Lake Tahoe Humane Society: What to do about cat hair and urine |

Lake Tahoe Humane Society: What to do about cat hair and urine

Dear Hopeful Henry,

I love my cats, but sometimes all the cat hair all over my clothes is so frustrating. Any quick-fix suggestions for clean clothes that still have hair stuck to them?



Dear Amy,

I totally understand. Even if you are a cat lover, you likely do not like all the hair that is left behind on your clothing. Fortunately most of the cat hair that remains on your clothes after they are washed will come out in the dryer and end up in the lint trap. Just make sure you clean the lint trap before every use.

Also to help your washing machine to do its job, make sure you don’t over-load the machine. I only fill my machine half full (the equivalent of a medium load) then run the water level as a full load. This gives the clothes room to move around during the wash cycle making for cleaner, less-hairy clothes.

If cat hair remains, there are additional steps you can take to remove hair from the clothing. First the “dryer method.” Tie an old pair of clean pantyhose into a knot. This will prevent the pantyhose from wrapping around your clothing. Toss your clean, hairy clothes with the pantyhose into the dryer. Clean out the dryer’s lint trap and set the dryer to air fluff setting. Let the machine run for about five or 10 minutes. The cat hair will attach to the nylon pantyhose.

There also is the “tape method.” Set the clothing out on a flat surface, such as a table. Tear off a length of wide tape, such as masking tape or shipping tape. Make the length of the tape the width of the article of clothing you are cleaning. Press the tape to the clothing, lift and repeat. Move down the entire article of clothing. The tape will pick up the hair.

Hoping this makes for a less hairy laundry adventure,

Hopeful Henry

Help Hopeful Henry,

How do I really get cat urine odor out? There are so many cleaners that promise to work and just don’t, and they are always so expensive. There has to be a better way.


Dear Barb,

Cat urine is one of the most pungent odors on earth. When your cat has an accident, the problem is more complicated than simply cleaning it up. The smell has a tendency to linger and can be very difficult to remove without the right materials. First, I would avoid most all of the “urine remover” spray/cleaners on the market — most do not really work and, like you said, can be very costly. As frustrating as it may seem, getting rid of the odor that urine left behind is easier than one may think. Here is a tried and true fix to the problem.

Soak a clean cloth in hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to use the cheap 3 percent hydrogen peroxide you can purchase at the local grocery store and not the industrial type that hairdressers use. Wring out the cloth and place it directly on top of the affected area. Cover it in plastic wrap and place something, such as a phone book, on it to weigh it down and help speed the process along. Allow the cloth to sit on the area for at least half a hour. This will help to draw out any urine that is within the wood or carpet. Remove the cloth as it begins to change colors and replace it with a new one, checking it every 30 minutes to an hour. Continue to do this until no more urine comes out and the cloth stays clean. Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel and sprinkle the area with baking soda. Make sure that the entire area is completely covered. Allow the baking soda to sit on the area for at least a hour to absorb any lingering odors before wiping, sweeping or vacuuming it away. If you are cleaning wood, wipe the area with a clean cloth dipped in Murphy’s Oil Soap to help further clean the wood and help restore the shine.

Please also remember cats by nature are very clean. Keeping your kitty’s litter box clean and using unscented litter will keep your kitty happy and using his or her litter box. If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s litter box behavior, first contact your veterinarian to make sure there are no health issues causing this change.

Hope this was helpful,

Hopeful Henry

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Need some pet advice? Ask Hopeful Henry. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit SPCA, or

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