Dander, not dog hair, is the primary trigger for allergic responses associated with dogs. Dog hair, however, carries the dander, tiny skin flakes coated with dog saliva and dust, into the air, where it is inhaled and can cause trouble for people with pet allergies and people with other respiratory issues such as asthma. It is nearly impossible to remove pet dander completely, but its presence can be reduced in the environment.
Preventing Pet Access
Reduce your pet's access to the furniture. It might be impossible to prevent him from jumping up on the couch or the bed when you are not around, but placing a cover, such as a sheet with a tight weave or a pet cover, over the surface can reduce the amount of dander that reaches the furniture.
Frequent bathing and brushing of your pet can reduce the amount of dander that makes it onto the furniture. Ask your vet about using a dander-reducing spray or wipe to supplement bathing and brushing.
Dusting the Furniture
Vinyl and leather furniture can be cleaned by dusting. Use a damp cloth, rather than a dry one, to trap as much dander as possible. Dusting with a dry cloth will stir dust into the air, allowing it to drift back onto the furniture when you're done.
Vacuuming the Furniture
Frequent vacuuming of the furniture can help reduce the incidence of dander in the furniture. Use a crevice tool to get into the creases and between the cushions, if necessary. Use a sticky tape to pull up dander in areas that are difficult to vacuum, such as around buttons. As with dust mites, vacuuming with a double-layered microfilter bag or a water filter vacuum can reduce pet dander on the furniture.
Clean occasionally with a steam cleaning product that is designed to control dust mites. These products typically contain benzyl benzoate or tannic acid. Use the cleaner in an area that is ordinarily hidden from view the first time, however, just in case it affects the color or texture of the fabric.
Always check the furniture care tag, usually found under the seat cushions, to determine the proper cleaning method for the upholstery type. Improper cleaning methods can cause stretching, fading or other types of damage.