Why Is It Hard to Remove Pet Hair from Your Car?

Removing pet hair from your car is worse than removing pet hair from household surfaces. Household surfaces are accessible, and for furniture like couches or upholstered chairs, you can typically remove cushions to get in-between and underneath the surface.

Unfortunately, with vehicles, that isn’t the case. Cushions aren’t removable, and pet hair sticks to all kinds of hard-to-reach surfaces like the side of the seat and the floorboard.

Furthermore, car seats and floorboards require special deep cleaning since you can’t just put cushions through the washing machine or dry cleaners.

These factors make removing pet hair from the car much more difficult than in other areas, which can be difficult for pet owners that drive daily, as a dirty car interior can be stressful and distracting.

Furthermore, allergens can become difficult to deal with, and collected hair can clog your air filter quickly, dampening the air quality inside your car and making the vehicle smell like pet dander.

While there’s no doubt that you love your dog, chances are, you’re not fond of the idea of a hair-covered car interior that smells like a dog.

What is the Best Way to Remove Pet Hair From Car?

There are so many products available on the market that promise to remove pet hair easily with no fuss or hassle. (1) It can feel like a bit of a magic eraser, erasing pet hair in a wave of the hand.

Unfortunately, reality rarely imitates this fantasy, and most pet hair removal products end up failing to remove pet hair or require so much work that it’s not worth it.

To remove pet hair or other fuzz or dust that clings to upholstery, a rubber-nubbed tool can help. But a motorized brush can make the job even easier.

NY Times

You might be thinking, “surely, there has to be a way to remove pet hair from car easily.” Fortunately, you’re right, but it doesn’t involve expensive gadgets or specialized tools.

At Pet Lovers, we dedicated our entire business to one of the best tools for removing pet hair from cars and homes alike: a high-quality, extra-sticky lint roller.

It might seem like you’re going back to basics with a lint roller, but the extra sticky coating helps trap more pet hair per sheet, all with less effort.

This doesn’t mean it’s a magic wand. You still need to use the lint roller to get rid of pet hair, but with Pet Lovers, it’s not difficult. The reusable, ergonomic handle keeps your hand from cramping, and refill rolls ensure that you never run out when you need it most.

Preparing Your Car for Pet Hair Removal

Pet hair can be difficult to deal with in a vehicle, especially if it is not maintained regularly with a lint roller and vacuum. Removing large amounts of pet hair is a time-consuming job that can take a few hours depending on how much cleaning is required.

Removing a lot of pet hair at once is too much for most vacuums or lint rollers, but a few preparatory steps can help loosen the hairs from the car’s surface areas and make the job a little easier.

Before you begin collecting the pet hair, you will need to loosen the fibers. A rubber brush with nubs or rubber dishwashing gloves can help.

Rub this material across the surface that you will be cleaning, and you should see some hairs come loose, especially with leather seats as the hair has fewer opportunities to become embedded in upholstered fabrics.

If you don’t have a rubber glove handy, try using an unscented dryer sheet, as this will help loosen the hair and prepare it for vacuuming or lint rolling.

Tips for Removing Pet Hair Using a Lint Roller

A pet brush designed to help groom the undercoat of your pet can help pull pet hair out of your car’s interior and collected it into a bundle that you can grip and dispose of properly.

Be sure to remove the seat cover before using this kind of brush on your seats, as the stretchy material may catch and pull threads loose.

Additionally, every brush is designed a little differently, so you should always test the brush before using it on new material.

For a thorough clean, finish up with a cursory vacuum and once-over with the lint roller to get any remaining loosened hairs out of the upholstery.

The downside to this method is that it cannot be used on leather or seat covers and may not be safe for collecting hair from corners. It will only work on upholstery fabrics like floorboard mats, fabric ceilings, and flat areas of upholstered seats.

Don’t have an undercoat brush and need to get rid of pet hair with just a lint roller? No problem! The tips below will help you learn how to remove pet hair from car with your lint roller.

1. Cover Both Directions

When using your lint roller, rolling in one direction is often enough for softer fabrics, or surfaces that have less hair on them. If your car seats have a high concentration of pet hair, however, it can be difficult to pick it up.

By using your lint roller in multiple directions, both horizontally and vertically – or diagonally – you can pick up stubborn hairs easily, without the need for a damp sponge or rubber brush to help pull the hair up ahead of time.

Short bursts of little rolls, rather than a single smooth roll across the surface can also help pick up stubborn hairs, as more pressure is often applied to these short-length rolls. The additional pressure can help the hair attach to the sticky paper as it is pulled from the surface of the fabric and the sticky paper can target the same spot several times before moving on.

Longer rolls tend to lose pressure as the lint roller is brought across the surface, and keeping continuous pressure on the lint roller can become tiring, even with an ergonomic handle.

2. Don't Overdo it on Fabric Softeners

Fabric softener is one of the prime pleasures of modern life. Washing and drying materials without it leave them dry and rough, but fabric softeners condition the fabric to bring out the soft material, often making it even soften than before it went into the wash.

Even better if you find a fabric softener that doubles as a scent booster or dryer sheet, so your car can have that new car smell just by tossing the seat cover in the wash.

There is a downside, however. If you’re planning to clean the surface with a lint roller, you should be careful not to overdo it on the fabric softener, as this can also make the fabric pull and stretch more, making it much more difficult to roll.

If you find that it’s difficult to lint roll your seat cover, for example, even while holding it taught, it might be over-conditioned with fabric softener.

The fabric will pull along with the sticky paper, stretching it with the roller and creating folders that are difficult and frustrating to get between.

Not only does this prevent you from easily rolling the fabric and collecting pet hair, but it can also stretch and loosen fibers, shortening the longevity of the material.

3. Use a Quality Sticky Lint Roller

A lot of pet owners get frustrated with lint rollers because they will purchase low-quality rollers that slide off the handle, don’t pick up pet fur, or run out of sticky paper too quickly to be of any use.

These lint rollers are easy to purchase at just about any store with pet supplies, but they don’t do the job well.

Using a quality lint roller, like Pet Lovers’ extra sticky lint roller, is an excellent choice to remove pet hair from car.

This roller is gentle enough to be used on vinyl, upholstery, and other common materials used in car interiors, but strong enough to pick up even heavy concentrations of pet fur.

With more pet hair pulling power per sheet, the Pet Lovers lint rollers are still easy on your wallet. Best of all, the handles are ergonomic and reusable so you can refill the sticky paper when it runs out, rather than tossing the whole roller in the trash.

For lint rolling on the go, Pet Lovers also has a mini travel lint roller which is shorter and smaller, making it ideal for storing in the glove box or the backseat whenever you need to address problematic pet fur on your seats or clothes.

Preventing Pet Hair

Whether you are trying to remove pet hair from car, or in a struggle against pet hair in the home, know that you are not alone. (2)

Every pet owner struggles with pet hair and keeping everything as clean as possible, while also balancing other demands of life, such as work, social obligations, and mental health.

It can feel overwhelming at times, which is why it’s important not to just address the symptoms of pet hair, but also to prevent it from becoming such a problem in the first place.

Getting ahead of the maintenance cleaning is an important step to freeing up your time and getting shedding under control.

If you have pets, you most likely will run into a problem with pet hair. Especially in the first few weeks of fall, when all animals seem to shed their summer coat


There are many ways you can prevent pet hair in your car, from seat covers to doggy seatbelts, and travel pet carriers.

When your pet is healthy and properly groomed, they are also less likely to shed as the skin and hair follicles are in healthier conditions. Keeping your pet healthy and properly hydrated is one of the best ways to manage pet hair and shedding whether it’s in the car or your home.

Long-haired breeds typically shed more than short-hair breeds, and some dogs develop an undercoat to keep them warm in cold weather, which leads to more shedding during the summer. Understanding the shedding cycle of your dog’s breed can also help you manage shedding seasonally, and get the lint rollers prepared in advance.

Keep Up with Maintenance

You maintain your home with regular cleaning, vacuuming, waste disposal, lint rolling, and dusting. Why don’t you do the same thing for your car? A lot of people stay on top of their car’s mechanical maintenance or decorate the outside to showcase their wealth, instead of maintaining the interior.

For many people, the less time spent in the vehicle, the better, but between commuting and leisurely road trips, chances are that you spend most of your time in your car when you’re not at home.

Maintaining your vehicle’s cleanliness is important. Regular maintenance should include waste disposal, window cleaning, exterior car washing to remove dirt and debris, and if you have a pet, lint rolling of the cushions.

More thorough but less frequent cleaning can also be done, such as deep-cleaning seats to restore their natural color and cleanliness, washing the doors, and deep-cleaning the floorboards.

Regular cleaning maintenance of your vehicle not only keeps it presentable to friends and family but also keeps pet hair and dander out of the air and out of the filtration system, keeping your clothes clean and the air inside fresh.

As a bonus, keeping the interior clean can help reduce any environmental stress you might feel during commutes and reduces distractions inside the vehicle.

Get a Seat Cover

You love your pets, and you want the best experiences for them. Whether it’s a road trip or a vet visit, there are times when you need them in your vehicle. This means that, by the end of the trip, pet hair will be everywhere in your car, so how can you prevent it?

A lot of pet owners cover their seats with seat covers, at least when the pet will be in the vehicle, and it’s one of the best ways to prevent pet hair on the seats.

Whether your seats are leather or upholstered, these covers can help prevent pet hair from getting between the cushions.

Seat covers are available in a wide variety of prints, materials, and patterns. Whether you are a fan of seat covers or not, they greatly improve the cleanliness of your seats.

Better yet, depending on the type of seat cover you get, these covers can also protect your seats from your pup’s bathroom accidents and unintentional claw marks, or anxious chewing.

Seat covers are easy to vacuum, and many can be given a thorough cleaning by taking them out and tossing them in the washing machine and air-dried before putting them back in the vehicle.

Featured: Best Pet Hair Remover for Car

Out of all the lint rollers we’ve tested, the Pet Lovers Extra Sticky and Pet Lovers Ultra Sticky worked best for both vinyl and leather car interiors without damaging the upholstery. For more delicate interior fabrics, the regular sticky version did the trick without clinging to the fabric, untangling embedded hairs with ease.

Pet Lovers also has mini travel-size rollers available. These rollers are smaller, making them an ideal choice to keep in the glove box or storage console. These mini rollers have a regular stickiness, but they do great at cleaning the hard-to-reach areas like between seat cushions and tight corners.

Best of all, these rollers can be refilled once empty, and refill packs can be ordered on auto-ship so you never have to worry about running out.

Looking for more lint roller tips, comparisons, and pet hair removal hacks? For more guides like this, be sure to follow our latest articles.


  1. NY Times, The Best Car Vacuum, https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-car-vacuum/
  2. HuffPost, How to Get Rid of Pet Hair: Testing 7 Odd Ways, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/7-ways-to-get-rid-of-pet-hair_n_964554