9 Helpful (and Weird) Uses for Hair and Excess Pet Fur

by Meg Favreau on 17 June 2011 2 comments
Photo: suvajack

There are several things — from plastic bags to old clothes — that I make a regular effort to reuse. Plastic bags mean no need to buy expensive bubble wrap. Clothes too stained to keep wearing make great cleaning rags.

But there are some things that I've never thought about recycling, like hair. And especially not those great fluffy tufts of fur that come from brushing cats and dogs. But, of course, there are clever folks out there who have thought of a use for everything...even if some of the uses aren't all that pleasant. Read on to find ways to recycle, upcycle, and reuse hair and fur. (See also: How to Sell Your Hair for Cash)

1. Wig Making

The most realistic wigs are made out of, well, real hair. Locks of Love is perhaps the most well-known organization to take human hair and turn it into wigs (for "financially disadvantaged children...suffering from long-term medical hair loss"). Similar organizations include Wigs for Kids and Pantene's Beautiful Lengths.

2. Crafting

There is an entire book dedicated to crafting with cat hair. Have a different furry friend? Maybe you'd prefer to knit with dog hair.

3. Making Yarn

This is a subset of crafting, but it's worth it's own mention — there is a company that will take your dog or cat fur and spin it into yarn.

4. Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Human hair — as well as animal fur and feathers — is great at soaking up oil, plus its biodegradable. Nonprofit organization Matter of Trust has, in the past, set up collections of hair during oil spill crises to help with clean-up efforts.

5. Gardening

Human hair clippings can be added to your compost pile. Some also claim that many garden pests dislike the smell of human hair, and sprinkling hair clippings around your garden can help keep those nosy critters out.

6. Solar Power

A boy in Nepal invented a solar panel that, according to Gizmodo, "uses human hair as a conductor."

7. Tying Flies

Several fly fishing forums and blogs extol the benefits of using dog hair or fur to tie flies. One fly tying site even sells dog fur.

8. Jewelry

The Victorians fashioned elaborate jewelry out of human hair, often to help remember a loved one. You can see some examples on the Victorian Hairwork Society website.

9. Screwing With Junk Mail Companies (and More)

Finally, I leave you with this not-so-serious (and occasionally, a little gross) video that offers many options for recycling dog hair, including screwing with junk mail senders.

Watch video

Do you know of any good (or weird!) uses for human hair or pet fur? Share them in the comments.

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Rachel R

My mom leaves dog hair out on the back porch for birds to pick up and use for their nests. They love it!

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I usually give my hair to Locks of Love when it gets long, but I did watch a program on tv recently where the lady shaved her long haired cat and used the hair to make purses...first she spun it into yarn and then made purses...it was interesting to say the least.