How to Remove Dander if Allergic to Cats

by Sandra Ketcham, Demand Media
    Cat dander sticks to walls, floors, furniture and other items.

    Cat dander sticks to walls, floors, furniture and other items.

    If you're allergic to cats, dander exposure may cause symptoms ranging from itching and sneezing to breathing problems or death. If you're moving into a home where a kitty once lived, or if you have a cat but recently developed allergic symptoms, you'll need to remove dander from your environment.

    Items you will need

    • Face mask
    • Anti-allergen laundry detergent
    • Cheesecloth
    • HEPA filters

    Step 1

    Wear a mask while cleaning, painting, and otherwise working to remove dander if you're allergic to cats. The mask will help protect you from inhaling the cat dander.

    Step 2

    Remove dander from your clothing by washing in the hottest water possible for the fabric type and with an anti-allergen laundry detergent. These products are available at most retail stores.

    Step 3

    Throw out kitty's favorite chair. If the furniture can be deep cleaned multiple times, you might be able to keep it. If not, you'll have to let it go. Vacuuming it won't help; pet dander is very sticky.

    Step 4

    Pull up any carpeting in the house and replace it with tile or wood floors. If only some areas of the home are carpeted and your allergy is mild or moderate, you may be able to clean the carpets well enough using a steam cleaner, though it may require multiple cleanings. You cannot leave carpet in your bedroom, however, as you spend more time in that room than in any other.

    Step 5

    Replace drapes and throw rugs if they cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Consider leaving your floors bare and your windows covered in plastic blinds until you're sure you've gotten rid of all the dander.

    Step 6

    Scrub baseboards, walls and tiles floors with a rag and hot water. Soap will help remove dust and dirt buildup. Rinse your rag frequently when cleaning and make sure you get in every crack and corner. Cat hair and dander will cling to the insides of baseboard and to staples and nails. Be thorough.

    Step 7

    Paint your walls. This will reduce any dander stuck to your existing paint. Scrub the walls first, let them dry, and then paint.

    Step 8

    Contact a professional duct cleaning service about cleaning your heating and AC ducts. In the meantime, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends covering vents with cheesecloth.

    Step 9

    Install a HEPA filter to remove dander from your central heating and AC units, set up a portable unit in your bedroom, and use only vacuums with included HEPA filters. These will help catch airborne dander.

    Step 10

    Clean your house frequently and aggressively to remove dander. Dander can linger for long periods in the air, which means that it will eventually settle on surfaces even after you've cleaned them several times. It may take up to six months to get rid of cat dander completely.

    About the Author

    Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images