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How to Get Cat Out of Upholstery for Allergies

Lisa Sefcik

Removing cat allergens in your home thoroughly requires diligent housekeeping. The Mayo Clinic says that the cat's dander--the dead skin cells that are shed--and the allergens in a cat's dried saliva are extremely small and can easily become airborne with the slightest bit of circulation. Cat allergens are also sticky stuff, clinging to soft surfaces--especially upholstery.

Removing Cat Allergens from Upholstery

  1. Replace upholstered furniture with un-upholstered furniture, or have upholstered furniture recovered. The Mayo Clinic cautions that no matter how well you clean, you'll never get cat allergens out of soft furnishings--not only upholstered furniture, but carpeting, area rugs, mattresses and drapes.

  2. Using a hand-held attachment, clean upholstered furniture with a vacuum with a HEPA filter--these devices remove very small particles from your environment, including cat allergens. When you vacuum, make sure to wear a dust mask, the Mayo Clinic says, or have someone without cat allergies perform this task.

  3. Don't neglect air quality. Residual cat dander can continue to circulate through your home even long after the pet has been removed. Consider purchasing a HEPA air cleaner, even if you have central air, and turn it on for four hours a day, advises the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. This won't remove the cat dander already on your upholstered furniture, but it can prevent airborne allergens from adhering to these surfaces.

  4. If replacing or reupholstering furniture isn't an option, move it out of your bedroom and into another room. The Mayo Clinic also advises replacing other soft furnishings in your bedroom as well, including mattresses, pillows and bedding, if there is no longer a cat in the home.