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How to Wash a Dog Bed: A Step-By-Step Guide

Dogs are great at tracking dirt and mud all over the house, including into their beds. While it’s important to let your pup relax in a comfortable and familiar space, you also don’t want the dog bed to become a haven for dirt, grime, and bacteria. That’s why it’s important to keep your pet’s bedding clean.

Regularly washing your pup’s bed helps fight off pet odor, remove dirt and grime, and keep bacteria at bay. Read on to learn the best way to wash your dog’s bed to keep it clean, fresh, and comfortable for your four-legged friend.

A dog on a dog bed

How to Wash a Dog Bed with a Removable Cover

Many dog beds come with a removable cover that can be washed separately from the bed itself. Here’s what you need to do to clean a dog bed with a removable cover:

1) Start by Vacuuming the Dog Bed

Before you can machine wash your dog’s bed, you’ll need to remove any excess dirt, hair, and debris. Dog hair, especially, will clump if it gets wet, and this can be harmful to your washing machine.

Shake your dog’s entire bed to remove loose debris, and then vacuum the bed thoroughly to get the hair and dirt from the hard-to-reach areas.

2) Remove the Cover

With most machine-washable dog beds, you can only wash the cover of the bed in the machine, not the inner cushion. Remove the cover according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and check it over thoroughly for holes, stains, or other damage.

3) Spot Clean Any Stains

If you do find stains on your dog’s bed, it’s best to spot clean them before you put the cover into the machine.

Before you apply any chemicals or cleaners to the bed, make sure that all the products are pet safe. Many cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are dangerous for your dog or strong smells that can be tough for dogs because of their sensitive noses.

Find a stain remover or enzyme cleaner that’s safe and fragrance-free, then apply it to each of the stains.

4) Use Fragrance-Free, Pet-Safe Laundry Detergent

Just like spot cleaner, you want any detergent you use for your dog’s bed to be fragrance-free and safe for pets. Chemicals and strong odors can trigger allergies and lead to itchy, irritated skin.

You should also avoid adding any kind of fabric softener to the machine. These products typically contain cationic detergents, which can lead to vomiting, fever, and other symptoms in dogs. If you’re looking to soften the fabric, consider adding baking soda instead.

Wash the removable cover at a hot temperature to kill any potential bacteria and add a second rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent has been removed.

5) Air Dry the Cover

Putting the dog bed cover in the dryer is typically not recommended, as drying can shrink the fabric. Instead, wring out any excess liquid and hang it to air dry until it’s completely dry.

A dog in a white dog bed

5 Tips for Washing a Hand-Wash Only Dog Bed

Some dog beds are made from materials that can only be hand-washed. Check the care label on your dog’s bed to see what the manufacturer recommends. If hand-washing is the only option, here are a few tips to help you get the job done:

1) Vacuum the Bed to Remove Dirt and Hair

Regardless of whether your dog’s bed is machine washable or hand-wash only, you’ll always want to vacuum all the crevices, including the seams. Dogs can track all kinds of dirt and debris from outside, and the vacuum can also help remove excess dog hair.

2) Soak the Dog Bed in Warm, Soapy Water

Fill the bathtub or sink with warm water, add pet-safe, fragrance-free detergent, and mix the two together. Then add the pet bed to the warm, soapy water and submerge it until it’s completely wet. Let the bed soak for 10-15 minutes.

If your dog’s bed is super dirty, you may need to drain and refill the water and then soak for additional time. If the water turns brown and you can no longer see the bed, you’ll want to drain and refill.

You can also pre-treat any stains in the dog bed with a dog-friendly stain remover or enzyme spray before adding it to the tub.

3) Scrub with Baking Soda

Once the bed is done soaking, take it out of the tub but don’t wring any water out yet. Instead, sprinkle baking soda all over the wet bed, and use a clean scrub brush to brush the bed thoroughly.

Baking soda not only helps to clean your dog’s bed, but it’s also a great natural odor absorber. Because you’ve used fragrance-free detergent, the baking soda can help remove the stubborn pet odors that the detergent can’t cover up.

4) Rinse Thoroughly

After you’ve scrubbed every crevice with baking soda, it’s time to rinse the dog bed.

Drain the previous water from the tub or sink, and refill it with fresh, clean water. Dunk the dog bed into the water, and massage it to remove all the detergent and baking soda. It’s important to try and remove as much of the detergent as possible, to prevent your dog from ingesting any.

5) Wring and Air Dry

Once the bed is clean and rinsed, remove it from the water and wring out as much moisture as possible. The more water you wring out, the quicker the dog bed will dry.

Once the water is removed, put your dog’s bed in a safe place to air dry. You can use a drying rack or even put the bed outside in the sun, depending on the weather. Make sure the bed is fully dry before giving it back to your pup to sleep on.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Bed?

How often you clean your dog’s bed will depend on their activity level and how frequently they bring in dirt and bacteria from the outdoors. You should also consider whether your dog has allergies or sensitivities because this may increase how often you need to wash their bed.

A good general guideline to follow is to wash your dog’s bed once a week or a minimum of once every two weeks.

Are You Keeping Your Dog’s Bed Clean?

Just like washing our own bedsheets, washing dog beds is an important part of keeping your home clean and your furry friend comfortable.

Dogs are messy, and they can track all kinds of dirt, debris, and bacteria into your home. The best way to fight off the mess is to stay on top of a good cleaning schedule and wash your dog’s bed thoroughly every time.