4 Fabrics for Pet Owners to Avoid (and 4 to Choose Instead)

We all love our pets, but we also love not having to take a sticky lint roller to our clothes every time we get up from the sofa. Here's how eight fabrics will do in a pet-friendly home.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

Photo By: Shutterstock/Svet_Feo

Photo By: Shutterstock/WorldWide

Photo By: Shutterstock/remuhin

Photo By: Shutterstock/WorldWide

Photo By: Shutterstock/Kristi Blokhin

Photo By: Shutterstock/Artazum

Photo By: Shutterstock/GUIDENOP


If you're looking for a high-maintenance fabric, then velvet is what you want. Your soft velvet-upholstered sofa or chaise lounge will act like a magnet, attracting dog and cat hair, even if your pet is across the room. Yes, velvet does exude sophistication and class. It can make a bold statement. But, unless you plan to take a sticky lint roller to your velvet-covered furniture every day, opt for an alternative fabric. Worse, velvet furniture needs to be professionally cleaned to keep the color uniform across the piece.


Suede is smooth to the touch, which may make your suede couch a favorite nap spot for your pup. However, it's a real drag to clean when your doggo jumps up on the couch with dirty paws or drools on the cushions. It's not advised to use water to clean suede, so you'll need to clean up stains very carefully with white vinegar. A similar - and far more pet-friendly alternative fabric - is microsuede. It feels like genuine suede, but it's a snap to clean.

Open-Weave Fabrics

Open-weave fabrics, like tweed, knits and corduroy, are a terrible idea when you have pets. For one, the open-weave makes it a cinch for cats, in particular, to snag the fabric with their claws. Worse, the open-weave can trap pet hair. No matter how many times you go over a tweed sofa with a lint roller, you'll never remove all the pet hair (or even come close). If your pet is at all smelly, then guess what, that odor will get stuck in your sofa too.


A silk chaise lounge is luxurious, but your cat thinks so too. Even doggos can't resist a fine silk-upholstered sofa. Truly, it's only a matter of days (maybe hours) before a claw or toenail digs into the fabric and your perfect silk lounger is ruined. Silk has been described as a delicate and demanding fabric, making care for a silk-covered furniture piece a burden. No, thank you, unless of course you can hide away your chaise behind lock and key.


Not everyone takes to leather furniture, but pet owners make note. This is a fantastic fabric for furniture pieces that see a lot of use by both people and pets, like sectionals and recliners. Pet hair does not stick to leather, so you can simply vacuum up any fur or hair that does linger on the furniture. Leather can scratch, but smooth finished leather furniture can also be cleaned with soap and water, which is a major upholstery victory in any busy home.


Synthetic microfiber can be a dream for pet owners for the reasons you'd expect. The fabric doesn't readily snag or tear, pet hair comes up easily and warm water and mild soap is all you need to remove most stains. The fabric also wears well, so it will be some time before a microfiber-covered sofa or loveseat loses its newness. While microfiber can retain odors, sometimes all you need is a vacuum and a few sprays of fabric refresher.


Since it's not possible to haul your sofa to the dry cleaner for a proper cleaning, a durable canvas slipcover is a good option. When the slipcover begins to get smelly or messy, just toss it into the washing machine. Voila, like new. Hang dry the slipcover to avoid shrinkage and a situation where you learn the slipcover no longer fits moments before company is due to arrive. In between washes, use a stain remover spray to treat spots and stains.

Indoor/Outdoor Fabrics

When "indoor/outdoor fabric" comes to mind, an image of a water-repellant patio set may be your first image. Yet today's fabrics are no longer stiff and unfriendly. Many indoor/outdoor textiles are soft, able to weather the elements and pets too. These fabrics do a stand-up job warding off stains and smells. They also repel moisture (think doggo drool) and are a snap to keep clean. Even better, they are comfortable and stylish without a trace of a patio set feel.

Shop This Look