We love our pets, but there’s one thing we don’t always love – their abundance of fur. The laundry experts at Speed Queen drew on their own experiences with the issues pet hair causes and came up with a one-of-a-kind solution: pet cycles specific for dryers.

Speed Queen Consumer Product Business Partner Matthew Bakich headed up the innovative thinking behind the DR7s Pet Plus pet cycles, which are proven to significantly reduce pet hair on items through either the quick, 10-minute Pet Hair Remover cycle or the more in-depth Pet Items cycle to be used as part of a three-step washing system.

Bakich said the idea launched from a group discussion with his team about a year-and-a-half ago.

“Originally we started looking at where needs were not being met within the industry,” Bakich said. “I have two dogs, and other members of our team have cats and dogs. Pet hair kept coming up as a problem. We then presented the issue to a broader audience of consumers to see if our concerns were also theirs.”

The answer was an overwhelming yes.

Since there was nothing yet in the market to address this problem, Bakich and the team at Alliance began putting in motion what would eventually be the Pet Hair Remover and Pet Items cycles. One of the first steps was talking to those in the commercial pet laundry arena (animal rescues, animal hospitals, etc.) to see how they were handling the problem of pet hair.

Months of conversations and concept testing with employees and other pet businesses led to the conclusion that the best way to get rid of pet hair on laundry items was to start with the dryer. To start with a dryer cycle seems counterintuitive, but Bakich said the technology used in the pet cycles relaxes the fabric and releases the hair before the item(s) are washed, which means there’s less cleanup afterward of the washing machine drum and less chance for the hair to spread to other items as it would if you started with a wash cycle.

The DR7 further separates itself from all the other consumer dryers on the market through a commercial-grade blower. The exceptional performance of the blower funnels all the hair through to the dryer’s filter. Bottom line: a unique and effective means of hair removal with easy clean up.

“We found it was helpful to put the items in the dryer first because then you don’t have to worry about lingering hair,” Bakich said. “Or, if you’re like me and use pet blankets for two very hairy dogs, you don’t have to do two full cycles like you sometimes have to with other machines.”

The Pet Hair Remover cycle can be used as a quick refresh solution for items you need pet hair removed from quickly, or as part of a three-step washing system. For the best results, items can be placed in the DR7 for a Pet Hair Remover cycle, washed, then put back in the DR7 to dry using the Pet Items cycle. This cycle is optimized to dry the bulkiest pet items that are tough to clean, such as pet beds. 

While the pet cycle does come pre-programmed to help remove odors and static, it’s fully customizable, which becomes helpful when you are washing more than just pet items.

“More than 60 percent of households have pets, but no other technology to help with hair removal,” Bakich said. “Now they have a solution.”

Bakich and team are looking at more innovative solutions to other pet-related problems in the future. This includes possibly bringing the pet cycles to more Speed Queen dryer models and thinking beyond dryers to focus on additional benefits for pet owners to create an entire system specific for these types of jobs. 

“We know it’s a different way to think about laundry – putting your items in the dryer first – but this really does lead to a quicker overall process,” Bakich said. He added the reduction of hair on items by drying first also has benefits for the maintenance of the washing machine. The machine becomes overall more cost-effective and efficient because it’s not dealing with the added stress of the lingering hair by using less water, less energy and less time.

“We’re really proud of creating a solution that finally addresses the needs of our pet owners – the first of its kind in the industry,” Bakich said. “Even though it started as an idea to solve a seemingly simple problem, we know pet owners will realize how beneficial the Pet Hair Remover and Pet Items cycles are once they use them.”