How to Clean Your Dog's Bed in 6 Easy Steps

Cleaning your dog's bed regularly will keep your dog happy and healthy.

Published March 31, 2023
Dog sitting on his bed looking through the window

Whether your pup likes to roll in the mud or just sheds fur everywhere, it's important to clean their bed regularly. Keeping your dog's sleeping space tidy ensures your pet is healthy and comfortable. A dirty dog bed will lead to skin problems and infections if left unattended. Here are six simple steps that will help keep your dog's resting place clean.

Step 1: Vacuum First

Before you start pulling out any stuffing or soft foam, you need to remove the dog hair that's stuck to the outside of your dog's bed. Break out your vacuum and use the hose and pipe to suck up as much loose hair as possible. Once you've gone over your dog's bed a couple times with your vacuum, you can use sticky tape rollers or pet hair removal brushes to loosen up any remaining hair. Finish up with a final sweep using your vacuum.

Quick Tip

A vacuum designed for pet hair removal - or one with an attachment specifically made to pick up pet hair - can be a good investment if your dog sheds a lot, or if you have multiple pets in your household.

Step 2: Empty the Bedding Material

The next step to cleaning a dog bed is to remove all the bedding material. If your dog's bed has a removable cover, take this off and remove any stuffing or mattress material. Beds with foam mattresses often have zipper covers that come off pretty easily.

Many dog beds on the market are sewn closed, so you may not be able to get at the stuffing or mattress material. If your dog's bed does not have a removable cover, you can skip ahead straightaway.

Step 3: Check the Tag on the Bed

The next step is to check the tag on your pet's bed. The tag should tell you how to wash it and may also have some helpful cleaning tips. For example, you might find that certain types of dog beds can be placed in the washing machine while others must be hand-washed.

Person reading the clothing label showing washing instructions

Additionally, many manufacturers advise against using bleach, chlorine, or other harsh chemicals when cleaning their products because these chemicals can damage fibers over time and reduce their lifespan. Plus, you don't want to expose your dog to unnecessary toxins. Pick a pet-safe option that is non-toxic.

Step 4: Wash the Covering

Now, it's time to wash your dog bed's cover. You can use cold water and a gentle cycle, but be sure to use a mild detergent that won't irritate your dog's skin. After washing, rinse thoroughly and hang up to dry. Or, if your dryer has an "air dry" option, that will also work.

Step 5: Wash the Bedding Material

Depending on the bed, you can wash it either in your washing machine or by hand.

Washing machine safe: Dog beds can be large, so make sure not to overload your machine with the bedding material. Use only enough detergent so that the fabric is not left with any residue after rinsing. Otherwise, this residue may irritate your dog's skin. Wash the bedding on the gentle cycle, then run a rinse cycle. Wash the cover in a separate load. Remove all bedding immediately after washing so that it doesn't sit too long.

Hand-wash only: You can use your bathtub or a large sink basin to wash your dog's bed by hand. Add warm water and a mild detergent that doesn't contain harsh chemicals. Next, apply some elbow grease and twist, kneed, and squeeze the bedding to loosen debris. You can also add a little bit of distilled white vinegar - about half-a-cup to a cup will do, depending on your dog's bed - to help remove smells. Rinse the bed thoroughly after.

Memory foam: If your dog's memory foam bed has a removable cover, wash it separately. Don't put the foam in a washer or dryer. Heat destroys memory foam. To clean the actual foam material, use a spray bottle filled with a mix of ¼-cup pet-safe laundry detergent and cold water - not warm or hot water - and spray the mattress down. You don't need to soak the foam here. Also, don't scrub it. Let the spray stand for 10 minutes. Next, sprinkle baking soda liberally all over the mattress and allow everything to sit for a while, preferably overnight. Afterward, just vacuum out the baking soda - and voila! - it's done.

Dry your dog's bedding material on low heat if possible. This will help keep any fluffiness from being lost during drying. If you can't use your dryer, air drying works well, but don't place memory foam directly in sunlight.

Step 6: Stuff It Back In!

Now you can stuff the bed back into its original cover (if it has one). If the original cover didn't turn out as you expected after cleaning, you can try spot cleaning with a stain remover. In some cases, you can purchase extra covers for your dog bed.

Jack russell terrier dog lying in a pet bed with toy

If your dog likes to play rough with their toys and chew up their beds, then maybe it's time for some new stuffing, too. You could also try adding some more stuffing inside their current mattress so that they get extra support when they lie down on top of it.

Extra Cleaning Tips

These tips are simple and effective for keeping your dog's resting place clean.

  • Purchase an odor eliminator designed specifically for pets. Look for products with natural ingredients, such as baking soda or essential oils. Choose a product that includes an enzyme formula that breaks down organic matter.
  • If you don't dry the bed fully, mold can growin between folds where moisture has been trapped.
  • Spot clean any stains with a pet-safe stain remover regularly to keep the bed looking nice.
  • Clean your dog's bed at least once a month or more if necessary.
  • To make hair removal easier, you can use an old toothbrush or lint roller.

Keep Your Pet's Bed Clean for Their Health

We hope these tips help you to keep your dog's bedding clean. Remember that even if you have a large dog or two dogs in your household, it's possible to maintain their beds with just a little bit of work. And, if all else fails, you can always replace the bedding material. It won't take long! It's worth considering how easy dog beds are to clean when your purchasing them, so look for removable covers and designs that are meant for regular upkeep.

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How to Clean Your Dog's Bed in 6 Easy Steps