For first time pet owners or homeowners, there can be a learning curve for the best ways to keep your home clean from pet hair. A common misconception is that pet allergies are a result of pet hair, but fur is actually NOT an allergen. Pet hair or fur can collect dander, saliva, and urine, as well as carry allergens such as dust and pollen. If you’ve decided it’s time to step up the cleaning regime, here are some tips for choosing the best air filter for pet hair.
MERV 11 vs MERV 13
Let’s look at the basics first. MERV ratings, (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value), are the primary rating system for air filters, and each category is able to filter out different pollutants depending on their size. MERV 11 filters are the minimum recommendation for pet owners since they’re able to filter out the smaller particles that your pets bring indoors from outside, as well as pet dander. However, MERV 13 air filters have the added benefit of also being able to trap airborne viruses and bacteria.
What is pet dander?
Pet dander is a combination of tiny particles of skin shed by common household pets such as cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and more. These are the microscopic particles that end up floating in your air and spreading through your home. Air filters capture more pet dander than they do pet hair since often pet hair ends up sticking to the floor or fabric surfaces.
Choosing between a MERV 11 vs MERV 13 air filter
Although you can choose MERV 11 filters to help keep your air clean when you welcome a pet into the family, MERV 13 filters are the better choice if you also have newborns or elderly family members living with you that are more susceptible to sickness. MERV 13 air filters can also capture more allergens and can help minimize the symptoms of pet allergies. If you’re really looking for the best air filter for pet hair and pet dander, but also for a higher level of air cleanliness and quality, choose a MERV 13 air filter. The main difference between MERV 11 and MERV 13 air filters, is that MERV 13 filters are also able to capture viruses and bacteria and are more effective for people with pet allergies.
|MERV 11||MERV 13|
|Pollen||Pollen & Outdoor Allergens|
|Dust, Lint, & Dust Mites||Dust & Dust Mites, Indoor Allergens|
|Pet Dander & Pet Hair||Pet Dander & Pet Hair + Allergens|
|Smoke & Smog||Smoke & Smog|
|Viruses & Bacteria|
Other Ways to Limit Pet Hair
Cleanliness is Key
Keeping a clean home will be the biggest preventative measure you can take to minimize pet hair and pet dander. Since pet dander is made of small particles, you may not be able to physically see it, so it’ll be important to clean all surfaces to help get rid of pet dander.
- First, vacuum all rugs and floors but make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter to trap small particles, like pet dander, as well as the visible pet hairs. If pet hairs get stuck in fabrics, you may need to use a lint roller as well.
- Next, dust all surfaces with a damp microfiber towel so that you’re not spreading around dirt. For furniture and curtains use a sticky lint roller to pick up any skin or protein particles that were shed by your pet.
- Lastly, make an effort to keep your pets off the couch and out of your bedroom. An allergen-free cover can prevent pet dander and pet hair from getting stuck into the fibers of the fabrics, which makes it very difficult to remove.
Upgrade Air Quality
Air quality is often overlooked since you often can’t visually see the difference. However, since you’re dealing with microscopic particles like pet dander, it’s important to have a quality air filter. A MERV 13 filter is best for asthma and allergy sufferers since it filters particles from pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and even airborne viruses. Measure your current air filter and opt for a high MERV rating to proactively protect your air quality and get rid of pet dander and pet hair.
For those looking for extra protection, you may also use an air purifier, also known as an air scrubber, to quickly and efficiently clean your air. Advanced air purifiers may be costly, but they often use multiple layered filters for ultimate air cleanliness.
Pamper Your Pets
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 40% of households own a dog, and just over 25% own a cat. These are the two most common pets, and both cause problems for allergy sufferers. Lung.com stated that about twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs and that non-allergenic dogs or cats do not exist.
The easiest way to get rid of pet dander and excess pet hair, is to pamper your pet with weekly baths using pet-friendly shampoo. Baths will help provide some allergy relief since you’ll be washing away loose skin and hair particles.
You can support your pet’s diet with high-quality foods that contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are healthy oils that help moisturize skin, so pets shed less. In between baths you can use hypoallergenic pet wipes that help remove any other allergens that may have accumulated on your pet’s fur. If your dog or cat loves the vacuum, you can even vacuum their bodies to help get rid of any loose hair and dander. My puppy personally loves to be vacuumed and gets excited when I bring the vacuum out! Lastly, when you’re cleaning your home, make sure to include your pet’s bed. Give it a good vacuum and a weekly wash to get rid of dander and pet hair build-up.
Now that you know the differences between MERV 11 vs MERV 13 air filters, you’ll be able to choose the best air filter for pet hair, based on your personal preferences and situation.