How to Get Dog Hair Out of Your Car’s Carpet

Tips to take the hassle out of taking your pets for a ride.


Article QuickTakes:

Sometimes man’s best friend can seem like a car’s worst enemy, especially when you find yourself struggling to extract stubborn strands of hair from your upholstery, carpeting, or if your furry friend is especially furry, even the headliner.

Keeping your vehicle tidy doesn’t have to mean trading your beloved pup (or kitten, for that matter) for a hairless snake or lizard. With a few simple tools and some savvy travel strategies, you can enjoy your dog’s company on the road and still keep your car presentable for human passengers as well.

Keep That Pet, and Pet Hair, in One Place

An important note about safety: It’s always best to keep your dog confined to one spot in your car, either in a crate or secured by a dog harness. Cats should be transported in pet carriers.

Having your pet ride on your lap might look adorable, but it could have tragic consequences if you get in an accident. A secured pet, in other words, is a safer pet. Bonus: Confining your dog will limit the areas of your car that you’ll have to clean when you get home.

Dog Hair Removal Made Easy

Let’s assume your car’s interior is covered in dog fur. Now what? A good starting point is a pet hair removal brush specifically designed to remove dog fur from clothes, furniture, and vehicle interiors. These often have flexible rubber bristles that are sturdy enough to corral stubborn hair without damaging clothing or upholstery. When the brush is raked along the seats or carpeting, pet hair accumulates in the bristles and your vehicle is on its way to being fur free.

Depending on the size of your vehicle — and how badly your dog sheds — other cleanup options include lint rollers, portable vacuums, or specialty products such as the Fur-Zoff pet hair removal stone. This roughly $10 gizmo resembles a pumice stone and works the same way as a pet hair removal brush. It could be especially handy for very deeply set-in fur.

Another option for deeply set dog fur: a spray bottle full of fabric softener diluted with water. By spraying this solution onto surfaces covered in fur, you’ll loosen and relax carpet and fabric fibers, making it easier to brush away stuck hair. One tablespoon of fabric softener in a standard spray bottle filled with water should do the trick. Wiping a rubber glove across the surface will pull up the hair with ease.

Don’t get overly aggressive when battling stubborn hair. Vigorous cleaning could damage your car’s upholstery. Also keep in mind that what works for cloth seats might harm leather surfaces and vice versa. Go gently to determine the best fur removal methods for your pet and vehicle.


Limit Dog Hair Before the Drive

If you really don’t want to risk messing up your seats and carpet, it helps to maintain a grooming schedule for your pet. The American Kennel Club recommends a good brushing once a week. Pets with thicker coats might need more care more often. Car seat covers designed for pets are an especially handy way to keep fur in check. These covers typically have attachments that loop over the rear headrests, with pet-friendly fabric that drapes over the rear seating area to protect your upholstery and add grip for your dog.

Some versions have sections spanning the gap between the first-row seatbacks and the bottom cushion of the second row. This helps keep carpets fur free and also stops your pooch from tumbling onto the floor if you have to brake suddenly.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Nick Kurczewski
Nick Kurczewski is a freelance automotive journalist based in the New York metro area. With approximately 20 years of experience, he has covered all aspects of the car world, from the pit lane at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to car shows around the world, and a Zamboni lesson in Lower Manhattan. He’s also adept at providing helpful car advice and steering people towards the ideal car, truck, or SUV for their driving needs.