puppies lying in dog bed

How to Wash a Dog Bed in 5 Easy Steps

How to Wash a Dog Bed in 5 Easy Steps

When you’re a dedicated pet parent, you want nothing but the very best for your furry best friend. Not only does a clean and washed dog bed look and feel great for them, but a well-kept and comfortable dog bed is essential for their overall health and happiness. An unclean dog bed can accumulate odors, hair and dirt over time. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your dog's bed with a dog hair remover brush as part of their pet care routine. We’ll go over the five easy steps on how to wash your dog bed, along with some other important tips for keeping your dog bed clean.

Why You Should Clean Your Dog’s Bed

Cleaning your dog’s bed can feel like such a chore, but it’s actually a crucial part of maintaining your dog’s comfort and health. Your dog’s bed accumulates hair, dander and dirt, which can lead to allergens and foul odors. Cleaning the bed will help reduce respiratory problems and skin irritations for your pet and your entire family. After all, if your dog is rolling around in a dirty bed and you go to hug them, or someone else at home does, all that dirt and debris gets on you, too.

The Importance of a Clean Dog Bed

To better clean your dog bed from the start, begin by removing excess dog hair from the bed with a deshedder. That tool can be used to groom your dog and remove hair from the dog bed. It’ll help not only the bed smell better, but your overall home will smell better now that there’s not a foul dog bed in the corner. Just like when you let the trash sit for too long, a dirty dog bed hiding somewhere can seriously stink after a while. Not to mention, you could possibly be nose blind to any foul odors.

Get a Dog Hair Remover Brush

Using Pet-Safe Detergents

While conventional detergents may contain harsh fragrances and unsafe chemicals for your pet, using pet-safe detergents ensures your pet’s bed will have an effective yet gentle cleaning experience. Neither you nor your pet will have to worry about potential toxins or allergens. Because your doggy spends a lot of time napping on their bed, using pet-safe detergents will help prevent discomfort, allergies and skin irritations. They’ll love having a hazard-free and cozy space where they can snooze the night away.

step 1 prepare the dog bed

Step One: How to Prepare the Dog Bed for Washing

To help maintain good hygiene for your dog’s bed, you’ll want to start preparing the dog bed for washing. If there are any stains on the dog bed, you’ll want to pre-treat stains as well to ensure a thorough cleaning. Let’s look at more things you should do when getting the dog bed ready for a wash.

Remove Covers and Cushions

Start by removing cushions and removable covers from your dog’s bed. You’ll want to check the care label for any specific washing instructions. While most covers are machine washable, others call for gentle hand washing. That way, you’ll ensure a thorough cleaning without damaging the dog bed.

Shake Off Loose Dirt and Debris

Then, you can take the dog bed outside and give it a good shake. Shaking it will loosen up any debris and dirt. It’s an important first step in ensuring that no excessive dirt or hair clogs up your washing machine. Sometimes it’s all about the simple things.

Vacuuming Your Dog’s Bed

Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment which is specially designed to clean upholstery like furniture and dog beds. This tool will help remove dirt and hair from your dog bed’s fabric. Your washing machine will be able to clean more efficiently, and you’ll reduce the risk of clogs. This step is especially needed if you’re not able to machine wash your dog’s bed and need to hand wash it instead.

step 2 check care instructions

Step Two: How to Check Care Instructions

According to Cleaning & Maintenance Management, to increase your overall cleaning knowledge and skills, it’s important to know how to use your cleaning products to the fullest. By checking care instructions on your dog bed and following the instructions on any cleaning products you use, you’ll be cleaning your dog bed more efficiently, effectively and safely.

Machine Washable vs. Hand Wash vs. Dry Clean Only

Check the care label to see if your dog bed calls for hand washing or dry cleaning only. If the dog bed is machine washable, you’ll have a much easier time just putting it into the washing machine. Make sure you still remove the covers and follow the care labels. Hand washing requires gentle, pet-safe detergents and cold water. If the dog bed label says it’s dry clean only, have it dry cleaned by professionals.

Understanding Detergent and Temperature Requirements for Different Dog Bed Materials

To help prevent skin irritations, use mild pet-safe detergents. Cold water is best on delicate fabrics and to prevent possible shrinkage. If your dog bed has stains and is made of a sturdier material, you can use warm water. When in doubt, refer to the care labels to clean your dog's bed more effectively.

step 3 machine wash bed

Step Three: How to Machine Wash Your Dog Bed

Machine washing a dog bed is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to clean a dog bed, but that only applies to dog beds that are machine washable. You’ll need to prepare your washing machine, add pet-safe detergent and make sure you select the correct cycle and water temperature. Also, make sure you don’t use fabric softener that can leave an unwanted residue on the dog bed.

Prepare the Washing Machine

To prepare the washing machine, clean it of any remnants from previous loads. Take a look at the drum and make sure it’s free of debris. You should wash the dog bed by itself to prevent cross-contamination, and so the washing machine has more room to move.

Add Pet-Safe Detergent

A mild and pet-safe detergent will help prevent any skin irritation for your pet. Put in the appropriate amount according to the detergent’s instructions.

Don’t Use Fabric Softeners

While you may want to use a fabric softener as an attempt to soften up the fabric of the bed or add a nice smell to it, avoid it because any residue left from the fabric softener could irritate your dog. They might accidentally swallow the leftover fabric softener. Reduce the risk of irritation and accidental ingestion by not using fabric softeners.

Select the Correct Cycle and Water Temperature

While delicate fabrics usually call for a gentle cycle with cold water, sturdier fabrics usually benefit from a warm wash. Refer to the care labels to see what works best for the dog bed.

Tips for Washing Multiple Dog Beds

If you have multiple dogs at home, avoid washing them all together. Washing too many things at once in your washer can tangle up the dog beds. It may also accidentally break your washing machine. It’ll be harder to dry all of them at once, too. Wash each dog bed separately to help prevent cross-contamination, and doing so will make both washing and drying more effective.

step 4 hand wash dog bed

Step Four: How to Hand Wash Your Dog Bed

While most dog beds are machine washable, some are more delicate and require gentle care and hand washing. Begin by filling a bathtub or basin with cold water. Always use a pet-safe and mild detergent. It should mix together with the cold water to create a soapy solution. Allow the bed to soak for about 15-20 minutes. You can scrub the bed with a soft brush, drain out the water and press out excess water by laying the bed flat. Air dry the bed once you’re done cleaning it.

Best Cleaning Solutions for Hand Washing

Use pet-safe and hypoallergenic detergents that are suitable for hand washing. You may want to try natural solutions like mixing water and baking soda for gentle cleaning. Stay away from harsh chemicals that can be irritating to you and your dog, especially since you’re hand washing it.

Focusing on Soiled Areas and Stains

Hand washing will allow you to better focus on soiled spots and stains. You can gently blot out stains and scrub out any solid areas with a soft brush and pet-friendly cleaning solution. You’ll remove grime and dirt without overhandling the dog bed.

Rinsing to Remove Residue

After hand washing the dog bed, you may notice some leftover residue. That’s totally normal if you’re not used to hand-washing things. Use clean, cold water to rinse out the dog bed, and ensure all soap is washed out. Leftover residue can cause irritation for you and your furry companion.

step 5 dry your dog bed

Step Five: How to Dry Your Dog Bed

Drying the dog bed is an essential part of maintaining quality so that mildew doesn’t grow. Use a gentle spin cycle to remove excess moisture. Machine-dryable beds should be dried on a low setting, while air-dry-only beds can be placed in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. When drying your dog bed, use dryer sheets for pet hair to make your dog bed smell extra nice and to remove excess fur from your dog’s bed.

Drying Different Dog Bed Materials

Different dog bed materials take shorter or longer to dry than others. Some materials need to be air dried while others can be thrown into the dryer. Wool and fleece dog beds benefit the most from air drying to prevent damage, while sturdy fabrics like canvas dry best on low heat. Refer to the care labels if you’re not sure.

Air Drying vs. Machine Drying

When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and air dry your dog’s bed. Air drying is a suitable and gentle method for the majority of dog beds. To properly air dry the dog bed, lay it flat in a well-ventilated area and flip it occasionally so all sides of the bed dry well. If you are able to machine dry the dog bed, use the low heat setting and use tennis balls or wool dryer balls in the dryer to help maintain the fluffiness of the bed.

Methods for Fluffing Up the Dog Bed

No one wants a flat and uncomfortable bed, especially not your beloved dog. It’s not comfy for them and the dog bed won’t look very nice once it’s flat and soggy-looking. To help your dog’s bed remain nice and fluffy, shake it out and pat it once it air dries. Regularly fluff it to maintain the shape and your pet’s comfort.

spaniel on cushion

Bonus Tips for Washing Dog Beds

There you have it – the five basic steps on how to wash a dog bed depending on if it’s hand washable, machine washable or dry clean only. We’ve also included some bonus tips here on how to effectively clean dog beds by using natural deodorizers. Establishing a regular cleaning schedule will help hold you accountable for taking care of your dog’s bed on a consistent basis. While you may be tempted to give your dog their bed as soon as it seems dry, you’ll want to make sure the dog’s bed is completely dry before you give it to them. Let’s take a further look at these extra tips.

Use Natural Deodorizers

Baking soda is truly the household champion when it comes to natural deodorizing. Sprinkle some baking soda on your dog’s bed, and then let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming it. You may also use pet-safe cedar chips or lavender sachets on your dog’s bed as an effective alternative to chemical-filled sprays.

Establish a Regular Cleaning Schedule

You should wash your dog’s bed at least once a month and vacuum it every week. Regularly check it for any odors or stains to ensure their dog bed remains inviting. This regular check-up contributes to their overall well-being and happiness.

terrier sleeping on blue dog bed

Ensure the Dog Bed Is Dry Before Use

Don’t let your dog lie down on a damp bed. A damp dog bed can lead to mildew and mold which is a health risk to you and your dog. Properly drying the dog bed will give your doggy a comfortable and safe space to rest and relax.

Now that you’re a pro on how to wash your dog’s bed in just five easy steps, your dog will be able to enjoy the cozy comfort of their freshly cleaned dog bed. They’ll be wagging their tail to show you their appreciation for your hard work and dedication. Remember to routinely groom your dog with a portable pet hair remover so that the dog hair can go in the trash and not on your dog’s bed!

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