Whether you’re wondering how to get rid of cat dander in a new house or you’ve recently noticed your furry feline friend might be giving you allergy symptoms, it’s time to learn how to identify cat dander vs dandruff and how to remove it from your home.
Luckily, you won’t have to rehome your cat, but you will learn how to minimize cat dander and our best suggestions on getting rid of cat dander if you’ve recently moved.
What is the Difference Between Cat Dander vs Dandruff
One of the biggest differences between cat dander vs dandruff is that cat dander is microscopic. Although dander is invisible to the human eye, it is made of skin cells that shed naturally from your pet. Dandruff, on the other hand, is visible, since it’s composed of skin cells that build up and clump together, sometimes along with bits of hair.
Since cats are meticulous self-groomers, they will end up transferring cat saliva to their skin and coat which ends up shedding over time. Some people are allergic to the protein found in cat’s saliva, not the cat dander itself, but since cats spend so much time grooming, the saliva accompanying cat dander and dandruff can also cause allergic symptoms.
What Does Cat Dander Look Like?
Cat dander is microscopic, and invisible to the human eye, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t living on most surfaces. Cat dandruff can be visible and will mostly appear as white, semi-transparent little flakes on your pet. Sometimes dandruff will also have bits of hair or fur stuck to it. One of the best ways to minimize cat dander, is to regularly wash your feline friend. They may not appreciate baths, but piling on dry shampoo will only cause dander and dandruff to accumulate whereas baths will assist their regular grooming and can help remove loose hair and dead skin cell build-up.
How to Get Rid of Cat Dander in a New House
Congratulations! You’ve just become a new homeowner. Imagine the excitement of moving into your new house just to find that you or a family member suddenly begin suffering from allergies
You may not be aware that the previous owner was the dedicated owner of 3 cats, and suddenly, you’re scrambling to figure out how to get rid of cat dander in a new house.
Here are some easy steps that will teach you how to start minimizing cat dander to relieve those uncomfortable allergy symptoms.
- Clean everything from the top down
- Wash all fabrics
- Wipe down all surfaces
- Thoroughly clean floors
- Replace air filters
Start Cleaning from the Top
Cat dander can latch on to any and all surfaces, from walls to curtains. If you’ve moved into a new home, you may be considering repainting or making changes to the home anyway. The best solution to minimize cat dander instantly is to start by using a damp microfiber towel to wipe down your home’s walls. Starting at the top means any dander that doesn’t cling to your microfiber rag will hopefully end up on the ground, which will be the last step in your thorough cleaning spree. It can feel daunting to have to wipe down all the walls in your home, so start with the bedroom of the allergy sufferer as well as common areas they may spend the most time in.
Wash All Fabrics
Since cat dander can live on fabrics, if your home has curtains or blinds, these will need to be washed. Most curtains can be easily washed in a washing machine, and even some blinds can be taken down and sprayed clean with a hose outside before being hung back up. If the previous owner left behind any upholstered furniture or rugs, consider shampooing these thoroughly. At minimum you’ll need to vacuum and use a lint roller to minimize cat dander particles.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Wipe down all surfaces including countertops, any furniture or mantels, window casings or shelves that have been left in your new home. Any area can become a home to those microscopic cat dander particles and using a damp microfiber towel with a gentle cleansing spray will help minimize the spread of those tiny particles.
Thoroughly Clean Floors
Whether they’re carpet, tile, or real hardwood, your floors will need a deep clean since this is where most of the cat dander, as well as dust, pollen, and other pollutants often settle. Consider renting a carpet cleaner or a steam cleaner if your home doesn’t have carpet. A steam cleaner will often let you add cleaning agents that help eliminate bacteria also found on the floor. While you do this, make sure you’re wiping down all baseboards. These will probably have accumulated a decent amount of dust, dander, and dirt over time, especially if the house wasn’t cleaned once the previous owner moved out.
Replace Your Air Filter
Air filters work to remove pollutants that affect your indoor air quality. Choosing a higher MERV rating will help ensure that smaller pollutants, like cat dander, are also captured. At minimum you’ll need a MERV 11 air filter to capture pet dander, although a MERV 13 has the added benefit of helping prevent the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses. If you’ve moved into an older home, you may actually want to consider cleaning your air ducts. Dirty air ducts can store pet dander and other pollutants including mold spores that have slowly built up over time.
These steps to getting rid of cat dander in a new home should help alleviate lingering cat allergy symptoms, but it may take a few cleaning sessions to properly remove all irritants. Although it may seem extreme, if you’re wondering how to control cat dander so you can avoid rehoming your pet, repeating the process often may be necessary.
How to Reduce Cat Dander
There are a few steps you can take to minimize cat dander in your home to keep your cat allergy symptoms at bay.
- Wash your cat – this may seem like a feat in itself but washing your cat can help minimize the amount of cat dander and dandruff that ends up laying around your house. It might seem unrealistic to battle with your cat each week, but if you can manage a monthly wash, this can help keep dander levels down.
- Clean your floors – you’d be doing this regardless of if you had a cat or not, but increasing the frequency of how often you wash and vacuum floors can definitely help reduce cat dander. Carpet fibers are excellent at trapping hair and dander, so adding in an occasional carpeting cleaning can also help remove the stubborn particles.
- Keep your cat out of your room – although most of us love snuggling with our pet, allowing your cat into your bedroom and on your bed will just lead to more cat dander accumulating in your personal space. Laying down to sleep and resting your head on the same pillow your cat spent hours napping on will aggravate your allergies, and you’ll end up feeling worse than if you kept your door closed and your cat out of your bedroom. If your cat insists on sleeping with you, make sure you wash bedding frequently, or at least twice a week.
- Upgrade your air filter – choosing a better air filter for cat allergies, such as a MERV 11 or MERV 13 filter will help trap the very pollutants that are triggering your symptoms. Having the best air filter for cat dander means you’re removing other pollutants from the air as well, such as pollen, airborne viruses, and mold. Improving the air you breathe indoors will help improve overall home wellness.
We hope our tips on how to get rid of cat dander help provide some guidance on keeping your home cleaner . For more ways to improve your indoor air quality and breathe easy, check out some of our other helpful tips.