We discovered through a blood test that our 3 year old is severely allergic to cats. We have two cats who are 7 and 8 respectively and we're adopted as kittens. So their hair and dander is all over everything in our house. We are finding new homes for that cats, but I have the painstaking chore of cleaning their hair and dander off/out of everything in the house. I know it will take a while to really clean the house and it will never be entirely free of all hair.

I am trying to figure out the best way to clean so the allergen is dead or denatured so it does not affect my daughter. Will washing clothes and other linens in very hot water kill whatever it is in the hair and dander that causes a reaction? So that even if the hair is present, it won't affect her? Is there a kind of soap or other agent I can use?

Fortunately, we have no carpeting in the house, but we do have rugs. And since we live in a cold climate, we also have lots of thick, heavy blankets of various textiles and materials.

While I'm asking, I'm open to pretty much any tips that can be offered to clean up after the cats! Thank you!


Allergic reactions to cats is mostly caused by proteins in saliva, as well as dander. Physical removal is the only solution. This means vacuuming and wet cleaning, mostly. You shouldn't need to use a hot wash. Hand-washing delicate items should be fine. Dry (solvent) cleaning will also work. If the problem persists, you may have to discard certain items. Wikipedia offers some advice. A vet could probably give you more.

Cat hairs shouldn't cause any problems in themselves, since they are mostly keratin, but dried saliva needs to be washed off. Any residual hairs left behind after laundering should be harmless. In any case, they will gradually disappear.

I would recommend a HEPA vacuum cleaner. A HEPA air purifier may also help to reduce particulates (which is the main mechanism by which allergens are spread).

Don't forget to clean your car, as well as your home. Toys and your child's bedding should be cleaned as a matter of some urgency.


Excellent answer by Mick. Adding to his answer: Wash clothing, bedding, towels, etc., normally but with the addition of OxiClean or other H2O2 additive. These additives aid in the breakdown of the proteins in the saliva, thus alleviating allergic response.

Adding this preparation to rug cleaning solution to wet-clean area rugs will go far to reduce potential allergens. Add 1 part dry powder to 3 parts hot water, stir to dissolve powder and add solution to rug cleaning solution. Use this liquid in the reservoir of your rug cleaner. I use a portable Bissell Little Green with excellent results.

While the process of removing allergens from your home is time-consuming and laborious, as long as you keep pets out of your house, it has to be done infrequently.

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