Although cats and dogs are beloved members in many households, for people with allergies to pet dander, the number one question on mind is: ‘How to reduce pet dander?’ Some people don’t even have pets, but they may have moved into a new home that might have had cats or dogs. Pet dander can remain airborne in the house for several weeks and this could lead to uncomfortable allergies like sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and other distressing symptoms. Unfortunately, pet dander is so tiny, that it can remain airborne in the unmoving air for nearly 6 hours. Although individuals may be sensitive to all kinds of pet dander, cat dander allergies are the most common.
So let us take a look at ways to get rid of cat dander from one’s clothing and environment.
1. Groom your pet
The number one way to control the dispersal of allergens in the environment is to brush, bathe, and groom the pet regularly. Use a boar bristle brush to thoroughly brush through the pet’s fur. This will eliminate loose hair, dead flaky skin, and quite a bit of dander. (Your pet will love the attention too!) The next step is to bathe the pet at least once a month. Some dogs and cats will need a lot more bathing if they have dandruff and dander. Talk to your vet for recommendations for the best cat and dog dander shampoo. These effectively control the dander on the animal’s body.
2. Wash and launder
Remember; it is not the pet that is causing your allergies. It is the dead flaky skin (dander), salivary glands, and sebaceous secretions that dry on their hair and trigger your symptoms. When pets sleep in their bedding, the microscopic particles of these secretions fall down upon it and become airborne shortly after. So you must wash down all pet bedding, linen, upholstered furniture, drapes, and curtains to remove these particles. The items that cannot be washed, you can vacuum clean. Wash down dog kennels using mild bleach and detergent.
3. Use apple cider vinegar
Make a 50:50 solution of apple cider vinegar and pure, filtered water. Dip cotton balls into the solution and part the pet’s fur near its neck. Squeeze the cotton balls and rub gently. You can also add apple cider vinegar to your pet’s bath water as a final rinse to eliminate dander. Also, you can add apple cider vinegar to pet’s drinking water to remove dander from the inside.
4. Use anti-dander solutions and sprays
Many dander solutions and sprays are available in the market. These claim to reduce dryness and flaking of the pet’s skin; all you need to do is apply the spray once a week throughout the pet’s body. The spray or solution prevents itching which, in turn, prevents the formation of dander. You can also try this DIY pet dander spray:
- 3 drops of peppermint oil
- 2 drops of ginger oil
- 1 drop of thyme oil
- ½ cup of witch hazel
- ½ cup of pure aloe vera
- 1 cup distilled water
Mix all ingredients and shake well. Add into a spray bottle. Spray on the pet’s coat as needed. Wipe dry. You can use this spray between baths to minimize dander.
5. Keep certain areas of your home pet free
Most doctors recommend keeping at least one room in the house pet free. This is usually the bedroom. Prevent your pet from entering this room. You can make use of baby gates to restrict their entry in these zones. While leaving for work, make sure you close the door of the pet-free room.
6. Use HEPA filter vacuums
Vacuuming the rooms thoroughly is the best way to get rid of cat dander in the new house. But you must make sure that your vacuum has a HEPA filter. Alternatively, get a vacuum with double bags. You must change the filter and vacuum bags regularly. It is best to let someone else vacuum the house while you are outdoors. This will further reduce your exposure to dander.
7. Get rid of carpeting
A slightly expensive though effective way to eliminate cat dander from the new house is to remove old carpets and rugs and install hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. Curtains and blinds also catch and hold allergens like dander. So replace them with other window coverings or use wood or plastic blinds.
8. Use air purifiers
It is very important to keep the air inside your home fresh and clean since pet dander remains suspended in unmoving air for up to 6 hours. This is why allergies worsen in winters as doors and windows are usually closed. The use of a HEPA filter-based air purifier or ventilated filters on the furnaces and air ducts can help as they remove airborne allergens efficiently.
9. Wash your hands/bathe frequently
If your pet cat or dog is causing your allergies, you must wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently. It is best not to touch or pet the cat too much. Take a bath/change your clothes after hugging, stroking, or handling it.
10. Use mattress and pillow encasements
Pet dander and dust mites collect in large quantities in pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Encase all these in protective coverings or encasements.
11. Train your pet to sleep in its own bed
Never let pets in your bed if you suffer from allergies. Train them to sleep in their own bed. Also, wash and dry pet bedding once a week using hot water and detergent. Tumble dry the bed on a hot setting to get rid of allergens. Don’t forget to launder your dog/cat’s sweaters, collars, and other clothing. Vacuum the pet’s bed and the surrounding area several times a week.
12. Wash pet toys with hot water and soap
Toss all nylon, plastic, and rubber toys in hot water and soap. Wipe them clean. Do this at least once a month, more if needed, as saliva and dander are major allergens found on pet toys.
13. Use pet hair remover rollers and other products
Check out pet hair pickup rollers, magnets, and latex foam dry-cleaning sponges that are readily available in the market. These pick up hair and dander without water. They literally act as magic erasers and can be used on clothes, furniture, upholstery, couches, lampshades, beds, pillows, drapes, and carpets. Most rollers have easy-to-grip handles and come with sticky sheets. Once the sheet has become dirty, you simply tear off the top sheet to expose a fresh sticky sheet to do the remaining job. Extra-wide tape rollers are also available to clean carpeted stairs, walls, drapes, curtains, and even the floors.
You can always bring in cat dander removal services that professionally clean your house but the best way to reduce pet dander is through some heavy-duty cleaning. We hope the above tips help!