The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 17, 2013

Ryan Richardson: Appliances complicit in dog-hair problem

By Ryan Richardson
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — I haven't had my dog for two weeks now, and being the big old softy that I am, I really miss her more than I thought I would. The familiar barks, howls and general puppy mischief have been absent from my life, and it has put me in a bit of a funk, though it makes me appreciate the time that I have with my dog.

Despite missing having her here, her absence has given me an opportunity to clean up the small messes that have been accumulating since she has been gone. I've also given myself the opportunity to evaluate what has and has not worked in such a small living space. This is the smallest place I have lived in since I got her, and there were a lot of issues that I never realized would eventually become a problem.

As I gave my apartment a complete top-to-bottom cleaning, I noticed that I have a severe dog-hair problem. My sheets, clothes and couch are all covered in it, thanks to my light-haired dog. She had shed a good chunk of her winter coat, which I'm finding everywhere. I know it isn't coming from my balding pate. In the past week, I have washed nearly everything I own, but I am still finding hair.

After doing some reading, I came to the conclusion that my washer and dryer are the main culprits. Much like the drain to your shower, hair just gets collected inside these appliances, and it doesn't really go anywhere. You have to clean both machines out or you will keep running into this problem.

If you run your washer with nothing in it, a lot of the hair will collect on the sides once it finishes a cycle. After that, take your vacuum's hose attachment and go to town inside of your washer. If you are able to pull out your agitator, get under it and vacuum the hair that gets stuck there. After that, use a lint roller on your drum and you should be golden. If you have access to the drain pump, clean out the filter to it. I'm warning you now that it will be gross, but it will go a long way in keeping your clothes fresh.

Do a high-heat cycle on your dryer with three or four dryer sheets inside. The static cling will attract the hair to the sheets, which is a good start. Next, you probably should take this opportunity to clean out your dryer vent and even consider replacing your dryer hose. Pet hair will ball up with a lot of lint inside of your dryer, which could eventually cause a fire hazard. It's a small safety precaution, but it's a good one. The replacement cost will run about $10. Totally worth it.

I've done a few cycles since cleaning mine out, and it has made a noticeable difference. While I'll never win the war against pet hair, I can at least strike a temporary victory and protect my home at the same time.

I'll pick up Cami from Kansas City at the end of the month, which will mark the longest period of time that I have been without my dog. Though this time away afforded me a much-needed vacation, I am excited to have her back as soon as possible. The new Joplin dog park should be open by then, so look forward to our review in July.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at or 417-627-7363.