  • Microfiber. It is not only designer questionable, but it’s also really not that hair resistant. If you have only long haired pets, then maybe, but for short haired pets it’s like there’s something magnetic in the fabric that makes the fur stick and never come off, no matter what you do.
  • Fleeces and furs. Just no. I love a fleece blanket, but unless I want it to be destroyed, I keep them tucked away on reserve for myself when I want to get cozy. Fleecy fabrics are a pet hair magnet. Just don’t do it.

All in all, if you stick to dense, finely woven, washable materials, your battle with pet hair can be easily won, as long as you also stay on top of vacuuming and dusting. It’s a constant battle, but our furry friends are well worth it. And remember, all of these suggestions are from my own trial and error, so if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!

From my (semi dog hair free) home to yours,

Mary Allison