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How to Wash Dog Bed – A Comprehensive Guide for Pet Owners

How to Wash Dog Bed – A Comprehensive Guide for Pet Owners

Ensuring your furry friend’s comfort starts with clean dog bedding. Knowing how to wash the bed properly can extend its life and keep your pet happy. Most dog beds are machine washable, making maintenance a breeze. If your dog bed has a removable cover, you’re one step ahead. For those without, you’ll need to submerge the dog bed entirely and gently squeeze out the dirt before placing the bed in a washing machine. Always use a pet-safe detergent and agitate lightly to avoid damage.

When it’s time to wash your dog bed, especially if your pet has sensitive skin, it’s crucial to choose the right cleaning method. Machine washing is usually the most efficient, but hand washing can be a gentle alternative. The key is to ensure the bed is thoroughly cleaned without harsh chemicals or rough handling that could harm the fabric or your pet.

Understanding the Importance of Regular Dog Bed Cleaning

Regular dog bed cleaning is more than a chore; it’s a health measure for both you and your pet. Dog beds can accumulate dirt, oils, pet dander, and allergens over time, which can negatively impact your pet’s skin and coat health, as well as the overall air quality in your home. Regular washing of the dog bed helps to minimize these risks and remove any lingering odors.

It’s important to dry the dog bed properly after washing. Air drying is recommended to ensure that all moisture is completely removed, which is essential to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. These can be harmful to both your pet’s health and the bed’s material.

Additionally, a clean bed provides a comfortable and hygienic space for your dog to rest and sleep. Dogs, much like humans, appreciate a clean environment and a fresh bed can contribute significantly to their overall comfort and well-being.

Establishing a routine cleaning schedule for the dog bed is not only beneficial for your pet but also helps prolong lifespan of the bed. Frequent cleaning can maintain the bed’s integrity, keeping it comfortable and supportive for your pet. Remember to air dry the bed thoroughly after each wash, which is crucial in maintaining the bed’s shape and ensuring maximum comfort for your pet. Regular cleaning of your dog’s bed is a simple yet effective way to enhance your pet’s quality of life.

Benefits of Keeping Your Dog’s Bed Fresh and Sanitary

Cleanliness is next to dogliness when it comes to your pet’s resting place. Using a pet-safe detergent and following the correct washing instructions help maintain a fresh and sanitary bed. Avoid dryer sheets, which may irritate your dog’s skin, and opt for a gentle cycle to preserve the bed’s integrity during the wash.

After washing, the way you dry the bed matters. Air-dry the bed in a well-ventilated area to eliminate any residual dampness that could harbor bacteria. A thoroughly dried bed is not just clean but also more inviting for your pet, ensuring they have a cozy spot to curl up in.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog’s Bed?

Maintaining your pet’s hygiene involves regular cleaning of their living space, including their bed. Washing your dog’s bed should be done as frequently as their activity level and cleanliness dictate. At a minimum, aim for a monthly wash, but more active or dirt-prone dogs may require a bi-weekly clean.

Consider your pet’s habits and the environment they’re exposed to when determining the frequency of washing their bed. Regular cleaning not only ensures a pleasant-smelling pet bed but also contributes to your dog’s overall health by reducing exposure to pathogens and irritants.

how to wash dog bed

Preparing the Dog Bed for Cleaning

Before you begin the cleaning process, inspect the dog bed covers for any specific care instructions. If the cover is removable, take it off and shake out any loose dirt. For non-removable covers, a thorough vacuuming is in order. This initial step helps in removing surface dirt and makes the washing process more effective.

Whether you’re dealing with a plush bed or a firmer mattress style, preparation is key to a successful clean. Address any specific care labels and ensure you’re equipped with the necessary tools to tackle the washing process, keeping your dog’s bed fresh and inviting.

Remove Excess Fur and Debris

Start by using a lint roller or a pet hair remover to pick up loose fur. This should be done on a regular basis to maintain cleanliness and prevent the buildup of disease-causing organisms. A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment is ideal for removing dirt and dander that has settled deep within the bed’s fibers.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, a dog hair removal brush can be an effective alternative. Sprinkle some baking soda over the bed to help loosen and absorb odors and oils before brushing. This will also help lift loose dirt, making it easier to remove before you proceed to the washing stage. For optimal results, consider using a protective cover that can be easily removed and cleaned separately from the bed.

Spot Cleaning: Tackling Stains Before the Main Wash

Before you place the dog bed into the wash, it’s wise to tackle any stains with a lint roller or pet hair remover. Removing as much hair and loose dirt as possible will make the stain-removal process more efficient. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to ensure all dirt and dander are lifted from the bed’s surface.

Using a dog hair removal brush or a damp cloth, gently treat the stained areas. A protective cover can significantly reduce the need for frequent spot cleaning, but it’s always good to address any accidents promptly. This will help maintain the bed’s appearance and hygiene, making the overall cleaning process easier.

Selecting the Right Detergent and Washing Settings

When washing the dog bed, it is vital to use a detergent that is safe for pet bedding. A front-load washer is often preferred for its gentle tumbling action. Check the care label to determine if you can wash the dog bed in your machine, and if so, use a spin cycle that is appropriate for the bed’s material.

The washing cycle should be selected based on the bed’s fabric and filling. If the cover can be washed separately, do so using the recommended settings. Some beds may require a specific washing cycle, so always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent damage to your pet’s bed.

Choosing Pet-Safe Laundry Detergents

When selecting a detergent for pet bedding, opt for formulas that are free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. These can be irritating to your pet’s skin and may lead to discomfort or allergic reactions. Look for products specifically designed for use with pet bedding or those labeled as hypoallergenic and gentle.

Reading and following the instructions on the detergent packaging will help you use the right amount and avoid any residue that could harm your pet. Clean, fragrance-free bedding is not only safer for your furry friend but also for all household members, especially those with sensitivities.

Machine Washing: Cold/Gentle Cycle Recommendations

When machine washing the dog bed, it’s advisable to use a front-load washer for its gentle handling of delicate items. Always set the machine to wash the dog bed on a cold and gentle cycle to prevent the shrinking or warping of the fabric. This is particularly important for beds with memory foam or special inserts.

The spin cycle should be set to a lower speed to prevent any damage to the bed’s structure. If the cover can be washed individually, follow the same guidelines to ensure it retains its shape and comfort. Adhering to these recommendations will help maintain the quality and longevity of your dog’s favorite resting spot.

Step-By-Step Machine Washing Instructions

Machine washing your dog’s bed doesn’t have to be daunting. Start by removing any covers and washing them separately. Then, if the bed is suitable for machine washing, place it inside the washer with the appropriate detergent. Run it on a gentle cycle with cold water to ensure it comes out clean without damage. After washing, thoroughly air dry the bed or use a dryer on a low-heat setting, making sure it’s completely dry before allowing your dog to use it again. This simple routine will keep the bed fresh and inviting for your furry friend.

Remember, the goal is not just to clean the bedding but also to maintain its comfort and durability. Regularly inspect the bed for signs of wear and tear, and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to prolong its life. With these steps, your dog can enjoy a cozy and clean bed for many sleeps to come.

Step 1: Vacuum and Pre-Treat the Dog Bed

Before you toss the dog bed into the washer, give it a good vacuum to remove any loose fur or dirt. This will help prevent clogging your washing machine and ensure more effective cleaning. If there are any spots or stains, pre-treat them with a pet-safe cleaner. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes to break down the stain before washing.

Thorough pre-treatment is essential for eliminating odors and ensuring the bed comes out of the wash looking and smelling fresh. Pay special attention to areas where your dog frequently lies, as these spots may have more oils and require additional treatment. Once pre-treated, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Wash the Removable Cover Separately

If your dog bedding includes a removable cover, it’s best to wash it separately. Remove the cover and shake off any loose debris before placing the cover in your washing machine. Set the machine to a normal cycle, and let the cover wash for about 30 minutes. This ensures a thorough cleaning without causing unnecessary wear to the material.

Washing the cover separately not only helps to keep the bed itself cleaner but also allows for more frequent washing of the cover, which is often the dirtiest part of the bed. Be sure to check the care label for any specific instructions to maintain the quality and longevity of the cover.

Step 3: Ensuring Thorough Rinsing and Spin

Once you’ve used a pet-safe detergent to wash your dog’s bed, it’s essential to ensure that all the soap is completely rinsed out. Excess detergent can irritate your dog’s skin, so select an extra rinse cycle on your washing machine if available. The final spin should be efficient enough to remove as much water as possible, which will help reduce drying time and prevent any musty smells from developing in the bedding.

After the wash cycle, check the dog bed for any soap residue by pressing down on different areas. If you see suds or feel a slippery texture, run another rinse cycle. A thorough rinse also helps to maintain the fabric’s integrity, ensuring that your dog’s bed remains comfortable and durable after repeated washing.

how to wash dog bed

The Hand Washing Alternative for Non-Removable Covers

For dog bedding with non-removable covers, hand washing is a gentle and effective method. Start by filling a basin or tub with enough warm water to submerge the bed entirely. Use a pet-friendly detergent to avoid any potential allergic reactions, and ensure that it’s thoroughly dissolved in the water before adding the dog bed. This pre-soak will help to loosen any dirt and pet dander embedded in the fabric.

Gently agitate the water to distribute the soap evenly, and let the bed soak for at least 15 minutes. This soaking time is crucial for breaking down oils and stubborn stains. Remember to avoid using hot water, which can shrink or warp certain materials, and always ensure the water is at a comfortable temperature that you can safely work with.

Step 1: Prepping the Basin and Soaking the Bed

Prepare for hand washing by choosing a basin or bathtub large enough for the dog bed to fit comfortably. Fill it with lukewarm water, avoiding extremes in temperature to preserve the bed’s fabric and structure. As you fill the basin, add the recommended amount of pet-safe detergent, swirling it around to mix it well with the water before placing the bed inside.

Once the detergent is fully dissolved, submerge the dog bed, ensuring it’s completely soaked. Use a scrub brush to push the bed down into the water if it floats. The goal is to let the entire bed soak evenly, which will help loosen any dirt and make the cleaning process more effective. Allow it to soak for at least 15 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Gentle Scrubbing Techniques

After soaking, use a soft-bristled scrub brush to gently work on any visible stains or heavily soiled areas. It’s important to scrub softly to avoid damaging the material. Use circular motions and reapply pet-safe detergent directly onto the stubborn spots if necessary. This targeted approach can make a significant difference in lifting stains.

While scrubbing, pay special attention to areas where your dog frequently lies, as these spots may have more body oil and dirt accumulation. Do not scrub vigorously, as this can cause the fabric to pill or tear. Instead, be patient and allow the detergent and gentle brushing action to do the work.

Step 3: Rinsing and Removing Excess Water

After you’ve thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned the bed, it’s time to rinse. Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean, cool water. Submerge the bed again and squeeze it gently to work out the detergent. You may need to drain and refill the basin a few times to ensure all the soap is gone. It’s important to wash your dog’s bed thoroughly, as any residue can be irritating to your pet.

Once the water runs clear and you’re confident the soap is out, remove as much water as possible. Press down on the bed to expel water, but avoid twisting or wringing, which can damage the bed’s structure. The goal is to get the bed as dry as possible before moving it to an area where it can fully air dry.

Drying the Dog Bed Properly After Washing

After washing, drying your dog’s bed correctly is crucial for preventing mold and maintaining its shape. If the bed is machine washable, use a low heat setting or opt for air drying if the care instructions recommend it. For beds with memory foam or other delicate materials, air drying is often the safer option to preserve the integrity of the fabric and filling. Lay the bed flat in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, which can fade colors and degrade fabrics.

If you choose to air dry, be sure to flip the bed periodically to ensure all sides dry evenly. You can also hang it on a clothesline or drying rack if the shape allows. For faster drying, you can place the bed in front of a fan to keep air circulating around it. This is especially helpful in humid climates where drying times can be longer.

Air Drying vs Machine Drying: Best Practices

Deciding between air drying and machine drying your dog’s bed depends on the bed’s material and care instructions. Air drying is the safest method for beds with memory foam or delicate stitching, as it avoids the potential shrinkage or damage that can occur in a dryer. Lay the bed flat in an area with good airflow, and if possible, use a fan to circulate air and speed up the drying process.

If the dog bedding is machine dryable, select a gentle cycle and low heat to prevent damage. Tossing in a few dryer balls can help fluff up the bedding and ensure even drying. Always check the care tag for specific instructions and avoid high heat, as it can cause the materials to deteriorate more quickly. Whichever method you choose, make sure the bed is completely dry before your furry friend uses it again to prevent any mildew or bacteria growth.

Fluffing the Bed to Restore Comfort

Once the dog bed is dry, take a moment to fluff it up. This step is crucial to maintain the bed’s comfort and shape, especially if it contains filling that can clump together during the wash cycle. Use your hands to break up any clumps and redistribute the filling evenly throughout the bed. For memory foam beds, gently shake and pat the bed to restore its original shape.

In addition to fluffing by hand, you can put the bed cover into the washing machine on a gentle cycle with no heat for a few minutes to help fluff the material. This works well for beds with synthetic fills. Fluffing not only makes the bed look inviting but also ensures that it provides the proper support and comfort for your pet.

Additional Care Tips for the Longevity of Dog Beds

To extend the life of your pet’s bedding, implement regular maintenance beyond washing. Vacuuming the bed regularly with an upholstery attachment can remove hair, dust, and other debris that accumulate daily. This simple action can prevent the buildup of allergens and dirt that can lead to an allergic reaction in sensitive pets. Additionally, spot cleaning immediately when spills or accidents occur can prevent set-in stains and odors.

Consider using a washable protective cover to shield the bed from dirt and moisture. These covers can be easily removed and cleaned, significantly simplifying the cleaning process. They also protect the bed’s core from stubborn stains and can be replaced without having to purchase a new bed, saving you money and reducing waste over time.

Regular Vacuuming Between Washes

Vacuuming your dog’s bed regularly is an effective way to manage fur, dander, and dust. This practice keeps the bed looking and smelling better between washes and can prolong its overall lifespan. Focus on areas where your furry friend’s favorite lounging spots are, as these will have the most hair accumulation. Be thorough, and don’t forget to vacuum underneath the bed if it’s elevated.

An upholstery attachment is particularly useful for getting into the bed’s crevices and seams where hair and dirt can get trapped. Regular vacuuming is an easy step that makes a big difference in the cleanliness of your pet’s resting space and contributes to the overall hygiene of your home environment.

Using Protective Covers to Minimize Stains

Protective covers can drastically simplify the cleaning process for your dog’s bed. These covers act as a barrier against spills, drool, and accidents, which can lead to stubborn stains. They’re typically made from water-resistant materials that are easy to wipe, clean, or throw into the washing machine for hassle-free maintenance.

Using a cover also means you’ll have to wash the actual bed less frequently, reducing wear and tear. When selecting a cover, choose one that fits snugly and is made from a durable, machine-washable fabric. It’s a small investment that can have a significant impact on keeping your dog’s bed clean and comfortable for longer periods.

how to wash dog bed

Wrap-Up: Ensuring Your Dog’s Comfort and Hygiene

A clean dog bed is not only essential for your pet’s comfort but also for their health. Regular washing eliminates bacteria and allergens that can cause discomfort or an allergic reaction. When you clean a dog bed, always use a mild laundry detergent free of harsh chemicals to protect your dog’s skin. A gentle cycle in the washing machine is usually sufficient for most dog bedding but always refer to the care label for specific instructions.

Spot cleaning as soon as messes occur can keep the bed fresh and inviting, while regular vacuuming the bed will reduce the frequency of full washes needed. Remember, pet parents play a vital role in ensuring their canine companion’s well-being, and keeping their resting space clean is a big part of that responsibility.


  • Becca Hartmann

    • Age: 47
    • Lives In: Portland, Oregon
    • Interests: Botanical gardening, craft brewing, and collecting vintage dog posters
    • Favorite Dog: Border Collie, because their intelligence and energy keep me on my toes.
    What I Enjoy About Writing: "Sharing knowledge about our furry companions while promoting responsible dog ownership is my jam. Off the clock, I'm either tending to my garden with my Border Collie, Zoe, or sipping on a homebrew and admiring my dog poster collection."