How to Wash a Dog Bed

Feeding, brushing, and taking your little fur baby outside. Check, check, and check. Some things are easy peasy. But others, like washing a dog bed, get pushed to the bottom of your list over and over again.

However, it’s really not so bad if you know how to wash a dog bed the easy way. And, keeping it clean and tidy can make all the difference. So, we’ll cover both in this quick read, and you’ll be ready to cross another thing off your to-do list.

  • When to Wash a Dog Bed
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Three Ways to Wash a Dog Bed
  • Dry and Deodorize
Dog in a dirty bed

When to Wash a Dog Bed

We’re tackling how to wash a dog bed here. But if you’re not even sure if yours should touch water, then be sure to check out our “Can dog beds be washed?” post. You’ll find that the answer is yes in most cases.

General Cleaning Guidelines

Once you’re confident that you have a washable bed, the next question is how often you should clean it. The answer isn’t straight across the board, though.

  • Average use – every 1-2 weeks
  • Unusual circumstances – incontinence, potty training, excessive drool – as often as needed, which could be daily

Most veterinarians recommend that you wash a dog bed every one to two weeks. However, that depends on the wear and tear, as well as your pet. When you’re potty training a puppy, or you have an older dog that can be incontinent, you could end up with daily cleaning. That’s when your good old dog bed cover can be your best friend.

If it gets to the point where you’re cleaning after every use, we wouldn’t recommend any dog bed that doesn’t come with a cover. And, when it’s in the washing machine, hide the bed, or you’ve defeated the purpose in the interim.

Dog Bed Cleaning Supplies

Before you roll up your dog bed into a tiny ball and force it into the washing machine (please don’t do that!), there’s some prep work needed.

So, address these questions first.

  1. How big is the bed – small enough to fit in a washing machine?
  • Does my pet have allergies – maybe they’re sensitive to cleaning products?
  • Are there visible stains, overwhelming smells, or other issues to address?

Size Matters

How you move forward with washing a dog bed depends on the size. We’ll cover the possibilities in the next section. But be prepared to think outside the box (or the machine).

Hypoallergenic and Non-Toxic Cleaners

If you know or suspect that your fur baby has some skin sensitivities, then you might want to consider purchasing hypoallergenic laundry detergent and stain removers. Alternatively, you don’t have to invest any extra cash as there are plenty of recipes for non-toxic cleaning products.

The best place to start is with a homemade concoction for babies, as the combinations will be ultra-safe. If it’s good for a baby, it’s good for your fur baby.

Before and After Washing the Dog Bed

The main event is your method of cleaning and the detergent you select. But there are a few other considerations and supplies you might need.

Regular vacuuming will go a long way toward keeping pollen, dust mites, and other allergens to a minimum.

If your dog sleeps on the bed and doesn’t rock the boat too much with drool or other fluids, then you can keep the mattress clean and extend your washing schedule. Just remove the hair and airborne particles with frequent vacuuming and a little spot cleaning here and there.

On the other hand, some pretreating is a good idea if your pet is tough on their bed. Again, consider using non-toxic, hypoallergenic cleaners. Depending on the material, a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and dishwashing liquid is an effective stain remover, but it will lighten many fabrics – so be sure to test.

If you’re concerned about odors instead of stains, go with the baking soda alone. Sprinkle it all over the bed leave it alone for an hour or so before vacuuming. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. It’s inexpensive and something you can frequently use, including after washing and drying.

how to wash a dog bed, washing dog bed, cleaning dog bed

Three Ways to Wash a Dog Bed

You’ve gathered your supplies, vacuumed the bed, and pretreated stains. So, how do you wash a dog bed at this point?

The answer is you wash it one of three ways:

  1. Undress
  2. Agitate
  3. Submerge

Undress = Removing and Replacing the Cover

The easiest way to clean a dog bed is to wash and dry a removable cover.

However, you’ve got to be sure the cover is waterproof fully encases the bed. As long as it’s fully protective, you can wash the cover and simply vacuum what lies below. A well-fitting cover that wicks away moisture, dust mites, pollens, etc., is more than half the battle.

Agitate = Washing Machine Clean

You’d be surprised how many dog beds are washer and dryer-friendly.

But, even if the filling and outer cover are machine washable, your hold-up could still be the size. Small beds are no problem. But don’t try to force one into the drum, or you might end up with a repair bill.

If washing your dog’s bed is out of the question at home, you might be able to do it at your local laundromat. It has commercial machines that handle larger loads. However, we’ve still got plan C lined up for you when plan B is out of the question.

Submerge = Give Your Dog Bed a Bath

A washable dog bed doesn’t necessarily need machine washing. Your bathtub can also do the trick.

Just as with machine washing, you can whip up a homemade mix of cleaning and deodorizing products and take the bed for a bath. Walk away for a while and let it soak, especially if you’ve got urine or other stains to remove.

After it soaks for a while, drain the tub, squeeze out as much liquid from the bed as possible, and then rinse it thoroughly.

Dry and Deodorize

Regardless of how you wash a dog bed, make sure it’s fully dry before you return it to its rightful owner. It’s easy if you’re dealing with a tiny bed or protective cover that fits in your home dryer. But, if not, make sure you devote plenty of time to air drying.

Hanging it outside in the bright sunshine is practical and another great way to deodorize it. However, if your pet has allergies, you could be creating new problems if pollen is in the air.

Dog beds can be expensive. But, with proper maintenance and a washing schedule, you’ll keep yours around for years to come (and your nose won’t know it’s there!).