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Article: How to Wash a Dog Bed the Right Way

How to Wash a Dog Bed: Guide to Washing a Dog Bed in Washing Machine

How to Wash a Dog Bed the Right Way

Every dog owner knows that dogs bring a unique joy and unconditional love to a home, but they also bring in dirt, mud, and various odors. Regularly washing your dog's bed is crucial not just for the cleanliness and smell of your home but for the health and comfort of your pet. A clean bed is essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria, fleas, and allergens that can harm both your dog and your family. 

In this guide, we’ll cover how to wash dog beds that have removable coversas well as dog beds that don’t, so that you can keep your dog happy and healthy when they rest.

How often should you wash your dog bed?

Generally speaking, you should wash your dog bed about once a week or once every other week. However, if you notice that the bed is particularly dirty or visibly soiled, you can wash it more often.

How to wash a dog bed with a removable cover

Recommended supplies:

  • Vacuum
  • Pet-safe detergent
  • Mild stain remover
  • Baking soda

When cleaning a dog bed with a removable cover, it’s always a good idea to first double-check that the cover can actually be machine washed by removing the cover and inspecting the care tag. 

You may also want to do some pre-cleaning, depending on how dirty the cover actually is, before you proceed to put it in the wash. Some tips for pre-cleaning include:

  • Removing the cover and either vacuuming or shaking it out to get rid of any loose dirt or fur.
  • If there are visible stains on the cover, pre-treat them with a mild stain remover, a mixture of baking soda and water, or pet-safe laundry detergent to help break down the stain before washing.
  • If the bed itself has an unpleasant odor, sprinkling some baking soda on it prior to removing the cover can help absorb some of the stinkiness. Just make sure to let the baking soda sit on the bed for a few hours, and then either vacuum up the baking soda or shake it out outside.

If the cover can be machine washed, you’ll essentially wash it as you usually would, keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Use a mild, pet-safe detergent and opt for the warmest water setting allowed by the cover’s care tag to kill germs and bacteria effectively.
  • Use an extra rinse cycle to ensure all soap residue is removed, as this can irritate your pet's skin.
  • Hang or air dry the cover–or use a dryer on as low of a heat setting as possible. Avoid high heat as it can shrink or warp the fabric.

For dog bed covers that aren’t machine washable, you’ll want to wash by hand and follow the same steps you would for dog beds with non-removable covers, which we’ll cover next.

How to wash a dog bed without a removable cover

Recommended supplies:

  • Vacuum
  • Large basin or sink
  • Pet-safe detergent
  • Scrub brush or toothbrush
  • Baking soda

For dog beds without removable covers, the cleaning process requires a bit more elbow grease since you’ll have to wash it by hand, but otherwise follows a straightforward process.

  1. Remove any pet hair: Start by vacuuming the bed thoroughly to remove any excess fur or loose dirt. If you don’t have a vacuum, you can also take the bed outside and shake it to get the debris off.
  2. Prepare a basin of water: Next, you’ll want to fill either a bathtub or large basin with enough warm water to fully submerge the dog bed. Add a mild, pet-friendly detergent to the warm water.
  3. Soak the bed: Submerge the bed in the warm, soapy solution and let it soak for roughly 10 to 15 minutes, gently squeezing or moving the bed back and forth through the water to create some friction.
  4. Scrub the bed as needed: If necessary, scrub any areas that need extra attention by adding some baking soda to those areas and scrubbing with either a brush or a toothbrush.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and dry: Rinse the bed thoroughly–making sure that all soap and any baking soda is rinsed out–until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze out as much water as possible and air dry the bed in a (preferably) sunny, well-ventilated area to help eliminate odors and kill bacteria.

Once the bed is fully dried inside and out, it’s ready for your pet to use it again!

Addressing tough stains

Tough stains like urine, feces, or vomit require some special attention. For these situations, enzyme cleaners are particularly effective as they break down the organic substances causing the stains and odors–and aren’t as irritating to your dog’s skins as harsh chemicals can be. 

To use an enzyme cleaner, follow the specific instructions on the bottle before washing the bed. Try to also avoid using any vinegar products in combination with enzyme cleaners, as it could negate the cleaner’s effects. 

Maintenance tips between washes

Regular maintenance between washes can also help extend the time between deep cleans. Some tips for maintaining your dog bed between washes include:

  • Vacuuming the bed regularly to remove excess pet hair and dirt, which can help reduce allergens from accumulating.
  • Wiping or washing your dog’s paws when they come inside the house.
  • Placing the bed under direct sunlight which can help kill off any bacteria since the sun’s UV rays are natural disinfectants.

Selecting the right dog bed

When choosing a dog bed, consider how easy it is to clean. Some beds are designed with hygiene in mind, featuring water-resistant materials and removable covers that are easy to wash. Orthopedic foam beds, for example, usually come with washable covers that are essential for managing cleanliness and extending the bed's life.

Key takeaways

Washing your dog bed regularly not only contributes to a cleaner, healthier home but also ensures that your pet has a comfortable and safe place to rest. By following the tips above and maintaining good hygiene practices, you can provide your furry friend with a fresh and inviting sleeping area. Remember, a clean dog bed is key to keeping your pet happy and healthy.

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