A dog’s own bed is a sanctuary and safe place, a spot with its unique scent sculpted in its body shape. Unfortunately, whatever your dog may be covered in, can also be found in the bed. A dirty bed is a breeding ground for all bacteria, microbes, and disease-carrying organisms, so regular cleaning is required. Read on to see how to clean a dog bed and what tools you’ll need.
Table of Contents
- 1 Preparing for Cleaning
- 2 How To Wash Dog Beds
- 3 Cleaning Specific Materials
- 4 Maintaining a Clean Dog Bed
Preparing for Cleaning
Before you wash your dog’s bed, there is some prep work that we need to take care of. The first step is to ensure you read the care label, which has specific cleaning instructions. Some materials used in dog beds may have washing machine temperature requirements that differ from others.
Once you’ve checked the label, start shaking as much debris, hair, and dirt off the bed as possible. This is an outdoor job; nobody wants all that dander or those dirty particles flying through the air.
Once you’ve done this, use a pet hair remover or a good-quality lint roller to remove the top layer of loose hair and fluff. You can also use a dog hair removal brush for some hairs that won’t come away with a roller.
Now it is time to prepare the items that you will need to wash a dog bed, such as:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- A sink filled with warm water
- Pet-safe laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- A wet cloth
- A sheet or backup dog bed
- Stain remover
You will only need some of these items, depending on your method. We suggest you try a few techniques to see which works best on your dog’s bed. Let’s dive into the different ways to clean a dog’s bed.
How To Wash Dog Beds
The easiest way to wash a dog bed is to put it in the washing machine and let it do its thing. A machine wash will give the bed a good soak in soapy hot water and spin it close to dry. Washing dog beds in this way is not always straightforward.
When washing the bed, you’ll need different detergents than on clothes or towels. Many laundry detergent products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate a dog’s skin, so be sure to avoid those. There are plenty of pet-specific cleaning products on the market.
You may also need to play around with the wash cycle until you find the most effective option. Loose hair can get deep into the fabric of the dog’s bed, so you might need a faster spin and a longer soak time than if you were washing regular fabrics.
Be sure also to ramp up the temperature when washing dog bedding. The hotter the water, the more bacteria will be killed, leaving your dog’s bed clean and fresh.
When machine washing, we’d recommend adding a touch of white or apple cider vinegar to the detergent; around 1/2 a cup will be enough. Vinegar is both a cleaner and deodorizer that is highly effective and low-cost.
Before washing pet beds in the machine, you must empty the lint trap. If it is full, the hair won’t drain away properly, and you’ll end up with a wardrobe of hair-coated clothing, which is not ideal.
An alternative to washing a dog bed is using your sink, filling it with warm water, and hand scrubbing. This will mean more elbow grease but can help target stubborn stains on your pet’s bed.
Once you’ve cleared the dry dirt, dust, and debris from your pet’s bed, plunge the bed into warm or hot water in the sink. For dog beds with a removable cover, wash each part separately for the best results.
Ensure the bed is fully submerged, add some pet-friendly detergent and half a cup of vinegar, then leave to soak for 15-20 minutes. Vinegar does a great job at eliminating odors such as urine from the bed. Drain the dirty water away, and check for visible stains that remain.
If there is still some hair or marks on your pet’s bedding, use a little baking soda on a scrub brush and cover all the stains. Baking soda could help to remove stains that the soap couldn’t. Allow the baking soda to absorb into the bed and bed cover, then submerge again for 15-20 minutes.
Once you have done this, rinse the bed thoroughly with cold water, brushing off any remaining pet hair and bits of dirt. Finally, air dry on the washing line.
You can tumble dry dog bed covers, but most dog beds have materials that stretch or burn in the tumbler. When you tumble dry removable covers, add a dryer sheet to keep it smelling fresh and to provide a layer of static that repels dog hairs.
If you need to clean a dog bed quickly, you can give it an express wash. Begin by brushing off pet hair and excess dirt, and shake it well. Next, mix equal parts water and detergent in a spray bottle, and add a few drops of vinegar.
Sprinkle baking soda over the bed, cover it with the mix, and let it sit for a few hours. Once dried, use your vacuum cleaner to remove the solution and any dirt that comes with it. This may not be the most effective, but it will give your furry friend a fresher and cleaner place to lay.
Sometimes, you’ll find that machine-washed dog beds still have one or two stains. If this is the case, hand washing in warm soapy water may be necessary to clean a dog bed fully.
Cleaning Specific Materials
Each pet bed uses different materials; some may require specific cleaning products or practices to remove pet odor, bacteria, and grime.
Cleaning a Foam Dog Bed
Dog beds with foam filling are relatively easy to clean but can take a long time to dry. The dense foam must be air dried, as the foam can burn and clog together in a tumble dryer. If the foam hasn’t completely dried, the moisture remaining will transfer to your dog’s coat.
A humid coat will bother dogs with sensitive skin and provide a breeding ground for infestations and parasites. Most foam beds have removable covers, so strip those off and put them in the washing machine.
To freshen it up, the foam bed can be submerged in warm water with detergent or mild stain remover. Once you’ve rinsed the bed, squeeze it tightly to get the soap out and as much water as possible. Leave the bed out all day to ensure that it is dry.
Cleaning a Heated Dog Bed
Thermal and heated dog beds usually don’t have covers that can be removed. You are better off washing these beds in the sink, as a washing machine can leave a misshapen bed.
If the bed is heated using electricity, water has no place here. The best option for these beds is using the express wash example we discussed. You can also spray pet stain remover on affected areas and wipe them away to keep this dog bed clean.
Cleaning a Dog Bed With Removable Covers
Any dog beds with a protective cover should be stripped before washing. A dog bed cover is easy to clean and can be thrown into the washing machine and then dried in the tumbler or on the washing line.
To remove stains from the bedding below, wash in the sink or cover completely in baking soda and spray it with equal parts water and vinegar. Rinse before hanging out to dry.
Cleaning a Dog Bed Without a Removable Cover
Pet stains can be a little tougher to eliminate if your dog’s bed doesn’t have a removable cover. Unless you use an industrial washing machine, which most of us don’t, you’ll need to hand wash the entire bed.
Washing in the sink keeps these dog beds clean and stain-free and won’t alter the shape of the design.
How To Clean Urine From Dog Bed
For urine stains, make a solution with two parts vinegar, one part water, and a quarter cup of baking soda. Spray the solution right onto the stain, then blot it with a cloth.
Maintaining a Clean Dog Bed
Aim to wash it once a fortnight to maintain a clean dog bed. Also, spot cleaning when you see stains will keep the bed clean and remove marks before they can bed-in. The more frequently you clean the bed, the easier the job will be. When you wash your dog’s bed, you will remove foul odors, bacteria, microbes, hair, and dander. This will help keep your dog and home clean and remove allergens from the air. Follow our steps to ensure effective cleaning and to keep your dog healthy and smelling good.