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Cat allergies: Top cleaning tips on how to remove dander from your home

vacuum running into grey tabby cat © kholywood - Shutterstock

If you or people in your life suffer from cat allergies, it can be difficult to have a cat at home. Thankfully, cleaning regularly will help to rid your house of most allergens.

By Justine Seraphin

Updated on the

If you or someone you know is allergic to cats, and you have a cat at home, then you have a lot to consider. Some people decide to rehome their pets, because staying away from the cat in question is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. However, most people love their pets and don’t want to be separated from them. So what to do?

Keeping your home clean will in no way ‘fix’ a cat allergy. However, it can help you to manage the allergy in a way that can make living with a cat tolerable. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to keep your home as free of dander as possible.

Because cats groom themselves so religiously, this protein ends up on their coats and gets absolutely everywhere your cat goes. So the only way to keep this allergen at bay is by cleaning regularly.

How do I clean my house for pet allergies?

The best thing you can do to make your house as dander-free as possible is to clean regularly. Here are some handy tips and tricks on the best way to clean your house:

Wet-clean surfaces

Dry cleaning moves the allergens around, only for them to fly into the air and settle down elsewhere in your home. Only water or wet wipes will efficiently rid your surfaces of dander. 

While bleach can be mixed with water to clean your surfaces, it can also be quite dangerous to pets if ingested. Safer and more ecological solutions include the use of soap, white vinegar, or baking soda. 

Whatever you decide to use, make sure you’re not neglecting any surface in your home! You should be mopping your floors and cleaning solid surfaces at least once weekly. Even the inside of your shelves and cupboards should be wiped clean.

Choose the right vacuum

Your vacuum will become your best friend if you’re allergic to your pet. You’ll have to vacuum at least once every two days, so make sure you pick the right tool! Choose a powerful vacuum that is adapted to every type of surface. 

Pick a vacuum that contains a vacuum cleaner bag. While these won’t prevent all allergens from escaping when you change it, it is safer than emptying a vacuum without a vacuum cleaner bag. In any case, if you can avoid emptying the vacuum and ask a non-allergic person to do it, this would be the best case scenario. 

Finally, if you’re not opposed to spending a little extra money, then you can check out some pricier options. Some companies make vacuums specifically designed for pet owners with special filters incorporated within the vacuum. 

Get a HEPA filter

High efficiency particulate air filters can retain up to 99.99% of fine particles in the air. Ideally, your vacuum should be equipped with such a filter. However, you can also purchase portable air filters which you can strategically place around your home, or, if you have a bigger budget, you can install a whole-house HEPA filter.

Adapt your interior

Dander sticks more readily on soft surfaces such as carpet, rugs, sheets, and clothes.

If you can, change the carpets in your home and replace them with hard surfaces, like vinyl or tile flooring. Remove curtains and instead replace them with shutters. Choose leather or a similar material for your sofa instead of fabric. Change your bed sheets weekly, even if your cat doesn’t have access to your room.

Every time you do this, make sure you vacuum the mattress as well. Try not to leave any clothes lying around the house, and ideally, keep them in a room that your cat doesn’t have access to. 

Keep your bedroom cat-free

It can be hard to resist those begging meows and adorable pleading eyes, but if you can, restrict access to your room. The place where you sleep should be as pure as possible, and keeping the cat out of it is the best way to keep the dander away as well. 

In this sense, you should also be showering in the evenings before you go to bed and brushing your hair thoroughly outside of the bedroom beforehand. Also, try to change out of your clothes and leave your unwashed laundry in a different room. 

How long does cat dander stay in a house?

Dander allergens are sticky, particularly when it comes to soft surfaces like carpets, sofas, or curtains. In soft surfaces, cat dander can persist for up to 6 months. That’s why it’s probably best to opt for smooth or solid surfaces to avoid this problem altogether. Dander will still deposit on solid surfaces, but it’ll be easier to remove when you clean them.

What else can I do to reduce cat allergens?

Apart from cleaning regularly, here are some other things you can do to reduce allergens in your home:

Remember, there is no miracle solution to fighting allergies, but the above tips should help to improve your quality of life. If you’re still struggling despite implementing these routines, however, consult your doctor for advice.

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