Online.WSJ.Com - More than half of U.S. households own a pet, and manufacturers increasingly are introducing products specially designed to clean up after them. People are "so attached to their pet that they won't get rid of it. Instead they just look for ways to make cleaning easier," says Brian Kirkendall, vice president of marketing for Hoover.
Cat and dog owners spend nearly 90 minutes each week cleaning up after their pet, costing an average $156 a year, according to a 2009 survey of 1,004 consumers by floor-cleaner maker Bissell Homecare. Pet-related cleaners are the fastest-growing part of Bissell's business, which introduced the Total Floors Pet Vacuum earlier this year.
Removing hair from so many different surfaces is one of the main differences in cleaning the homes of pet owners versus non-pet owners. "It's the places the dog hair ends up," says Sue Potter, associate marketing director for Bissell. "You're not usually dragging your head against your curtains."
Capturing pet hair is the "holy grail" at Electrolux AB as well, says Jackie Cooper, general manager of brand marketing for Eureka and Electrolux floorcare. In March, Eureka launched a SuctionSeal Pet vacuum designed to snag pet hair and odors from carpets and bare floors, and includes a "Pet Power Paw," attachment for use on carpet and upholstery.
Hoover says sales of its pet-specific vacuums, carpet washers and steam cleaners have grown about 30% a year for the past few years. Even people who don't own pets are buying the products, says Mr. Kirkendall. "If you have someone with long hair at home, you want the benefits of a pet vacuum as well."
Rather than wait for hair to fall from a pet, some tools allow owners to vacuum hair straight from the animal. In 2010, Dyson introduced its grooming tool with stainless-steel bristles that capture hair and dead skin.
Pet hair is a major concern because it has dander and other substances that can cause allergic reactions, says Karen Hall, a microbiologist for Dyson. "The only real way to control pet allergens is by controlling pet hair, that's the transport," she says.
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Image via Bissell.com