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The Single Best Way to Remove Pet Hair From a Car

Not sure how to remove all that pet hair tracked in? Before you throw on that black turtleneck, today I’ll share the best way to remove dog, cat…and basically any kind of pet hair.

Truth be told, most people only need a couple of products to remove pet hair. And by removing, I mean dislodging and vacuuming up. Breaking the static bond and dislodging is half the battle!

In this post, you’ll learn what products you need based on your situation, and a few tricks to prevent pet hair buildup in the future.

A pet hair brush or roller is typically best

A pet hair brush and a vacuum to remove about 90% of the pet hair in your vehicle. Yes, there are products that also work, but you don’t need 10 products for this job, just one or two effective ones.

Pet hair brushes dislodge and allow you to rake all the hair in one pile. If I had to choose one, I like the roller-style pet hair removal brushes because they’re lightweight, agile, and trap the hair pretty well by design so you can vacuum it up.

Pet Hair Roller and Rake

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You don’t always need a brush to start, but a rake…if you’re dealing with a lot of hair. Plus, these rollers you can use on seats too.

Pet hair brushes: Rubber bristles vs nylon 

Pet hair clings to rubber like a magnet which makes rubber-bristled brushes so effective. Nylon brushes, although effective, are more likely to remove carpet fiber.

I wouldn’t use any pet brush with stiff, sharp spikes unless you simply can’t remove a piece of hair. Use these like you would a scalpel—only when necessary!

For nooks and crannies, a thin rubber-bristled pet hair brush works great.

Rubber Bristled Pet Hair Brush

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Caution!

Quick Tip: Pet hair tends to get stuck on cheap car carpet. If your carpet doesn’t have pile, but rather a fuzz appearance…you may have to use a pumice stone. But be careful with pumice,  because it can easily create bald spots by removing too much carpet.

Before you begin

First, assess what type of brush or device you need using our pet hair removal chart. Avoid brushes with metal bristles as they may damage cloth and/or carpet.

Vehicle Pet Hair Removal Chart

ToolBest ForHow To Use
Microfiber TowelLeather or vinyl seats and dashboardsMicrofiber is designed to lift, so you can remove most pet hair on slippery surfaces by simply grazing a microfiber towel over the surface
Pumice stoneLoosening stuck pet hair on cheaper carpetLightly graze over the surface; If it removes too many carpet fibers, try another tool
Drill brushSpeed; large surfaces with premium carpetAttach drill brush carpet attachment and use on a medium speed setting until hair is dislodged
Rubber tire brushTight spaces; cheap carpet; cloth seatsLightly graze and rake pet hair, using a vacuum to remove
Copper blade lint rollerEveryday use on floor mats, seats, and large areas like trunksSimply roll and rake pet hair into a pile
Quick Tip

Work in phases to remove pet hair. Start by raking loose hair, then vacuum, THEN go back for round 2. For stuck-on pet hair, you’ll want to use some type of dedicated brush. Here’s a quick guide to help you decide what you need

Pet hair removal tutorial

1. Remove and your clean mats

If you have rubber mats, shake and remove pet hair first. If your mats are carpet, you can technically leave them in the vehicle, but it’s more convenient for me to remove them.

2. Vacuum up all loose hair

Use your vac to suck up any loose pet hair you can. If you don’t have a ton of loose hair that’s coming up easily, you can skip this step and start with a brush.

3. Dislodge and rake up stuck-on pet hair

With your brush or rake, dislodge as much pet hair as you can into a debris pile and vacuum up. You can use your vacuum in one hand, brush in another to save time; or use a crevice tool with bristles. If you don’t have a brush, a rubber water blade used to clean showers works surprisingly well.

water blade for carpet detailing
A water blade works great on loose hair and debris.

4. Vacuum everything and spot-check your work

In the vacuum stage, you may need to use several crevice tools in between seats, near door jambs, and other areas. You can find brush attachment packs online, including ones with bristles.

Quick Tip

Pet hair removal takes time..so don’t worry if you can’t remove everything on your first pass. In extreme cases, you may want to find a detailer familiar with pet hair removal. 

Most washing and detailing jobs are easy…but pet hair is soo annoying in my opinion; professional help may be worth paying for if you’re like me ;) Once clean, here are a few tips to keep your interior looking good.

Tips to prevent pet hair buildup in your car

Do: Place towels on seats and carpet whenever carrying dogs or cats

Do: Switch to rubber mats if possible. They’re 100x easier to clean!

Do: Apply a fabric protectant like Scotchgard. This protective barrier will make future cleanup easier

Don’t: Let pet hair accumulate and embed into carpet fibers. This will make removing it more difficult

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a carpet brush to remove pet hair?

Technically, you can use a carpet brush for pet hair but I wouldn’t. As you know, pet hair is unsightly, and you don’t want to track it back into your vehicle.

What’s the best vacuum for pet hair?

There’s no best vacuum for pet hair, just find one with enough suction and storage for the hair; the right nozzle can make removal easier too. Ideally, you want a sturdy, angled vac nozzle for pet hair or one with bristles in some cases.

This Rigid wet/dry vac has this type of square nozzle that works really well if you need one; you can also purchase nozzles separately for Shop Vac and Ridgid brand car vacs.

Rigid Wet/Dry Vac

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Time to deep clean your carpet? Start here

If pet hair is everywhere, you may want to clean your carpets while you’re at it to remove odors and dirt. There’s no sense in just removing pet hair alone…might as well freshen things up!

Check out our post on How to Clean Car Carpets (the right way) for a step-by-step guide for beginners and good luck!

Baxter Overman is the founder of Carwash Country and has been been cleaning up dirty vehicles for nearly 20 years. Since 2017, he's helped thousands of beginners see better results by learning the fundamentals of washing and detailing. He's on a mission to make the car wash process more fun...and way easier.

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