How to Wash a Dog Bed

by Véronique Raymond
Published: Last Updated on
dog sitting on bed

Just as you keep your bedsheets clean and smelling fresh, it’s equally as important to wash your pup’s bed frequently, perhaps even more than your bed. While dogs bring wags and love to any room, they track debris and mud from outside straight to their beds. Therefore, dog beds that aren’t cleaned regularly remain dirty and develop an odour. They also host a wealth of fleas and bacteria.

While an odor eliminator can cover up the smell, it won’t remove it – not to mention most odor removers contain harsh chemicals that may irritate your dog. You may have noticed that your dog’s bedding has a strong pet odor, and a lint roller coupled with a stain remover isn’t getting the job done at getting rid of those stubborn stains. If you’re curious as to other measures you can take, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know on how to wash a dog bed for your pup, so they can have a comfortable space to rest their head.

Why Is It Important to Wash a Dog Bed?

Although your pup may not mind a dirty bed, maintaining a healthy and clean sleeping environment is crucial to their overall wellbeing.

Promotes Good Health

A filthy dog bed results in allergies, sensitive skin irritations, flea infestations, and adverse health conditions such as lung disease and kidney failure in the long run. Additionally, your pup is susceptible to parasites such as ear mites when they sleep on a filthy bed.

Many people lack time to wash their dog’s bed or avoid doing so because it’s a tedious process. However, they fail to realize that bacteria and dirt penetrate the bedding fibers after a while and can live for up to one year.

Bacteria infestation causes illness in your pup. Furthermore, you may not realize that fungal spores that result in ringworms, intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, and flea eggs live on your pup’s bed.

Gets Rid of Odors

Let’s face it. Your canine companion has an odour that goes beyond the usual ‘dog smell’ once in a while. Instead, it’s a prevalent smell that lingers on you and around your home. When guests start noticing the odour, you have your work cut out for you.

By cleaning your dog’s bed frequently using the tips discussed in this guide, you’ll keep your four-legged companion from any ‘dog stink.’

What You Need to Wash Your Pup’s Bed

To get started, you’ll need the following items:

  • Pet-safe detergent
  • Skin-friendly stain remover
  • Hot water
  • A washing machine
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A lint roller

Learn How to Wash a Dog Bed That Has Removable Covers

If you’re looking to clean and maintain a dog bed so that it stays spick and span, you should get one with a washable and removable cover. Being able to machine wash will lead to quicker and easier cleaning without the risk of your pooch sleeping on a lumpy bed. To get started, follow the steps below.

1. Remove Excess Crumbs and Pet Hair

Before you start washing the bed cover, the first course of action is to ensure you eliminate most if not all of the excess crumbs and hair on it. A lint roller and vacuum cleaner will come in handy to eliminate most debris off the cover.

2. Put the Bedding in the Washing Machine

Most dog beds are machine washable, but you’ll have to remove the bedding first. Unzip the removable and washable dog bed cover from your pup’s bed and put it into your washer. Some beds will have memory foam or other materials in it, so make sure you remove everything and wash it separately.

3. Use a Pet-Friendly Detergent

A dog’s skin can be overly sensitive and you don’t want to harm your four-legged friend, which is why you must use a pet-safe detergent to wash the removable bedding. Doing so can help prevent your furry friend from developing skin irritations or allergies. After adding in the detergent, run it through a rinse cycle.

4. Place the Cover Into the Dryer

For your pup’s bedding to come out of your washer looking clean and smelling fresh, you must dry it. The ideal way is by tossing the cover into the dryer on medium to low heat for an hour. Depending on if your dog has skin sensitivities, you may want to avoid using dryer sheets. Alternatively, you can also air dry it.

5. Clean the Bed

The job doesn’t end with cleaning and drying the bedding. You also need to eliminate the filth such as fluff, dander, crumbs, urine stains, saliva stains, and excess dog hair from the entire bed before putting back the clean bedding. Failure to do so can result in a noticeably pungent odour.

6. Wipe Off the Fabric

Use a pet-friendly cleaner that breaks down odours to ensure everything is safe and clean for your dog’s delicate paws. After which, you can wipe off the doggy bed fabric and get it in tiptop condition. It’s a no-brainer that a bed is more comfortable when it dries entirely, so exercise patience.

little dog lying in a dog bed

Source: Shutterstock

Learn How to Wash Dog Beds That Lack Removable Covers

If your pup’s bed lacks a removable cover, you’ll need to hand wash it. Here are some basic washing instructions you can follow.

1. Clean the Case of Your Dog’s Bed

For starters, get rid of any debris, hairs, crumbs from your dog’s bed or crate. Here’s where a vacuum cleaner will come in handy. It can get the job done more effectively. Once the bed is clean, use a damp cloth to wipe it down and leave it to dry.

2. Fill Your Bathtub With Warm Water

Once your tub is filled with warm water, pour a pet-friendly laundry detergent into the water, and submerge the dog bed in it. Some mild detergents have an alluring scent that your doggy will enjoy.

3. Eliminate Stains

Pups are messy, which is why their beds inevitably become a mess. Fortunately, there’s a viable solution to this issue. Once you spritz the doggy bed with stain remover or bleach, use a scrubbing brush to eliminate those stubborn stains in an instant. If you don’t have these cleaning products, white vinegar can also work.

4. Wring the Water Out

When the bed is clean and there are no more stubborn stains and dirt, wrap up the cleaning process by wringing the excess water out to make it easier and faster to dry.

5. Reshape

Before you dry the doggy bed, if it lost shape during the cleaning process, that’s your cue to reshape it and make sure it’s comfortable for your pup. After all, a lumpy bed will quickly prove to be uncomfortable for your pet.

6. Leave It to Dry

Put the bed out in the sun to dry properly. It’s worth keeping in mind that if your pup’s bed lacks a removable cover, there’s the likelihood of the bed losing shape beyond repair. When the stuffing gets wet, reverting to its initial shape can be an uphill battle, resulting in discomfort for your pup.

How to Wash a Stained Dog Bed

Now that you know how to perform general cleaning on a dog bed, we’ll delve into how to eliminate stubborn stains such as urine.

  • Spot cleaning
  • Pure vinegar
  • Water and dish soap
  • Baking soda if you’re allergic to harsh cleaners and stain removers

There’s a wealth of options when it comes to getting rid of tough stains.

Mild Stains

These call for more attention compared to general dirt. Therefore, a pet-friendly detergent will get the job done. You can use a slightly abrasive material such as a towel to rub the detergent into the stain in circular motions until it’s gone.

Heavier Stains

These are feces and urine stains. To get rid of these heavier stains, fill your tub with warm water and add a pet-friendly detergent. Allow the bed soak for up to three hours. Grab your brush and use elbow grease to scrub the stains in circular motions. Adding vinegar to the soapy water will ensure you eliminate the most stubborn stains.

How Frequently Should You Clean Pup’s Bed?

The frequency of cleaning boils down to how often your pup empties their bowels or urinates indoors, as the more they do, the sooner the bed must be cleaned. We recommend cleaning your pet’s bed once a week, but if your pup is a ball of energy, you might need to clean it up to three times a week.

If you notice the bed getting mucky with a pungent smell stemming from it, or you see dirt stains, it’s time for a thorough wash. Your pet will thank you for it.

Let’s discuss other things you can do to keep your pup’s bed spick and span between washes.

  • Vacuum the bed every couple of days
  • Invest in a waterproof cover that’s a breeze to clean
  • Put the bed in direct sunlight for hours to kill germs and bacteria
  • Clean your pet’s paws each time they come from playing outside to prevent the transfer of dirt to the bed
  • Wipe the bed with apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio of 1:1 to kill and prevent fleas

To Wrap Up

As your four-legged companion grows old, they’ll spend most of their days sleeping or resting, which is why you need to make sure they have a clean dog bed for their overall wellbeing. While you might invest in the coziest bed, proper maintenance with frequent cleaning is the key to it lasting long and serving your dog well.


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