Consumer Reports Puts Pledge Fabric Sweeper To The Test

It’s the problem that has vexed cat and dog owners for centuries: How the hell do I get all this damn fur off everything. There have been countless inventions that promise to lift animal hair off your furniture and carpet, but do they work?

Our test-happy kin at Consumer Reports tested the Pledge Fabric Sweeper against three different adhesive-based products to see how each would handle picking up pet fur.

The result — for those who can’t or don’t feel like watching the video below — while all the products did a decent job of lifting up the pet hair, the adhesive items were a bit of a hassle, requiring continual removal of the fur-laden layer. Meanwhile the Pledge product was both easy to use and clean up. Not bad for $6.

What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture?

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  1. backinpgh says:

    Pretty good to know…I had been wondering if that thing would work any better than a regular lint picker upper. I have a cat, and have to wear black clothes to work, which generally spells disaster.

    • Bohemian says:

      I found these lint & fur remover mitts. They look like really stiff velour pile and pull up more lint and fur than the tape rollers do. Buy them once and your done. I was sick of buying tape refills and wasn’t impressed with the disposable nature of the Pledge ones. IIRC someone did have a hack to empty them so you could reuse them. If they just made one that was durable and easily reusable I would buy one even if it was considerably more. I just really dislike the disposable cleaning products like Swiffer and won’t buy them.

      • sdwc says:

        It’s easy to reuse – just pop the rollers out, empty the container and pop the rollers back in. I have two cats and I’ve been using mine for months and emptied it three times so far.

        • clickable says:

          Don’t even have to pop the rollers out. I just run the vacuum hose along the rollers and it sucks out all the cat hair. Voila, brand-new fabric sweeper. Credit goes to someone on instructables.

    • MotorboatJones says:

      Lose the cat. Problem solved.

      • Clumber says:

        Bullocks! Have you not heard the song! The evil, dastardly song??!! The cat CAME BACK! The very next day! Yes the cat came back, and he wouldn’t stay away! Meow kitty, meow so pretty, meow such a pity but the cat came back!

    • MameDennis says:

      I don’t normally have any luck whatsoever with this sort of gadget… I had literally been using packing tape to clean off our comforter–nothing else worked.

      But the Pledge thingies RAWK. They’re well worth the couple of bucks they cost.

  2. Dopaz says:

    “And n o, I didn’t name them…”

  3. Julia789 says:

    My mother LOVES the Pledge Fabric Sweeper. When I visited her a couple weeks ago she was zipping all over the house with it raving about how wonderful it is, while getting rid of the shed fur of two cats. It appeared to work well, as it was chock full of fur when she finished.

  4. JMH says:

    “What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture?”

    I use a fine product called “pets are a massive waste of money and effort and I have no interest in one.”

  5. MaliBoo Radley says:

    The best bit about it is that you can pull one of the roller parts out of it, empty it, then reuse. I’ve been on the same one for about 4 months.

    • DarthCoven says:

      A friend actually jury rigged it with a clasp so she could open and close the clear plastic top. I saw all the trouble she went through, laughed a bit and showed her how to pop out the rollers.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      I had no idea you could take the rollers out. I cut a hole in the side of mine, and pull all the fur out that way. Off to investigate the rollers now.

      And oh yeah – those things work REALLY well.

  6. NarcolepticGirl says:

    “What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture?”
    When I had cats, they were short hair and liked to sleep in the window.
    So, they weren’t usually on the furniture and if they were, didn’t leave a bunch of hair.

    I find it nasty when I go to someone’s house and I am to sit on couch/chair that has turned gray, smells like hot dogs and is full of dog hair.
    I usually make excuses to avoid sitting down.

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      Pfft, my short hair cat sheds waaaay more than my long hair cat! ;)

    • Michaela says:

      My grandparents were wise enough to get leather furniture, which doesn’t seem to hold pet hair like a cloth piece would.

      Personally, I am looking for a pet that doesn’t shed. I had chihuahuas when I was little (and they shed like crazy), so I have decided to get a less hairy companion when I move to a pet-friendly place.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Find an animal with hair instead of fur. They require regular grooming or they’ll turn into matted nightmares, but they don’t shed (they just lose some hairs like any person would, never a big deal). Poodles are popular for this reason.

  7. framitz says:

    I use cheap microfiber cloths, they pick up stuff like crazy.

  8. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Good to know. I just got a energetic little DMH kitten and I do not look forward to the shedding.

  9. Tim says:

    I should try this out. I like that you can clean it and reuse it, unlike basically every other pet hair removal product.

  10. BrianneG says:

    I love my Pledge Fabric Sweeper. It’s supposed to be disposable but it’s not hard to get the hair out and just keep using it.

  11. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    This is why I make own pet hair at ho- HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

  12. aloria says:

    “What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture?”

    I have a leather couch, any hair wipes off quite easily and then I just vacuum it up.

  13. jimmiej says:

    I tried the Fabric Sweeper and it didn’t do well on my micro fiber couches. It’s still under the sink. I finally found a cleaning sponge that does a great job and fast.
    http://www.cleanreport.com/p972/Dry-Sponge/product_info.html

  14. friendlynerd says:

    I don’t really understand how this is being presented as a problem with no previous solution.

    I have a vacuum with a revolving brush, and that has worked for years. It continues to work. Not one of those air-driven brushes, something attached to a motor like an old-style Dirt Devil or even just the powerhead of my canister vacuum.

  15. JulesNoctambule says:

    Duct tape, looped around my hand. Does a pretty good job, too!

    • brinks says:

      That’s the best…by far!

      • smo0 says:

        Agreed… I use a cat hair sticky roller…. on my cat! Lawl!

        Actually my cat HATES being brushed, not sure why. All of the other ones I’ve been around in my life LOVED the brush. He hates it.

        He also gets “the bath” on occasion.

  16. madanthony says:

    I’ve resigned myself to having everything I own covered with thick black fur.

  17. blinky says:

    Amazon has the FurRemover. Cheap. Non-disposable, so like, you aren’t rebuying it. Nice.

  18. Big Mama Pain says:

    Yay; I wanted to know if this really worked, but didn’t want to spend the $7.

  19. Donathius says:

    I got one of these and it works great on our microfiber couch (which seems to attract more cat hair than there is on the cat). The real secret with these is too get the hair out on your own. No reason to keep buying more of these things. If you’ve got a crevice attachment for your vacuum that will work well, but I manage just fine with my fingers.

  20. haggis for the soul says:

    I like mine, but I’ve found that I have to scrub pretty hard with it, and instead of tossing it out when it’s full, I just reach inside and pull out all the cat hair and throw that away.

  21. pokinsmot says:

    If you push sideways somewhat hard on one of the brushes, you can move one of the brushes out of it’s “hinge”, from there it’s super easy to grab everything out. Then just push the brush back in and your set! I can’t believe they tried to make this thing “disposable”.

    Did anybody else have trouble viewing the video like green streaks? I have the latest flash player… Hmmm….

  22. DriverB says:

    For cleaning especially fuzzy things (like carpeted trees), use this tip I picked up from volunteering at a shelter – put on rubber gloves, spritz the area just a little with a water spray bottle, then rub. The fur starts to stick to itself in clumps and you’re good.

  23. CMart says:

    I came across this online, but one of those dishwashing gloves and a spray bottle half filled with water, half with fabric softener works beautifully; just spray on your fabric, wait for about 30sec – 1 min and wipe off with the glove. It is the best solution I ever found. And the added benefit is that it leaves your couch/car upholstery/clothing smelling nice too :)

  24. tiz says:

    a vacuum cleaner with the turbo tool attached…

  25. Tank Fuzzbutt says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  26. sleze69 says:

    Chris, thank you for summarizing the video. Often, different internet connections prevent their viewing.

  27. brinks says:

    When I’m too lazy to vacuum, the Fabric Sweeper is pretty effective. Packing tape is actually the next best, but it gets to be expensive.

  28. myteebay says:

    I really like the Gonzo Pet Hair Lifter. It’s sponge-like, and you use it dry. I have had mine for years and it works great. They are sold on Amazon.

  29. DH405 says:

    Another great tip is to remove the fur before they get a chance to shed it. The FURminator is AMAZING for this. Buy it from Amazon, because it’s like 2x as much in the pet stores.

    http://www.amazon.com/FURminator-deLuxe-deShedding-FURejector-Medium/dp/B002RS4WIE/ref=dp_ob_title_def

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      I have one of those.. It works great on Alfred, but Bastien (the one in my avatar) wants to bite/attack it when I try to use it on him : / It sucks because he is the one that sheds the most out of both of them. Perhaps, if I tempt him with food or something he would let me use it on him….

      • madanthony says:

        I can usually get about 3 strokes on Nibbler the Cat before she goes “MEOW!” and runs away…

        • DigTheFunk says:

          Yes, for some reason, I do not think my grumpy old man of a cat would approve of me trying to use this thing on him.

  30. Chasing Headless Chickens says:

    I use this product for my two cats. Technically this product isn’t “reusable” as implied by the video, but it is true that it is pretty easy to turn it into a reusable item.

    I use this product to back up my other method: cheap bedsheets that I cover my furniture with, and once a week I throw them all into the washing machine.

  31. DrunkenMessiah says:

    “What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture?”

    Make sure there’s no excess fur in the first place. Our dog is an American Staffordshire Terrier, so simply brushing him for three minutes twice a month takes care of him just fine. The cat is trickier, a fluffy medium-length-haired mutt-cat which we rescued. Since she’s an indoor cat we simply resorted to shaving her down a couple times a year; takes about 20 minutes. Intermittent brushing prolongs the interval for shaving. Saves a lot of time on vacuuming or whatever, plus when she’s freshly shaven she provides endless entertainment value. At times she’s among the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen.

    • Rain says:

      Shaved pets are awesome. We had a mutt from the pound when I was younger. He snapped at you if you tried to do more than brush him so we took him to the groomers for nail and hair trimming. He’d always come back looking hilarious. Buzz cut body, stubby little tail, and long tufts around his eyes, ears, and where the muzzle covered his snout. He looked like a rat dog and would act disgruntled for days.

  32. sdwc says:

    I’ve been using this for the past few months – it works like a charm! Only thing with this is that for it to work you need to hold the fabric taunt so having a second person to hold down blankets is a plus.

    Consumerist tip: The box says dispose when the container is full. I just popped out the rollers and emptied the container of all the fur into the garbage, popped back in the rollers and continued to use it. Good for the environment, good for the wallet.

  33. HungryGal says:

    I have two cats who both shed a fair amount. One cat’s black and the other is orange so I can’t just hide it with strategically colored furniture!

    Generally I have sworn by the reusable red fabric type pet hair brush. You use it in one direction and it has a nap that pulls the hair off whatever surface. Then you can peel the layer of hair off the brush and repeat. Its great on carpeting and clothes.

    I recently got some cheap black Ikea ottomans, though, and the brush doesn’t work as well on the fabric. It only gets about 75% of the hair off, and the rest of it it gets spread out evenly with the grain of the fabric. So now I’ve started using the brush attachment of my vacuum on my furniture regularly. It takes longer than the hand brush but does a very thorough job. The red hand brush is still handy for quick carpet touch ups, though.

    There is a “Furinator” attachment available for my vacuum, and having had a roommate with one before, I’m thinking about buying one. Basically its a mini-beater brush that attaches to the hose, and is powered by the suction. Its a little noisy but works really well. I’ve even used it to take cat hair off of hanging drapes!

  34. KyBash says:

    There’s a wonderful product on the market that keeps your pets from shedding. It’s been around a long time and is relatively inexpensive. It’s called Nair.

  35. toddkravos says:

    to keep animal hair at bay on the sofa and the car seats (boston terrier hair, even) i use a brand new out the plastic sponge with a few drops of water.

    using a circular rubbing motion and a vacuum with a hose attachment, i loosen the hair with the sponge and suck up the hair with the vacuum. 1.49 for a three pack of sponges and about 15 minutes for the couch and vehicle back-seat each.

  36. Bkhuna says:

    “What do you use to get rid of fur from your furniture”?

    Leather furniture and one very well behaved Basset Hound have eliminated the need to clean up the fur.

  37. Dustbunny says:

    For an alternate method that prevents cat hair from getting on everything in the first place, check out the numerous “cats that love vacuuming” videos on YouTube :)

  38. deadbird says:

    I love the Pledge fabric sweeper! But I’m also cheap at heart and didn’t like how fast they get filled up. So I cut a small piece of plastic off of the clear “bubble” part so I can remove the fur as it builds up. Now my disposable fabric sweeper which would have been filled in less than I week at my house is reusable! I’m going on 4 months right now! But please do be careful as the edges of the plastic can be sharp.

  39. notfromaroundhere says:

    5 cats, all indoor. 2 long haired, 3 short. ALL RESCUE. Yep, at work they call me the crazy cat lady.
    I use a combination of methods. Vacuum, the Furminator (outside only! I call it ‘making another cat’), and i have this rubber brush-like device for quick pick up. The “bristles” are thick, and the whole brush is long and narrow. It pushes the hair into long yarn-like threads that are easy to pick up by hand or finish by vacuum.
    Here’s an oddity: the short haired cats shed WAY more than the long haired.

  40. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    I am a fan. With two cats, this is the best picker-upper I have found.

  41. Dilbitz says:

    I either use a damp washcloth or my wet hand to remove fur from my clothes or furniture. Works quite well.

  42. maggiemerc says:

    My dad picked the Fabric Sweeper up to use with his dog’s hair but he said it didn’t work and gave it to me. Works just fine on a labrador hair. Very handy.

  43. HogwartsProfessor says:

    My cat lives outside (she was kind of feral) and doesn’t come in except under protest. I only do that when there’s a tornado. I still get hair on me from petting her out there and sometimes find it in weird places.

    Tape will take it off my clothes, usually. I’d try this thing if I had an inside cat, though.

  44. DeadWriter says:

    Generic duct or gaffers tape.

  45. nygenxer says:

    When Linens & Things went out of business, I bought a bunch of sheets to cover the couches. Every couple of days I change them and through the dirty ones in the wash. It’s great when I have allergic friends come over: just put on a fresh, clean sheet.

  46. giax says:

    Furminator. Not only I ‘furminate’ my cats but it works on chairs, sofas etc.

  47. Xtopher says:

    We’ve been using the fabric sweeper since right around when it came out on the market. It’s very simple, just two oldschool lint removers facing each other that push the lint/hair into the plastic chamber. Very easy to use and no waste (aside from the hair, of course).

  48. clickable says:

    PSA: For all those popping out the rollers to empy the lint and reuse the sweeper, you don’t even have to do that! Just run a vacuum hose along the rollers and it will suck up the lint (cat hair and whatever else you swept up) lickety-split. No dust, no debris, no effort – and you’ll have a brand-new sweeper ready for another go-around.

  49. Clyde Barrow says:

    I find the best way to manage the hair is to vacuum the entire house and furniture at least once a week. My vac has a long hose with a furniture vac attachment and it works great on my furniture.

  50. harmoniousness says:

    A latex glove…just rub the fabric. The hair just balls up. Pick up. Throw away. Repeat. No need to waste money on products like this.

  51. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    how do the cats like it?

  52. PBallRaven says:

    I’ve found that it works good if the upholstery material on the object to be cleaned has a tight fit. If it’s loose or floppy, then the results are less than optimal and I still have to use the sticky roller to get them clean.

  53. watch me boogie says:

    The Fabric Sweeper is a fantastic addition to my pet (2 cats) hair removal arsenal:

    Fabric Sweeper: for quick daily removal of fur from microfiber couch and upholstered chairs
    Sticky Roller: there’s still nothing better for clothes
    Hand vac with lint-brush attachment: for more thorough cleaning of both fur and dander from upholstered furniture

    It’s an ongoing battle when you have furry pets, but between these 3 (plus a Swiffer for the floors) we stay on the winning side.

  54. staticgirl_77 says:

    I have 5 dogs and have found the new 3M pet hair remover to be better at getting dog hair off my couch than the Pledge fabric sweeper and my Dyson animal. New favorite product!

  55. barb95 says:

    What about cars? My car is usually covered in dog hair after a trip to the park. I use the lint rollers but is there something easier? I tried almost everything!

  56. marillion says:

    I’ve found the Fabric Sweeper a bit problematic, but does a decent job. It’s also easy enough to pop out the sweepers and remove the collected fur, allowing for continued use.

    However, the product that has worked like magic is the Scotch Fur Fighter.. A friend has one and swears by it so I bit the bullet and bought one too. It’s amazingly simple and effective.. I’ve never had it so easy when it comes to removing fur. The downside is that the sheets are not reusable, but the replacements aren’t very expensive.

  57. stint7 says:

    I have used that before and it did the job pretty well. I would recommend it.

  58. lyllydd says:

    Loved mine. It was supposed to be disposable, but it was easy to pop one of the rollers out, empty out the fur, and put it back together.
    It eventually broke (after a full year of popping it apart), and I just recently got a new one. It has been redesigned, and can’t be opened up.
    It is now one more piece of plastic that will end up in one of the 5 gyres, killing wildlife in the most gruesome way possible.
    Now I have to learn how to use that thing in the hall closet with the hose and the cord…Eugh!