How To Clean Dog Beds - Cover Image

How To Clean Dog Beds – A Beginners Guide


A dog’s bed should be their safe haven in the house. This is the place where they can be comfortable and relaxed after a long day playing fetch.

As your dog spends a lot of their time in their dog bed, it’s important to ensure it is kept clean and smelling fresh.

The last thing you want is to have a dirty and smelly dog bed stinking up your kitchen or wherever it is your dog sleeps.

That’s why in this article, I’ll show you all the things you need to learn to be able to clean dog beds including: how often they should be cleaned, the benefits of keeping them clean, and just how to clean them.

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How Often Should Dog Beds Be Washed?

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you wash dog bedding about once every week or two.

Of course, if the dog bed looks particularly dirty or has a distinctly unpleasant smell, this can certainly be done as required.

It’s also important to consider some additional factors which may require you to clean the dog bed more often:

  • how often your dog sheds
  • if anyone in the house suffers from allergies
  • if your dog regularly plays outside.

In these cases, it might be necessary to clean dog bedding more frequently. This will prevent the build-up of dog fur, prevent allergies and keep things clean.

The Benefits Of Regularly Cleaning Dog Beds

In order to understand just why we need to clean dog beds so regularly, let’s take a look at the benefits of keeping a clean dog bed.

1 Keeping Your Dog Clean

It stands to reason that keeping your dog bed clean will keep your dog clean. This is certainly true for the most part.

Of course, nothing is stopping your dog from rolling around in the mud outside. But at least they will have a clean dog bed to sleep in when they’re done.

2 Preventing Allergies From Developing

Regularly vacuuming your dog’s bed is an excellent way to prevent allergies for those who suffer from them.

All dogs will shed in some fashion, some more than others. We discussed this more in this article which I highly recommend: Does A Bichon Frise Shed? The Definitive Answer You Should Know

Dead skin or dander as it’s also called, is often the trigger for allergies in humans.

By regularly vacuuming and keeping dog bedding clean, you are reducing the amount of dander and dog fur in the house. This will, therefore, reduce the risk of allergies flaring up.

3 Keeping Your House Smelling Great

Let’s face it a fresh smelling house is something we all would like.

We can’t always achieve this though unfortunately. Smells like urine or feces smell absolutely terrible and they just hang in the air.

In order to prevent this smell from emanating, it’s super important to regularly clean your dog bedding.

The best way to remove odors from dog bedding is with a natural deodorizer. These include white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Simply add this to a spray bottle and give dog bedding a spritz to remove the worst of the smells before washing.

4 Preventing Germs From Spreading

As you can imagine, all kinds of dirt and germs can develop on your dog’s bed over time. Especially when it hasn’t been cleaned.

All of this unpleasant stuff is then transferred onto your dog who can then trail it through your house and even onto you!

That’s why regular cleaning is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs in the house.

Steps For Cleaning A Plastic Dog Bed

  1. Remove loose dirt with a vacuum. This step is crucial to do before washing dog bedding to ensure any excess hair, dirt and dust is removed.
  2. Spot clean with antibacterial wipes. Depending on how dirty the dog bed is, you can usually just wipe it clean with some antibacterial wipes. You could also use warm soapy water and a sponge to remove any tougher dirt.
  3. If particularly dirty, put into the bathtub and wash. If the dog bed needs a deep clean, you can pop it into the bathtub. Then use warm soapy water to scrub off the worst of the dirt. Then you can rinse the suds away and have a nice clean dog bed.
  4. Allow to air dry in a well-ventilated room or outside if the weather is good. Ensure the dog bed is totally dry before allowing it back into use. This ensures mold or bacteria don’t develop inside of the bed (mold loves to develop in warm, moist environments!).

Can You Put A Dog Bed In The Washing Machine?

A common question you might have about your dog bed is if you can put it into the washing machine or not.

The simple answer is that it depends on the type of dog bed you have.

Most material dog beds will come with a removable cover that can be taken off and popped into the washing machine.

Other dog beds may not have a removable cover but can still be washed in the washing machine.

The key here is to be sure to read the washing instructions label that can be found on almost all dog beds.

If you can’t find these washing instructions, it’s a good idea to head to the website where you bought the dog bed from and look them up there.

How to clean a dog bed

Steps For Cleaning A Soft Dog Bed

  1. Remove Loose Dirt With A Vacuum – This step is crucial for removing any excess pet hair and dirt that may be found on the dog bed.
  2. Remove Any Stains – By using a spot cleaner or upholstery cleaner, you can help to remove some of the tougher stains like dirt or urine before washing.
  3. Put Into Washing Machine – Carefully read the washing instructions to make sure you can wash the dog bed in the washing machine.
    Ensure the dog bed can fit adequately in the washing machine. If it’s too big, it might be necessary to take it to a laundromat or you could wash it by hand in the bathtub.
    Be sure to use a mild, pet-safe detergent that won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Most pet stores will have these types of detergents and cleaning products so they should be easy to find.
    Finally, be sure to wash dog bedding separately from other laundry.
  4. Dry The Bed – Squeeze out any excess water by hand and put into the dryer if possible. If it’s too big for the dryer you can place the dog bed in a well-ventilated room next to a heater. If the weather is nice you could leave it to dry naturally outside.
    It’s important to ensure all dog bedding is fully dry before putting it back into use to prevent any mold or bacteria from growing.
  5. Reassemble – Pop back on the covers if you removed them and fluff up the dog bed before placing it back where it was for your pooch to use once again.

How Do You Clean A Dog Bed Without A Removable Cover?

If your dog bed does not have a removable cover, it may still be possible to wash in the washing machine.

Read the washing instructions on the label attached to the bed to determine if it can be washed in the washing machine. That’s your best bet.

If you can, great, all you need to do is follow the steps above and you’ll have a clean bed in no time.

If you can’t, you can still follow the first 2 steps which will do a good job of cleaning the dog bed.

How To Keep A Dog Bed Clean

  • Vacuum regularly – this will keep dog hair and dead skin to a minimum. It will also remove any loose dirt that could build up.
  • Cover the bed with a blanket that can be replaced and cleaned – it’s handy to have a couple of throws that you can simply have over the dog bed. This will catch most of the dirt that builds up. That way you can easily swap them out and clean them easily.
  • Use a white vinegar/cider vinegar-based spray which will act as a deodorizer – removing smells like urine or feces can be done using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Keep your dog clean – a clean dog will naturally have a clean bed. Washing your dog once a month or when they need it will ensure their dog bed will stay clean also.


We were able to cover lots of useful tips in this article to show you how to clean dog beds.

Let’s summarize before we end:

  • First, we answered the question “How often should a dog bed be washed?”.
  • Next, we talked about the benefits of keeping a clean dog bed.
  • After that, we stepped through the process of cleaning a plastic dog bed and then a soft dog bed.
  • We also answered the question “Can you put a dog bed in the washing machine?”
  • Finally, I showed you some easy to follow tips for keeping a clean dog bed for longer.

I hope you found the information in this article helpful. If you did, I would really appreciate you sharing this on social media as it will help other dog owners like you to find this information.

If you have any questions about any of the information covered in this article, please feel free to leave a comment.

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