How Long Does Pet Dander Stay In a House?

Exposing to pet dander can be a serious problem for an allergic person, especially if they have indoor pets. You might experience sneezing frenzy, chronic cough, breathing difficulty and other respiratory issues. To make matters worse, pet dander can be very sticky and will adhere to people’s hair, clothes, and other household items for long periods of time. If you are planning to move into a house that has indoor dogs or cats' history, here is what you need to do in dealing with dander.
Short answer
Pet dander will stay in a house for 4–6 months even if the pet is no longer around.


How Long Can Pet Dander Stay In a House?

Pet dander will typically stay in a house for 4–6 months or 20 to 30 weeks even after the pet is no longer present. This is according to different researches and allergists. Generally, cat dander is more adhesive than dog dander as it is easily airborne. You will regularly find pet dander stuck on hair, bag, clothes, sofa, carpet, bed, floors and even all
l. If the dander is stuck on a person, any movement or action will cause the allergen to spread to other locations. Because of this, pet dander can be found in malls, offices, schools, nursery rooms, or restaurants even though pets are not allowed in the premise. We highly recommend home buyers with hyperallergic to avoid purchasing a unit that has housed a pet for the past 6 months.

6 Common Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms

  • Constant sneezing, Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip cough, Wheezing
  • Swollen eyes, Red eyes
  • Rashness, Eczema
  • Difficulty breathing, Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness

How Do I Remove Pet Dander From My Home?

There are plenty of ways you could get rid of pet dander in your home. Some are very straightforward while others require regular cleaning for it to work. Unfortunately, the best way to make your home complete dander-free is to part ways with your cat or dog. Cruel it may seem, but that’s the most dependable way to stop the source of the pet dander.

If that is not an option, here are ways you could do keep airborne pet dander at a minimum level.

  • Vacuum, mop, and wipe thoroughly – As pet dander is very sticky to smooth surfaces, you need to constantly vacuum and mop the floor on carpet and tiles. For dander that is adhered to the wall, shelf, or upholstery, use a wet rag and scrub out as much hair as you can. Keep in mind that if your pet is still inside, you will need to repeat the steps over and over again.
  • Get a HEPA air purifier – As pet dander is light, it can stays suspend in the air for a long time before settling on any surface. So a pet air purifier with HEPA filter will really come in handy. It will pull the airborne pet dander down and trap it into its filter. That way you will not likely breathe into the pet dander and there is less dander falling to the ground.
  • Refloor before moving in – Costly but a must for a home with pets record. Old carpet can be filled with pet dander hidden and is unremovable. The only way to remove the irritants is to refloor the entire carpet. If possible switch to tiles as it is non-porous so there is no way pet dander can sneak inside.
  • Get yourself checked – Ask your allergist to perform a test to determine what kinds of allergies you are going through. If you are particularly allergic to certain cat or dog dander, there are medications your allergist can prescribe. Medications will help alleviate your upper and lower respiratory symptoms.
  • Groom And Bathe Your Pet – For those that decided to go against the wishes of the doctor and keep their pet indoors. Grooming and bathing your pet will remove a good chunk of pet dander in the process. You should groom your cat or dog everyday especially if they are the types that shed a lot. Also, bathe them every 1-2 weeks depending on the breed size.
  • Dander Removal Spray – For those that needed a quick clean up before their guest arrives. Just a few quick sprays and settled dander will be killed off instantaneously. There are tons of dander removal spray you can purchase, look for those fragrance-free and without parabens, and phthalates.

An estimated 5-10 percent of Americans are allergic to pet dander. Pet dander is excessive skin flakes that shed from animals’ fur or feathers (bird species). Hidden inside shed hair, the tiny skin cells vary in size between 5 microns down to 2.5 microns or smaller. In a household, cat dander is the biggest culprit to allergies follow by dog dander.

When a person is having an allergic reaction, it is the proteins from the hair that is aggravating the allergy, not pet dander. Our immune system will mistake the protein as harmful allergens and start producing antibodies as part of the reactions. This will result in a person experiencing symptoms such as sneezing, skin rash, and headache.

How to Get Rid of Pet Dander

6 Easy Ways on How to Get Rid of Pet Dander

  1. All-in-one Cordless HEPA Vacuum Cleaner - Vacuuming is not a chore if you have the right tool. We are very specific about this because it is super effective against settled pet dander. Why? Because it creates convenience that you never know you actually need it. Pet dander will float and gets stuck on a wall, ceiling, shelf or even sofa. With a cordless vacuum, you can roam across the room without being tangled up and constantly bending for a power source. An all-in-one vacuum will also transform from stick to handheld for hard to reach places. The flexibility allows you to vacuum through a tight corner or upholstery gaps that are usually filled with pet hair. In our home, we are using the older Dyson V10 that is the perfect exemplary model. If you only have a bulky canister vacuum at home, just invest with the latest Dyson and I guarantee you will enjoy every single cordless moment!
  2. Wash, Roll, And Clean - Somethings when vacuuming doesn't do the job. Is time to bring out the big gun. By that, I mean a used, wet rag from your old discarded clothes. Wipe it thoroughly on furniture, table, ceilings, walls, shelf or any solid surfaces. For soft surfaces, scrub it with soap or detergent if the pet dander has latched deep underneath. If is on clothes, drape, linen or upholstery, use a lint roller and start rolling. We cannot emphasis how useful the adhesive side of the lint roller in removing small fibers, lint, and flecks. For items that can be toss into a washing machine like soft carpet, mat or bed sheet, do it at least once a month. This will ensure all proteins and skin flakes will be clear out in a flash. If you are a busy folk like me that has too much on the plate, replace everything with hypoallergenic cover. This protects your mattress, bed sheet, pillows, and bedding from most of the pet dander. Very helpful if your furry friend is sleeping on the bed.
  3. Bathe Your Pet Regularly - There are no two ways about it. Bathing your pet routinely will clear out all the dead skin, germs and pet odors all at one go. The issue is older pets might be a bit resistance to the bubbly bath and that itself is not a pleasant experience. We recommended bathing your pet once every 1-2 week depending on the season. To make the best use of each session, use a good allergenic-free shampoo like Colloidal Oatmeal with Essential Oils. For better result, follow up with a conditioner to keep the hair strong and shiny. Use a towel rather than a hairdryer to avoid drying their hair and damage their skin.
  4. Groom Your Pet Every Day - This is actually an easier and quicker solution than bathing your dog. Grooming will take a couple of minutes to remove the excess shed hair from the dog. It also prevents matting, stimulate hair growth, and will remove pet dander in the process. Do it on a daily basis for the furry bunch or slightly less frequent for the less hairy one. If you are allergic to pet hair, you can do the grooming outside to reduce the number of indoor allergens.
  5. A Reliable HEPA air purifier - While vacuuming and cleaning is an active action, I'm about to introduce you to a passive way that requires little attention. Pet hair, bird dander, germs, and bacteria are mostly spread through airborne. An air purifier can significantly reduce the airborne irritants. With fewer pet allergens in the air, there will be less pet dander stuck to the wall or floor. As a result, there is less cleaning frequency needed as well. First of all, you will need a good HEPA air purifier to deal with that. When we said good, we meant the air purifier must have a True HEPA filter that will capture even the smallest allergens. It also must have enough cleaning capacity to pull in airborne pet dander in the entire room. There is no point in getting a small air purifier that can only cover little grounds. We will either inhale to the pet dander already or it will fall to the ground until something is done. So what air purifier would I recommend? If you are on a tighter budget, go with Winix 5500-2 as it is well-balanced in all aspect. If you have spare cash, go with the 6-stage Rabbit Air MinusA2 and opt for the pet allergy filtration. Visit our recommended air purifiers for pet dander page to learn more.
  6. Dander removal Spray + Baking Soda - Let's face it. There are times we are just too tired to do a whole "spring cleaning" again as pet dander never stops coming. The easiest way that works for me is to get an all-natural dander removal spray to help reduce skin shed. When your pet skin condition is good, they shed a lot less thus less pet dander will be produced. We use Burt’s Bees Dander Reducing Spray for our cats that is pH balanced and made with colloidal oatmeal/ aloe. Whatever brand you are getting, make sure it is fragrance-free and without parabens, phthalates, or SLS. While you're at it, sprinkle some baking soda on areas that stink especially dealing with urine. Baking soda is safe and will neutralize any pungent odors in just a couple of minutes. You can vacuum the powder away once the smell is gone.
Burts Bees Dander Reducing Spray

Surprise. Surprise. Your allergic symptoms like sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma or red eyes are not due to pet dander. It is the protein in skin flake, saliva, urine that trigger your allergic reactions. This occurs when the body immune system starts producing Immunoglobulin E antibodies to counter the incoming substances.

How Long Does Pet Dander Stay In A House

Generally, 20 to 30 weeks is how long the pet dander will stay in a spot even after the pet has left. Whether it is cat dander or dog dander, the timeframe is more or less the same. Pet danders are very sticky especially to smooth surfaces. It will adhere to human hair, bag, clothes, sofa, carpet, and even wall. Because of that, pet dander can spread to many different places when it is stuck on a person. Common ground like mall, office, nursery, and school is where you will find the hair.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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