I was told several times that the most effective way is simply to move my wet hand (palm) over the cloth (and cat's hair will be on the palm).

But in my case it's not true. Maybe, because in my case the cloth is thin (I prefer thin T-shirts, socks, etc) and cat's hair is relatively long, so it often gets deeply inside the cloth, literally penetrating it (or, at least, hardly clinging to it). Washing machine doesn't remove cat hair too.

Currently I end up with explicitly removing hair fibers with my fingers one-by-one. Any ideas? (Details, if needed: we have two cats, one short-haired and one long-haired.)

5 Answers 5


We also have a cat, so I'm speaking from experience:

  1. Prevention - you don't need to get off what didn't get on your clothes in the first place.

    • Brush your cat regularly. If he's not used to it, start with just a few strokes with a brush while petting him and reward his patience, e.g. with a small treat. Every hair that's in a brush won't get shed elsewhere. If you have a cooperative outdoor cat, brushing outside is even better.
    • Vacuum regularly. Not only the floors, but also the places you and your cat share, like the sofa. Sitting on cat hair causes them to get embedded in the fibers of your clothes.
    • Some people swear by fabric softener to reduce electrostatic effects and thus less "clingy" hair. As I personally don't use it, I can not confirm its effectiveness, but at least for fabrics with partly synthetic fibers it sounds logical.
    • Avoid embedding cat hair into the fibers as much as possible, so make your wardrobe / closet / laundry basket / pile of clothes... off-limits for your feline companions. Once they sleep on the clothes, they'll literally "rub the hair in".
    • Do not wash clothes with cat hair on them. It might be tempting to "have the washer and dryer deal with them", but usually it causes them to get "felted" onto and into your t-shirt.
  2. Removal - a mix-and-match set of methods I used in the past.

    • For copious amounts of hair (think shedding season), shaking out the shirt (outside!) will be a first step.
    • If you use a lint roller or other tool, I find it easiest to use it while I wear the shirt. It seems to stretch less than when placed on a table or ironing board. Plus I don't want to spread cat hair everywhere. But in the long-term, they can be pretty pricey. I mostly use them for a quick touch-up.
    • There are re-usable lint rollers on the market that have a permanently sticky rubber surface that can be rinsed off. They work reasonably well (but are less "strong" than the ones with tape), but are not suitable for large surfaces.
    • Similar to the sticky rollers are rubber gloves. Not the thin chirurgical ones, but simple household gloves. Get them slightly damp, then wipe down your clothes. The hair should form little "rolls". Rinse the gloves as necessary.
    • A very "hacky" approach is packing tape - and very cheap. Wrap some round your hand, sticky side out, then use it like a lint roller. What's nice is that you can somewhat adjust the strength by pressing harder or less hard, whatever fits your use case. And your hand will mold better to your body-shape than a rigid roller, so you need less going back-and-forth. Note that the "stickiness" can vary between brands, so some experimentation may be in order. Don't use duct tape or similar, especially for thin fabrics!
    • Note that no tool or method will remove every single hair. You live with cats, that also means cat hair. You can drastically lower the amount, but if you really want to get rid of every single hair, there will always be a few that must be plucked off individually.
  • Your solutions like Shaking out shirt,lint roller, packing tapes are variants of the same solutions put forward by other answerers, so I request you to update with other hacks if any, otherwise this answer will be given down points. Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 5:23
  • 2
    @MANEESHMOHAN you are free to vote as you see fit. However, I did not simply repeat answers (and I've been around the network long enough to know better), I suggested a combination of methods. Sometimes one needs to use what is available in a certain situation. And I discussed the pro's, con's and limitations, which you and other posters didn't or explained how to make things work that others deemed ineffective (lint roller). I also realize that we have a "one answer per post" policy, which I ignored on purpose here, because a cascade of meassures is IMHO the best fit in this case.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 5:50
  • @MANEESHMOHAN, while I understand this answer may not fit some Lifehack SE rules… But still subjectively I like it the most, for 2 reasons: (1) It gives me overview of ideas; from the one that actually owns cat; I may dislike some methods now, but such explanation form allows me to easily remind and try them later. (2) It confirmed my yesterday-late-evening insight/guess, that I shouldn't wash material before removing hair ('cause it makes hair to go deeper). Additionally, thanks for overview of prevention methods; although I didn't ask for it, it still looks useful.
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 8:31

Thanks everyone for their answers.

I realized that one of my problems was that I often first hand-washed my clothes, and only then removed remaining hair. I did this because I supposed some of hair to be removed by hand-washing. But, if fact, it just made cat hair to go deeper into the material.

My current recipe (maybe not the best) is the following:

  1. Blind cleaning. While T-shirt is still dry, move wet hand/wet sponge over it. As for me, I don't like this step, because my vision doesn't allow to see cat hair precisely on dry material (but I can see it very well on wet material), so this step is actually to be done "blindly"; however, I realize that it still can be somewhat effective. Also, if there is a lot of hair on T-shirt, you can also shake it above a bathtub (not my case though, I usually had not much hair, but strongly-clanged).
  2. Sighted cleaning. Drench T-shirt (hair is much more visible on wet material). Remove cat hair fibers with your fingers one by one from both outer and inner sides of cloth (this is actually what I did before, but I did it after "step 3", which made it problematical).
  3. Washing. Wash your clothes as usually (hand-washing, machine washing, etc). Never do it before "step 2": not only soap and washing powder themselves don't remove cat hair, but also typical washing movements cause hair to penetrate deeper into the material.
  4. Check. While cloth is still wet, check it for not-noticed-yet hair. Repeat "step 2", if necessary.

A lint roller (adhesive tape on a roller with a handle) would not work well because of the stretchiness of the t-shirt fabric and the stickiness of the adhesive tape. However, there are other adhesive surfaces that might work.

You could flatten out Silly Putty, press it on the shirt, and the hairs would get stuck in the SP when you peel it off. It also wouldn't stick to your shirt's fabric very strongly. However, Silly Putty is expensive, and wouldn't cover much surface area, so it would not be cost effective.

You could also get a roll of contact paper (a.k.a. shelf liner), which should not be too expensive but should have a lot of square footage. Cut off a section the size of your shirt, peel off the backing, press your shirt onto it, and peel it off slowly. The hairs should stick the the paper and get drawn out of your shirt fabric.


I have removed most of cat hair, but not all, with a wet sponge. It also works on sofas and carpets, but again, it does not remove the hair completely, only the major part.

  • As I've said, this method doesn't help me, because (maybe due to the fact my cotton cloth is this or maybe due to some other reasons) cat hair fibers gets deeply into cloth, penetrating into it. In most cases I need to apply some force/effort to remove them. (Sometimes, when I pull a hair fiber with my fingers, the fiber even rips, partially remaining withing the cloth instead of being fully removed.)
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 16:15
  • Well, the most affected clothes I had were sport pants. The long hairs were stuck into the fabric and the washing machine didn't help. After using a wet sponge, the sponge was unusable for anything else because it had trapped the hairs and I could not get them all out. I am sorry I can't help more.
    – Alina
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:06

I suggest you could follow both the steps shown below:

  1. Dry your T-shirt in sun. After a warm dry, spread out a paper on your floor. Now shake your t-shirt rapidly so that newtons first law of motion is applied(Everybody will continue in its position unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force). During this, some hair will fall on you too. But most of them will fall on the paper distributed on the floor. Afterward, you can clean the area by packing up hair on paper spread out.
  2. You can use Vacuum cleaner. Spread out your t-shirt on a table. Now try out a vacuum cleaner on it.
  • 1. IMHO, impossible. As I've said, some of hair gets deeply into the cloth / clings hard. Maybe exposing to Sun somehow changes situation, but (a) I don't believe it will be changed too much; (b) we don't have much sun in winter and clothes need to be cleaned every day. 2. Thanks. I'll try. Although I don't like idea of turning vacuum cleaner every day in evening (electricity and noise), but I'll try. P.S.: Why sun? Do you mean sun somehow destroys hair structure of hair fibers or somehow causes it to uncling from cloth? If yes, what env. requirements are (min. temperature, how long, etc)?
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 10:14
  • 1
    @Sasha Sun eliminates moisture if any from cloth. Then only, if you shake, just along with dust particles, cat hair will come out from cloth fibers. It is fine if you dont have that much sun but condition is that there should not be any moisture content in cloth, I mean it should be dry. I hope you will take care of your cat from not clinging on to cloth any more as you took so much pain for removing its hair from this cloth. So I put 2nd option as a last resort since noise and electricity sounds trouble to you. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 10:23
  • Although I haven't tried this in practice (so I can't say for sure), but I don't believe it will work, because of: (a) static electricity; (b) as I've said it clings hard. Even when pulling a hair fiber with my fingers is sometimes not enough to remove it fully: it sometimes just rips into two parts instead of be fully removed. I don't know why it happens (maybe because cloth is thin, so hair fibers penetrate it, maybe cloth is poor quality), but the fact is that it happens.
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 13:54
  • (As for taking care for cat, you're probably right, if we clean the cat (i.e. comb it out, etc) regularly, then probably will have less cat hair on the floor, clothes and everywhere. It's actually very good idea — it's better to prevent hair spread, than to try cleaning hair being already spread over an appartment. But the current question is about cleaning, not preventing.)
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Sasha Ya, I got that, question was for cleaning. By taking care of cat, I really meant you will not have to use vacuum cleaner regularly if you take care of cat. Anyway, it will be better if you add a picture of the situation which I hope will strike more hacks for me. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 14:16

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