We love our dogs, there is no denying that, but the thing none of us are too fond of is the amount of hair they leave behind. This is especially true when we put their blankets and bedding in the washing machine, only to discover the entire thing is blocked with dog hair.
Sometimes, it’s so bad that the entire machine is destroyed. However, there is a way you can get your pet’s things nice and clean without trashing your washer.
Why is Pet Hair Bad for Washing Machines?
When water combines with thick clumps of hair, it creates a sludgy mess that will stick to everything in sight. This includes clothing, the inside of the washing machine drum, and the drain pumps.
This will usually lead to the machine becoming clogged because it can no longer drain the water out efficiently. If this is left, or happens regularly, it can cause permanent damage to your washing machine, and it may even need to be replaced.
“Before you put your clothes in the washing machine, go over them with a lint roller,” advises Jeff from Dog Owner. This will collect any loose hair that is on your clothes to make things a little easier on your washer. A lint roller is good to have around in general, as it also means you can give your work clothes a quick clean just before you head out.
For Your Bedding
If it is your bedding that they love the most (and is no doubt at least a little hairy), chuck it in the dryer for a quick 10-minute cycle with no heat, and a dryer sheet to reduce any static. This will peel any loose hair off and send it straight to the lint trap for you to empty.
When you take the sheets out of the dryer, give them a good shake so that you remove any remaining loose hair. Then, wash your bedding as normal. During the rinse cycle, you can also add half a cup of white vinegar to the load.
This is because it acts as a natural fabric softener that relaxes materials and loosens pet hair. Once this is done, you can remove the laundry and dry them as normal.
For Their Bedding
It is really important that you clean your dog’s bed because it is actually one of the germiest places in your home. First, you should vacuum the bedding to get rid of loose debris and hair that might be settled at the bottom or under the main cushion.
If it has a removable cover, take this off and use a stain remover on any marks and stains that you want to get rid of. You can then check the label for washing instructions. If it doesn’t fit in the washing machine, you can actually wash it in the bathtub by hand – this just takes a little more of your time.
As long as it has hot water and detergent, that’s all that matters. This will kill any germs or parasite eggs that are lurking on the fabric. You can then dry it naturally or in the dryer, but if you use the latter you will need to stop the cycle halfway through to clean the lint trap. This just keeps things running smoothly and safely.
For Their Toys
Soft toys do need to be cleaned, especially when you start to notice that they are losing their natural color. They should be washed regularly to prevent any nasties from getting attached to them, and all you need to do is chuck them in the washing machine for a quick cycle. It is recommended to stick them in something like a pillowcase so that they don’t get too much of a beating. Dogs need their favorite toys!
Cleaning Your Washing Machine
So, the clothes and bedding are washed, now what? This is when you need to clean out your washing machine to avoid it getting clogged. The first thing you should do is allow it to run an empty cycle. This will rinse out any extra hair that is still inside the machine, making it easier to clean.
You will also need to wipe down the drum of the machine after the cycle. This keeps it clean and disinfected, but also makes sure that every single loose hair is gone. If it’s really severe, you can actually vacuum the interior of the drum to get the remaining hair out.
Unscrew the drain (usually at the front of the machine under a panel) and allow the contents to empty into a basin – just make sure there is a towel down too. You can check the drain for clumps of dog hair that need to be removed, and they may even be wrapped around the plug that you remove.
Washing your fluffy clothes and your dog’s bed is an important part of keeping everything (and everyone) in your home clean. However, it can put a strain on your washing machine and so ensuring that you take the time to clean it after every hairy use is important if you want it to last a long time.
About the Author:
Emma is a professional writer and blogger, with two furry friends and a lot of pet behavioral and pet health knowledge to share. She has written for numerous big animal magazines and health sites, and is a regular contributor to The Catington Post.