How to Get Dog Hair Out of Car

If you own a shedding pet and he or she rides with you in your car, I probably won’t have to spell out the problem. You know what I’m talking about.

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After a ride in the car, your pet hops out happily while the seats are left looking like you gave a lift to a family of Yetis. Pet hair and car seats just don’t mix well.

The ultimate problem is that if you have a pet that sheds, there is always heaps of loose hair just waiting for the right moment to fall off.

And when your dog or cat rubs itself on the car seats during a bumpy ride in the car, all that static energy causes that hair to stick to the upholstery.

Also, car seats are often covered with coarse materials that are durable, but unfortunately, they also let pet hair cling tightly on the surface.

pet hair shedding

Even the floor mats in your car may be made of materials that can be a nightmare when you have pet hair floating around. These materials can be useful for many reasons, but as a pet owner, you know that they can be challenging to clean when it comes to pet hair.

Although this is a frustrating problem many pet owners face, there is hope. The key is to

  • Have the right equipment for removing pet hair
  • Protect your car from pet hair

This is what you need to do:

The right equipment for removing pet hair from your car

First of all, you need to have the right equipment for removing the pet hair that ends up on the seats and mats of your car. The internet is full of gimmicks like using rubber gloves or squeegees for this purpose, but these tricks don’t work the way you want them to.

If you need a quick fix, then any sticky or rubber-coated item may help you remove some of the pet hair. But if you own a car and a pet that sheds, and you want to keep your car clean, then you shouldn’t rely on lousy advice.

There are only two tools which really will help you deal with all that pet hair.

1. Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The number one solution for pet hair in your car is to invest in a handheld vacuum. They are not that expensive, and it will solve your problem quickly and efficiently.

But make sure you don’t just buy any handheld vacuum. There are many brands and models out on the market, but only a few actually have what it takes to wipe out pet hair.

If you buy a cheap and inefficient hand vac, you will be disappointed, because it won’t have the power that is needed for removing pet hair from challenging surfaces. However, if you find the right one, you will be the happy owner of a pet hair-free car.

Also Read: Best Handheld Vacuums For Pet Hair

What you need to look out for is

  • powerful suction
  • motorized brush roll tool
  • crevice tool
  • adequate runtime
  • large dirt cup
handheld vacuum cleaner on white

You might also want an extension hose and other attachments to make the vacuum more adaptable and easier to use.

A cordless vacuum is easier to handle, but you will have to make sure the runtime meets your expectations. Although 10-15 minutes may not sound like a long time, it is often more than enough for giving your car a quick cleanup after a ride with your pet.

The most important tool for pet hair is the motorized brush roll attachment. Because car seats and mats are challenging surfaces, you need powerful tools to remove the hair that has been embedded into the surface. Because the stiff bristles of the brush roll are able to dig deep into the surface, they are also able to remove all the dust, dirt, and pet hair providing a deep clean.

A handheld vacuum is the absolute king when you’re looking for a tool that can get dog and cat hair out of your car.

2. Lint Rollers

Lint rollers are not as effective as vacuum cleaners, but they remove a lot of the pet hair that is on the surface and has not been ground into the material. Just run the lint roller over your seats, and the sticky surface will be able to grab most of the hair.

You should always keep a couple of lint rollers in your car. They are your go-to item when you need that quick cleanup on the road, and you don’t have your vacuum at hand.

Protecting your car from pet hair

Brush your pet before a ride in your car

As we mentioned, the root of the problem is in the hair that is already loose and ready to fall off. When your pet rubs itself against the car seats, this hair will come off and cling to the upholstery.

To prevent the pet hair from being shed right there in the car, you can try brushing your pet before he or she hops in. Take a rubber-coated shedding glove or a brush, and gently brush through your pet’s coat. Most of the loose fur will come off before your pet even enters the car.

By doing this, you will significantly reduce pet hair in your car and make it easier to clean.

Use seat covers

Even if you brush your pet before you give them a lift to the park or vet, there will always be some fur that is shed during the ride. Another excellent way to protect your car from that pet hair is to line the backseat with seat covers.

There are many types and model to choose from, and depending on your car, how your pet rides and how many pets you have, you may need to cover just one seat or the whole trunk. Keep your eye on these features when buying a seat cover:

  • Size - make sure the cover fist perfectly into your car
  • Durable material will prevent your pet from scratching the seats
  • Waterproof material will prevent urine accidents
  • Non-slip surface to avoid injuries
  • Machine washable material for easy cleaning

With the perfect seat cover for your car, all that pet hair is easily removed by just removing the cover a popping it into the washer (and possibly even dryer). Using a seat cover is an easy and effortless way to tackle pet hair in your car.

Get your pet a crate

Your dog may want to sit on your lap or stick its head out of the window, but it is vital for the safety of not only your dog but you yourself that you keep your pet secured with a seat belt or in a crate when driving. Safety always comes first, but there is another advantage that has to do with pet hair.

Keeping your dog in a crate (that is securely fastened) will also reduce pet air that gets wafted around the car. Since your dog won’t be able to rub itself against the upholstery, there is less pet hair for you to clean up.

However, some people don’t want to use a crate, and for them, we recommend a safety belt designed for dogs. Not only for safety, but also because it restricts your pet from darting around and creating a mess. Better yet, secure your pet with a seat belt and train them to sit on a seat cover only. It will help you tackle your pet hair problem in the car.


When trying to figure out how to fight that pet hair accumulating in your car, don’t turn to tricks and gimmicks. A rubber glove, squeegee or anti-static spray may be a quick fix if you don’t have better equipment at hand. But since you happen to have a neverending supply of pet hair riding along, they will only offer short term help.

The ultimate solution is to combine brushing, seat covers, belts, lint roller, and a handheld vacuum that is designed for pet hair.

By brushing your dog regularly, you can make sure there is less pet hair to be wafted into the air, and the belt and seat cover will keep your dog from spreading around the loose hair that is left after brushing. It’s easy to throw the seat cover into the washer, and a dryer will finish the job.

Since pet hair is such a persistent opponent, you should still keep a lint roller in the glove compartment just in case. You will always be ready for a quick cleanup if your friend asks for a lift.

Finally, the bottom line is having a good handheld vacuum. Even if you take every precaution, pet hair will find its way on your car mats and seats. A handheld vacuum with a motorized brush toll attachment will give your car a thorough cleanup and wipe out even the last hair.

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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