How to Remove Pet Dander in Homes

Removing pet dander in homes is no easy task. Pet dander consists of light, airborne particles that easily float through the air and stick to both hard and soft surfaces in the home. The Mayo Clinic warns that even after you purge your home of pet dander, these allergens can remain for weeks–or even months. If you want to remove pet dander, replacement is generally better than the most thorough cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • HEPA air cleaners or filters
  • Pet dander-neutralizing cleaning products
  • New carpeting
  • New bedding
  • New curtains/drapery
  • New furniture (if old furniture is upholstered)

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Getting Rid of Pet Dander

Remove and replace wall-to-wall carpeting exposed to indoor pets, especially in bedrooms. (The Mayo Clinic suggests replacing carpeting with tile, wood, linoleum or vinyl flooring, if you are considering keeping a pet indoors; these are less likely to contain dander.)

Replace draperies and upholstered furniture if possible. The Mayo Clinic warns that even a thorough cleaning won't completely rid these soft surfaces of all pet dander. If you can't replace upholstered furniture, move it out of bedrooms to another area of the house.

Get new bedding sheets, comforters, quilts, pillows and mattresses. As noted above, pet dander is difficult to wash out, but the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advises that if you attempt to wash linens, you should look for detergents formulated to neutralize allergens (such as dust mites and pet dander). Mattresses and pillows can be covered with allergen barriers (such as mattress pads and pillow casings) if purchasing new ones isn't an option.

Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filter on air conditioning/heating vents or consider purchasing HEPA air cleaners to use in individual rooms to rid the home of residual pet dander.

Clean all hard surfaces, including the walls, advises the Mayo Clinic. Use a cleanser specifically formulated to neutralize pet dander and other allergens (see Resources).

Tips & Warnings

  • If replacing carpeting, draperies and upholstered furniture isn't possible, vacuum them thoroughly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner.
  • Removing pet dander in your home can really kick up the allergens, so wear a dust mask while you do your housekeeping.


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