If you or someone in your life is an allergy sufferer and you have pet cats, it's important to know how to get rid of cat dander. These tiny flakes result from your cat's saliva in the grooming process, and they easily become airborne or are deposited on surfaces throughout your home. Luckily, a few regular cleaning techniques can significantly reduce the cat dander in your home.
If you haven't already gotten a cat, consider adopting a cat breed that's known to be easier for allergy sufferers.
Getting Rid of Cat Dander Before It Spreads
Removing cat dander from your environment and protecting yourself from an allergic reaction to your cat isn't impossible, though it can be tough for those with extreme allergies or asthma. The first place to consider is the source — your cat. A few simple steps can reduce the dander coming off your cat and spreading around the home:
1- Regular Baths and Brush-Outs
If possible, reach out to a local cat groomer and see if you and your cat can become regulars. While you can indeed bathe your cat at home, a groomer who's good with cats has special tools and shampoos that can keep your cat's skin hydrated while reducing allergens as much as possible.
2- Use Pet Wipes Between Groomings
Use hypo-allergenic pet wipes in between baths. These wipes help remove the allergen contained in the dander.
3- Consider Your Vacuum
If your cat doesn't mind the sound or sensation, you can remove a lot of loose fur and dander by vacuuming your cat. Just be aware that not all cats enjoy or will agree to this — never force it.
Make sure you're using a vacuum that has a built-in HEPA filter to ensure the dander doesn't get blown back out of the vacuum.
Get Rid of Cat Dander Throughout the House
Beyond stopping it from spreading, certain cleaning methods can keep the cat dander down throughout your home. Obviously, the more you clean, the more you reduce allergens in your home.
1- Wash Bedding and Fabric Surfaces Regularly
Cat dander sticks to fabric surfaces more easily than hard surfaces, according to the Allergy and Asthma Center of Fort Worth. So put the bedding, curtains and other fabric surfaces on a regular cleaning schedule.
2- Don't Forget Hard Surfaces As Well
Wash your walls and ceiling with hot, soapy water. You'll also want to steam clean your carpets and upholstery periodically. You might even consider changing carpeting to wood or linoleum surfaces so they trap less dander.
3- Use a HEPA Vacuum
Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and vacuum everything. This is especially important in crevices where dander becomes trapped, such as around baseboards, windowsills, draperies, and even lampshades. Don't forget to vacuum your cat's bedding and play area.
Operate an air cleaner with a HEPA filter in your bedroom and main living areas.
4- Anti-Mite Products
Use an anti-mite product such as X-Mite to remove mites and dander from upholstery and carpets. You can even find anti-mite covers for your bed.
5- Clean Your Furnace Vents and Filters
It's important to clean your furnace filters every three months. Consider adding a layer of cheesecloth over the furnace vent in your bedroom to provide additional filtering of dander from your furnace. Make sure you launder the cloth at least once a month, depending on the severity of your allergy.
6- Protect Yourself
Whenever you clean your home or your cat, protect yourself from dander. Wear gloves and a facial mask. You can also do this when cleaning the litter box and handle the task outside whenever possible.
Drastic Solutions to Get Rid of Cat Dander
Sometimes, simply cleaning your house thoroughly is not going to do the trick. This is especially true for non-cat owners who end up living in a home that was previously owned by cat owners. If you find that, even with your best attention, your allergies are still acting up, you may need to take more drastic measures.
- Repaint the interior of your house every few years.
- Replace or completely remove carpeting whenever practical.
- Consider replacing any fabric furniture with furniture in leather or vinyl. Fabric tends to trap dander, and vinyl and leather are easier to clean.
- Have your furnace and duct work professionally cleaned twice a year.
Diligence Pays Off
Cleaning the pet dander is an endless battle that is never truly won, but it is one many cat owners are willing to live with. To help minimize allergic reactions, remember to take your allergy medication and keep a few areas in your house, such as your bedroom, as a cat-free zone. Keeping up with your cleaning routine and the cat's grooming routine is generally effective to keep dander at bay.