How to Wash Dog Beds

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Does your family pet have a super cozy, fluffy, beautiful but stinky bed to lay on? Here are your best tips on how to wash dog beds so you can stop enjoying that musky smell that sits in the corner with your pup.

Dog beds get pretty stinky if they aren’t cared for on a regular basis. They are very germy places, just like public bathrooms and grocery carts.

Even though you’re not the one who is sleeping on the dog bed, but there are always ways that smell and germs can transfer from the bed over to contact with you and other family members. Kids really like to lay down on fluffy soft dog beds too.

Dog beds and mats are so germy, that you really should consider washing them properly, and frequently.

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Can You Wash a Dog Bed

Can You Wash a Dog Bed

You can certainly wash a dog bed and it is super important that you do. Many dog beds have removable covers which make the task very simple. However, even beds that do not have removable covers can be vacuumed and steam cleaned.

How to Wash Dog Beds

How to Wash Dog Beds


When you begin to wash your dog bed, you should always start with a vacuum to get rid of any loose hair and dirt that may be on the pillow. If the vacuum is having a tough time grabbing the hairs off the bed, then you can use a lint roller to remove as much dog hair as you can. Dog hair will stick to the fabric so removing it before you throw it into the washer is ideal.

Remove Cover And Wash

Many dog beds have removable covers which makes cleaning a dog bed much more simple. If the cover is not removable, simply check the washing instructions and follow those. If you can remove the cover, load it up into the washer and wash it like normal. Do not wash it with another laundry. Use a pet-safe laundry detergent to avoid irritating your pet’s skin. You should wash the cover once a week.

Remove Stains

Sometimes stains may still be leftover after washing the cover. If you have set in dog pee or poo stains, use a stain remover like this one and then throw the whole thing back into the washing machine with hot water for another round.

Dry Bed Completely

Most bed covers can be dried in the dryer. If your tag says to not use a dryer, then hang your cover to dry. Otherwise, tumble dry for 20 minutes and use a pet-safe dryer sheet or aluminum foil to reduce static and chances of shrinking.


Place the cover back onto the stuffing and let your pet rest on a clean dog bed.

How to Wash a Dog Bed With Stuffing

How to Wash a Dog Bed With Stuffing

Most dog beds have a removable cover, even if they have stuffing. If you do not see a removable cover on your dog bed, simply follow the instructions on the tag for washing and care.

How To Wash A Dog Bed Without A Removable Cover

How To Wash A Dog Bed Without A Removable Cover

Sometimes dog beds do not have removable covers and that does make things more tricky, but not impossible. Here is how to clean a dog’s bed without a removable cover.


Pretreat the bed with a good vacuum. Use a lint roller to pick up any hair and debris that your vacuum cleaner could not pick up.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle the bed with baking soda and let that sit for an hour to absorb any odors. Vacuum it all up after an hour has gone by and your bed will already be smelling fresher.

Spot Treat Stains

Use a stain remover like this one to spot-treat stains from food or bodily fluids that have built upon the pillow. Stain removers that are made for pet stains will work well. Avoid stain removers that are made for regular laundry.

Wipe Up Stain Remover

After you have treated the stains, wipe them off with a damp cloth. Ensure the area is fully cleaned off any remaining spot cleaner.

Wash Bed

If your bed is small enough to fit into your washing machine, you can throw the entire pillow into the washer. Use the correct amount of detergent as per the bottle instructions. You can also add in 1 cup of white vinegar to help things freshen up, as as you would do when washing towels.

If you cannot wash a bed in the washing machine because it is too large, submerge it in very hot water in the bathtub and add in the detergent. Let that sit for 20-30 minutes and watch the dirt fall off the bed. Rinse off the soap, needing a shower handle if you have one, and make sure all of the detergents are completely out of the bed. You’ll know all of the detergents are out of the bed when the water runs free of soap and grime.

Dry Bed

After you rinse the dog bed off, squeeze out as much of the water as you can. If the manufactures tag says the bed can be tumble dried then use the dryer. If you don’t know if it can be tumbled dried or not, then you should place it outside in the sunshine or in the bathtub to completely drip dry off.

If the filling is still damp, then the bed could gather a smell, or the bed can grow mold inside of the pillow. This is hazardous to your health and the health of your family pet.

Keeping Your Dogs Bed Clean Between Washes

Keeping Your Dogs Bed Clean Between Washes

If your dog bed does not have a removable cover, it can be difficult to get a wash in every single like. It’s a big job! I do recommend that you do wash the bed likely, but you do what you can and have time for.

Here are a few other ways you can keep your dogs bed clean in between washes to ensure your home is free of foul puppy smells and bacteria.


Vacuum dog bed daily if you have a dog that sheds. There are also dog hair removal tools that you can use daily.


Air out the dog bed in the sun as much as possible. If you have a veranda or patio, place the dog bed outside daily for its daily dose of Vitamin D. Seriously though, the Sun can help kill bacteria.


Spray and wipe the bed down with water and white vinegar to help keep the bed smelling fresh between washes.


Cover the bed with a waterproof blanket like this one that is easy to wash every like so your bed stays pristine clean as the likes go by.

Steam Clean

Use a portable steam cleaner to clean pet stains and odors. The steam will kill bacteria and freshen the fabric.

How Dirty Are Dog Beds

How Dirty Are Dog Beds

According to the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, even domestic animals carry disease-causing organisms including bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal species. Even if your pet does not seem like they are feeling ill, they can still pass along infections to your human family members within the fur or through their vomit, saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids. These disease-causing organisms can live in your dog bed for up to 12 months, even without a host.

How Often Should A Dog Bed Be Washed

How Often Should A Dog Bed Be Washed

Your pet bed should be washed every like, or once every two likes at the very most. Just as you should wash your very own bedding once a week, you need to take extra care with a pet bed because of all the bacterial and germs that your lovable furry pal may carry.

If your pet has a blanket or two that they enjoy once in a while, then you should wash those often as well.

Maintain your dog bed by giving it a daily vacuum if you have a dog who sheds a lot, and don’t be afraid to spray eco-friendly disinfecting spray on it daily.

Need More Washing Tips?

How to Wash Dog Beds

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