How To Clean or Wash A Dog Bed

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 01/15/23 •  6 min read
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How To Clean or Wash A Dog Bed

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Most pet parents provide their dogs with comfortable, warm dog beds. The bed provides our fur babies with a place where they can rest, relax, and sleep (when they’re not on our beds!). But over time, a dog bed can become pretty dirty. But how can you clean a dog bed? Is it possible to wash a dog’s bed?

We’ve done the research and created this short guide where these questions are answered. We’ll also give you information on how to clean and wash your dog’s bed. Let’s get started!

How Often Should a Dog Bed Be Cleaned?

Some pet parents don’t believe it’s necessary to clean a dog’s bed. But that’s not the case. Your fur baby’s bed needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Experts recommend washing your dog’s bedding about every two weeks (if not more).

However, the frequency of cleaning really depends on whether your dog is outside quite a bit, how much he sheds, and whether anyone in your home has dog allergies.

The good news is that most dog beds are machine washable! So, keeping your canine companion’s bedding and bed clean shouldn’t be too hard.

Dog Bed Cleaning Considerations

Washing your dog’s bed in the machine is great and makes the cleaning process easier. But there are a few things to bear in mind before you clean your fur baby’s bed.

One of the first considerations is the detergent you use. The best detergents for dog beds are unscented and made for sensitive skin. Dogs can have sensitive skin and allergies, just like us. They can react to perfumes and scents that are in many laundry detergent brands. So, choose unscented detergents and those made for sensitive skin.

But what about fabric softener? Fabric softeners can stick around in the fabric of your dog’s bed for quite a while. The problem is that fabric softeners contain chemicals such as cationic detergents. These can cause dogs to drool, vomit, develop ulcers in the mouth and throat, fever, and more.

These products also are strongly perfumed and can cause allergic reactions in dogs. So, you may want to avoid using fabric softeners when washing your fur baby’s bed. However, if you’d like to use a fabric softener, be sure to run your dog’s bed and bedding through an extra rinse cycle to get all the fabric softener out.

When it comes to fabric softener, it’s best to use the liquid form rather than dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain the same harmful chemicals that can make a dog sick. And if your fur baby finds the dryer sheet clinging to his bedding, he may try to eat it. That presents an entirely different problem, one that can be quite serious. So, avoid using dryer sheets.

Finally, most dog beds can go in the dryer; however, large dog beds may not fit. So, you may need to allow your canine companion’s bed to air dry.

Steps to Wash Your Dog’s Bed

Here are the steps to wash your dog’s bed and get it really clean!

1. Vacuum the Dog Bed

The first step is to vacuum all the debris and fur off the dog bed. The entire bed should be vacuumed using the vacuum’s attachments. Be sure to clean all seams and all areas on the outside and inside of the cover.

The key is to remove dog hair, dirt, and other debris. You don’t want all that to end up in the washing and clog it!

2. Spot Clean Stains

Now, check your dog’s bed for stains. Is the bed wet? If so, it’s best to soak up the liquid with a paper towel or old bath towels that can be washed. For certain stains, it may be necessary to use an enzyme spray or stain remover.

We found this one called Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain & Odor Remover. This product is specially formulated to deal with the toughest odors and organic stains. This formula is a professional strength and gets rid of bacteria and more. You can spray this on your dog’s bed if there are spots that need to be cleaned.

3. Remove the Cover

Most dog beds have a removable cover that can be placed in the washing machine. So, once the stains have been removed, you can take off the cover and shake it outside. This removes any remaining dirt, fur, and other debris that may have been missed by the vacuum.

4. Washing the Cover

Be sure to read the instructions on how to wash the dog bed cover properly. The instructions will explain what water temperature is safe and more. However, most dog bed covers can be safely washed in cold water. If you can’t find the washing instructions, it’s best to use cold water. Cold water will keep the cover from shrinking.

Next, add the unscented detergent and dial in the washing cycle as usual.

5. Drying the Dog Bed

Check the dog bed washing instructions to see if the cover can be dried in the dryer. Some covers may be dryer-safe, though others may need to be air-dried to keep them from shrinking. Follow the instructions closely to ensure your fur baby’s bed doesn’t shrink or warp.

If you can’t find the drying instructions, it’s best to air-dry the dog bed’s cover. You can hang-dry the cover outside in the sun or by hanging it over the shower curtain rod in the bathroom. The cover will dry outside faster, and the sun’s UV rays also do the final cleaning by killing any remaining bacteria and odors.

What If Your Dog’s Bed Has Fleas & Ticks?

If your dog’s bed has become infested with fleas and ticks, you may want to consider replacing it. However, you may be able to save the bed by washing it.

You can start by vacuuming the dog bed thoroughly to remove fleas and ticks. After this, it’s a good idea to treat the dog bed and bedding with dog-safe flea and tick killer. Follow the directions on the product’s label and put the bed in an area where your dog can’t access it.

One note—if your dog has been infested with ticks and fleas, he will also need to be treated for these pests. Otherwise, the dog bed and your entire home can become infested.

Once the dog bed has been vacuumed and treated, wash the cover according to the product’s instructions.

Summing It Up

It’s important to keep your dog’s bed clean and fresh by washing it regularly. Most experts recommend washing a dog bed at least every two weeks, but more often is better.

Just follow the steps outlined in this article, and your fur baby’s bed will stay fresh and clean without too much effort!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.