No pets: A crossed-out dog shedding on a couch.

We’re not talking about the popular Asian restaurant. If you’re looking for items on the second-hand market and don’t like pet hair, pay attention to which ones are “PF.” Here’s what it means and how do you use it.

Pet Free

PF stands for “pet-free.” Sellers use it on online marketplaces like eBay or Facebook Marketplace to specify that an item, mainly clothing or other fabric products, was stored in a location without a furry pet. The value of garments, even if they’re entirely brand new otherwise, tends to dip if they get exposure to elements like dog or cat hair. This is because pet hair is tough to remove. On top of that, cats and dogs may claw at certain items, causing scratches or stuck nails.

PF is usually used together with “SF,” which means “smoke-free.” Some sellers will use the combined acronym “SFPF,” which means “smoke-free, pet-free.” This conveys to buyers that the product has been kept in good condition and away from elements that could deteriorate its condition.

If your pet isn’t something that can potentially shed, such as a fish or a lizard, then you can safely still say that a product you’re selling is PF. In the context of online reselling, the “pets” that matter are those with fur, hair, or feathers that they can shed off (or those that might relieve themselves on something). If you are selling a product exposed to pets, you should specify and provide pictures of the affected areas.

The Origin of PF

The use of “pet-free” to describe the condition of a product has been around for a long time. However, the use of the acronym is a relatively recent phenomenon, springing up in the 2010s with the increased popularity of online reselling. The first definition for SFPF on Urban Dictionary is from 2018 and describes it as “a reference to an online re-sale item.”

While “pet-free” is the most common use case, you should watch out for other definitions of “PF” on the internet. In rock music forums, posters might use PF to mean the beloved English band “Pink Floyd.” You should also avoid confusing it with “PFP,” which means “profile picture” on social media websites.

How Pet-Hair Affects Value

One of the big reasons people feel the need to specify that a product, especially a piece of clothing, has been in a “pet-free” environment is that pet hair is extremely difficult to remove. While buyers can typically clean second-hand clothing with a thorough steaming or dry cleaning, pet hair can grab onto fabrics like a magnet. As a buyer, you need to be wary of any clothing that comes from a location with a pet in it—especially a pet that frequently sheds.

A cat shedding on a woman's jeans.
Creative Cat Studio/

A product’s susceptibility to pet hair also depends largely on the type of fabric. According to pet blog Cataster, materials with textures such as velvet or corduroy, along with knitted patterns, tend to attract the most pet hair. Natural fibers like wool and cotton also attract plenty of pet hair. On the other hand, some materials are resistant to pet hair, so they may not necessitate adding a “PF” warning to a post. For example, leather and silk tend to attract less dog hair.

There are also a few non-clothing products that might benefit from a “PF” notice. For example, bedding products like bed sheets, blankets, duvets, and pillowcases can also attract plenty of pet hair based on the material, especially if they’ve been used and are out of the packaging. There’s also household furniture like couches, pillows, and chairs. Flooring products like carpets, rugs, and mats can also attract tons of hair, depending on the material. Lastly, some toys, such as plushies, can attract plenty of dog and cat hair.

The Other PF: Pet Friendly

Very rarely on real-estate and rental websites, you might also see “PF” refer to “pet-friendly.” Unlikely “pet-free,” pet-friendly has nothing to do with goods reselling online and instead refers to a property that allows pets to be on the premises. Since these two terms have directly opposing meanings, you should avoid confusing the two.

A dog and a cat sitting together.

Staying in pet-friendly properties is especially important to current pet owners or those looking to get a pet soon. Whether it’s short-term stays like hotels or long-term rentals, most pet owners are used to asking owners whether their pet is welcome. Even when an establishment is pet-friendly, it’s essential to check if it has any additional guidelines for leashing or waste disposal.

RELATED: Moving? Here Are the Best Cities for Your Pet

How to Use PF

If you want to use PF to describe that your product is in excellent condition, then add it to the description of your listing. For products that are both smoke-free and pet-free, use the acronym “SFPF.” You might also want to pair it with other condition-based terms, such as “EUC” or “excellent used condition.”

Here are a few examples of SFPF in action:

  • “Selling a Pink Floyd t-shirt from a PF home.”
  • “Looking for a Mickey Mouse Wizard plushie with tags, ideally SFPF!”
  • “Men’s Blazer – Navy Blue. SF / PF, EUC, used once.”

Good luck, and happy shopping!

Profile Photo for Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
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