Keeping your dog’s bed clean is really important for a few main reasons…
It is important for your dog’s health. You need to stop a build-up of bacteria and bugs that can cause health problems.
It is also important for your family’s health. A dog’s bed will never be 100% sterile, but you can make sure it is fairly clean and hygienic.
It is also nice not to live in a home that always has that nasty, stale dog smell.
In fact, unpleasant odours are probably the worst thing about owning a dog. Lingering smells are so bad that the team researched and wrote a massive guide just on the topic. We’re sure you will want to check it out.
In the meantime, we have created this post as a complete guide to cleaning a dog bed.
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Even if you can’t put it in the washing machine, we have got some great tips to help you get it nice and clean.
How to Wash Dog Beds Step by Step
A step by step guide for how to clean dog beds, even without a washing machine:
- ALWAYS Read the Washing Instructions
- Remove as Much Dog Hair as Possible
- Apply a Stain Remover Where Necessary
- Remove Any Covers and Wash them Separately.
- Use a Longer Cycle with Plenty of Detergents and Extra Rinsing
- Try Adding White Vinegar in the Washing Machine
- Hand Wash or Use a Laundromat (for Beds too Big for Your Machine)
- Use Baking Soda and Vinegar (On Beds that Can’t Be Hand/Machine Washed)
- Run an Empty Cycle to Clean Your Washing Machine
- Air Dry or Machine Dry?
- The More Often You Can Do it, the Better.
- Buy Spare Covers if Possible
ALWAYS Read the Instructions
Dog beds come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, from elevated canvas cot style beds to snuggly donut beds cover in thick faux fur.
Obviously, many of these different designs will have their own specific washing and cleaning instructions, so please always check before following our advice.
You should find the instructions either on a label attached to the bed, the instructions that came with the bed, or the manufacturer’s website.
Some of the really good pet product brands have customer support lines; you can ring up for help and advice.
So find out what the manufacturer says about how to clean your dog’s bed and stick to it.
Remove as Much Dog Hair as Possible
When loose dog hair gets wet, it forms into clumps, and these clumps can block up washing machines, drainage pipes, etc.
So your first step when cleaning a dog bed is always to try and get rid of as much hair from the bed as possible.
The three most effective ways of doing this are using a vacuum cleaner, shaking/beating the fabric, or using a dog hair remover.
The ChomChom is our favorite manual dog hair remover. It’s really effective (similar to a lint roller) and really easy to use…
Another useful tip if the bed or cover is really covered in pet fur, throw it in the dryer on low heat for about ten minutes with some dryer sheets.
The heat will loosen the dog hairs, and the dryer sheet will attract and collect them (also, remember to make sure that you empty the lint trap in your dryer after doing this).
Apply a Stain Remover to Any Stained Areas of the Dog Bed
We really like this stain remover from Sun & Earth; it is one of our favorite cleaning products.
It utilizes safe, natural enzymes to get rid of stains from all types of fabrics, and it is perfect for stained pet beds and bedding.
Simply spray it on the dog bed cover, leave it to work its magic for fifteen minutes then carry on with the washing or cleaning.
Remove Any Covers and Wash them Separately.
Any covers, either for the main bed or the bolster that can be removed, should be taken off and then washed separately.
Even if the bed is machine washable, we still recommend taking off the removable cover and washing them like that to maximize the cleaning’s effectiveness.
Use a Longer Cycle with Plenty of Detergent & Extra Rinse
Obviously, you need to follow the manufacturer’s guide for the water temperature and spin settings.
But for the length of the washing machine cycle, the amount of detergent you use and how long you rinse for are not set in stone.
Because dog beds can get covered in all sorts of nasty stuff, urine, feces, hairs, fleas, ticks, dirt, etc., you really want to give them a thorough wash with lots of water to get them really clean.
So we always recommend that you run the longest cycle the washer has. Use plenty of laundry detergent (more than you would use for normal laundry) and give it a really long rinse (or even two rinses cycles) to finish it off.
Another benefit of giving the bed a really good rinse is that it gets rid of any detergent that might irritate your dog if they have sensitive skin.
Try Using White Vinegar in the Washing Machine
White vinegar is a really cheap, safe, natural, and effective fabric softener and odor remover.
Try putting a cup full in the machine when you wash a dog bed, and you will be impressed with how clean and fresh smelling it is when it comes out.
Not only that, but the softening effect it has will help loosen and remove any stubborn hairs in the dog’s bedding.
Hand Wash or Use a Laundromat for Beds too Big for Your Machine
If you have a dog bed that can be washed, but it is too big for your machine, one straightforward idea is to take it to a laundromat where they have much bigger appliances.
(You might even be able to leave it with their cleaning service, let them do it for you, and pick it up when it is nice and clean.)
Another option is to wash it in a bathtub. Plenty of hot water, detergent, and some white vinegar will help get the dirt and odor out.
If you do hand wash the bed, make sure you give it a really good rinse so that none of the detergent is left in the fabric (it might irritate the dog).
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar On Beds that Can’t Be Washed.
If you can’t wash your dog bed in a washing machine or by hand washing it, you can still get it much cleaner using baking soda, vinegar, washing powder, and hot water.
Like vinegar, baking soda is another cheap, safe, natural, effective, eco-friendly cleaning product, and it even kills microorganisms (which is ideal for dog beds).
This short video shows you a couple of ways of using it to help get your dog’s bed clean and fresh without using a washing machine.
Run an Empty Cycle to Clean Your Washing Machine
If you have used your machine to washing either the full dog bed or the covers, it is well worth running an empty cycle with some white vinegar and/or washing powder to clean it out.
You should do this occasionally anyway, just to keep the appliance fresh, so doing it after washing a really smelly dog bed is probably the best time (use a high-temperature wash as the hot water will give it a thorough cleaning).
Air Dry or Machine Dry?
As we mentioned, please check the instructions that came with the dog bed to see if it is safe to machine dry or not.
If you do machine dry the bed or covers, always stay on the side of caution with both the temperate and the length of time you run it.
Some fabrics can be damaged by running too hot for too long, so better safe than sorry with this one. If in doubt, we suggest that you line dry the bed and covers.
Also, we always recommend using dryer sheets in the dryer when washing anything dog-related. They will help pull off any remaining dog hairs and help eliminate any lingering odors.
The More Often You Can Do it, the Better.
If you can do this more frequently, you will find your cleaning efforts are much more effective.
Dog hair, dirt, and smells can get ingrained into bedding, and the longer you leave them in, the harder it can be to get them out.
So doing a regular, fairly frequent clean is the best way to make sure your dog bed doesn’t get so smelly or stained that you have to throw it out.
Buy Spare Covers if You Can
Some of the better dog bed manufacturing companies and vendors will give you a spare cover when you buy the bed (or some will sell you extra covers).
This is really useful for a few reasons, and firstly it means that when you wash one bed cover, you can pop the spare on the dog bed, so it is fine for your pooch to use it.
Also, rotating the covers means that each one will get less use and build up fewer stains and odors over prolonged use.
Cleaning and Washing Dog Beds FAQ’s
Some of the frequently asked question we get related to the topic of how to wash a dogs bed:
- How often should you wash a dog’s bed?
- How do you clean dog urine from a bed?
- How to wash a dog bed without a washing machine?
- How do you get rid of the nasty smell from a dog bed?
How Often Should You Wash a Dog’s Bed?
There is no strict set rule for how often you should wash a dog’s bed. It depends on the bed, the dog, your home, and the dog’s activity (how often do they get muddy, etc.).
However, as a rough guide, we think that washing the bed or covers once every two weeks is a good rule of thumb.
How Do You Clean Dog Urine From a Bed?
For a thorough clean, please follow the step-by-step guide further up this page.
However, just to clean up a little leakage without washing the bed whole bed.
Firstly soak up as much liquid as possible using a dry cloth or paper towels, really try hard to absorb as much of it as possible.
Next, pour some baking soda over the damp area, use plenty and pat it into the fabric to let it work its magic.
Leave it for an hour and wipe it all of with a cloth or brush.
Finally, mix some water, soap powder, and white vinegar together and use this and brush to scrub the affected area.
Rinse off with a damp cloth and then use more dry cloths or paper towels to dry the bed before letting your dog use it again.
How To Clean a Dog Bed Without a Washing Machine?
We have explained this in detail further up this page. If you scroll up to the top and read the section that goes down until the video, then watch the video to find everything you need to know.
Out of curiosity, and since we are talking about beds, do you ever wonder how important sleeping is to your pet or what they dream about? We have some thoughts for you on the subject.
How Do You Get Rid of the Nasty Smell From a Dog Bed?
To get rid of the smell out of a dog bed, if you want wash it in a machine, you can use baking soda. Simply sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the bedding, rub it in with your hands and leave it to work for a few hours.
Then vacuum or brush all the powder off the bed, and the smell with have reduced or disappeared.
If there is still a lingering smell left in the dog bed, then you can give it a good spray with Febreze.
It is clinically tested to be safe for adults, children, and pet bedding and is a really effective odor eliminator for all different fabric types.
Tips for Keeping Your Dogs’ Bed from Getting Dirty
How can you stop your dog’s bed from getting really dirty and smelly in the first place?
- Invest in an easy to clean bed.
- Lay lots of nice blankets and sheets on their bed.
- Regular grooming will help.
- So will regular bath times.
Invest in an easy to clean bed – Buying a really easy to clean bed can make this process so much easier!
For example, this Kuranda Dog Bed takes just a few minutes to wash.
All you do is blast the sleeping surface clean with a hosepipe and then scrub any stubborn dirt and pet odor.
Lay lots of nice blankets and sheets on their bed – Just covering the bed in sheets and blankets can make a big difference. Most of the dirt smells and hairs will go onto the bedding, which can easily be thrown in the machine to wash.
Regular grooming will help – Keeping on top of your dog’s coat by regularly grooming them will help to reduce the build-up of dirt and hair in the dog’s bed.
Don’t worry if you hate grooming your dog’s coat; we have just the tool for you. You can use this attachment with your vacuum hose to groom your dog really easily.
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So will regular bath times – The cleaner you keep your pet dog, the less often you will have to wash their bed.
Some More Useful Advice
We hope this post has helped answer your question on how to wash dog beds and bedding for you.
We have some shared more advice on this video if you want even more great tips and tricks.