Cleaning pet hair off any surface is always a chore, but fabrics are very much the worst. Tempting as it may be, giving up and tossing a hair-coated blanket in with the rest of the wash will only transfer that hair to the rest of the load — and send the rest straight down your pipes. There’s a better way: Just throw super-hairy fabrics into the dryer before washing them.
It’s as simple as it sounds: Place a hairy item into the dryer by itself and run the air fluff setting for 10 minutes to an hour, going longer for big items or ones that have collected a lot of hair. Dryer sheets work well here, but they’re not mandatory — our wool dryer balls work pretty dang well.
At the end of the cycle, take the item out and shake vigorously to throw off any last stragglers; the dryer should have loosened most of the hair from the surface of the fabric. If not, clean your lint trap and give it another 10 minutes, repeating as needed. When you’re happy with the level of hair removal, wash the item as you normally would.
With two cats and two medium-hairy people in my small apartment, I use this trick constantly. The best part? Since there’s no heat involved, it works on anything that safely fits in your dryer — including items you wouldn’t tumble-dry. My favourite target is a cheap bath mat with a rubberised backing. Even the delicates setting on our dryer is too hot for the flimsy rubber, but a quick spin in the fluff cycle effectively loosens any collected hair and lint, so it emerges from the washer truly clean.