A dog is an important member of the household, bringing love, comfort and cuddles to any space. But as every pet parent knows, that's not all they bring. There's a good chance your pooch also tracks mud, dirt and debris into your home, not to mention shedded fur and the nearly unavoidable "dog smell."
If you want to keep your home looking and smelling clean, the first step is to provide your pet with a designated spot to curl up and sleep, whether it's a large cushion, a bolster-style bed or a soft rug. But that's just part of the equation. Washing dog beds is crucial too.
This guide will go over step-by-step instructions on how to clean a dog bed, how often to wash a dog bed, general maintenance tips and insight into when it's time to get a new one.
How Often Should You Wash a Dog Bed?
Before getting into how to clean a dog bed, let's discuss frequency. Just like bedding, regularly cleaning your pet's bed is vital. About once every week or two should suffice, though it depends on a few factors. Consider the type of fur your pet has, how much time they spend outside and what time of year it is (most breeds shed more heavily in the spring and fall).
Of course, there are instances where you'll want to clean their bed right away. For example, your pup may have a potty accident, get sprayed by a skunk, have fleas or track in a substantial amount of dirt.
How Often Should I Wash My Sheets? Read our blog to find out.
How to Clean a Dog Bed: Tips and Guidance
Can you machine-wash a dog bed? In some cases, yes. But it depends on the type and material. Keep reading to learn how to wash a dog bed with or without a removable cover.
How to Wash a Dog Bed With a Removable Cover
Follow these steps to wash a dog bed with a removable cover:
Unzip and remove the cover.
Toss the cover in your washing machine with similar colors and materials.
Use a gentle, pet-safe detergent and choose a normal cycle with hot or very warm water to eliminate bacteria and odors.
You may also want to do an additional rinse cycle if the cover is particularly soiled.
Before getting started, check the label or the brand's care instructions to confirm the cover is machine-washable. Some beds call for hand-washing, but either way, you can spot-clean the insert as needed.
How to Wash a Dog Bed Without a Removable Cover
If it doesn't have a removable cover, you might be able to put your dog bed in the washing machine, similar to a dining chair pad. However, larger beds often can't be machine-washed, and this may not be the best option unless the manufacturer explicitly recommends it.
Follow these steps to wash a dog bed without a removable cover:
Fill your bathtub or a large basin with enough warm water to submerge the entire bed.
Add up to a quarter-cup of mild detergent.
Place the bed in the tub, and allow it to soak for about 30 minutes.
Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub out stuck-on debris.
Rub baking soda over the surface to get rid of lingering odors.
Rinse the bed thoroughly with clean water.
Wring it out to remove excess water.
As noted above, you can also spot-clean the exterior as needed.
It might be wise to add this task to your home's cleaning schedule. See our Daily, Weekly, & Monthly Household Chore Checklist for more ideas.
How to Dry Dog Beds
After washing a dog bed and wringing it out, let it air-dry in a clean, ventilated area. If possible, consider placing it in direct sunlight. In addition to speeding up the process, ultraviolet rays can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria.
You might be able to tumble-dry your dog bed in a standard dryer on low heat. That said, many are simply too large, and you're wise to avoid the dryer unless the brand recommends it.
Should Dogs Be Allowed on Furniture? Find out why we think it's best for pets to have their own spots in the home.
Don't Forget to Vacuum
Always vacuum before washing. This helps get rid of loose fur and remove lint from dog beds. Even outside of wash days, vacuuming at least a couple times a week will help things look clean and smell fresh.
Does your pet sleep on an area rug? Read our article to learn How to Keep Your Rugs Looking Their Best.
Removing Stains and Odors From Dog Beds
Now that you know how to wash a dog bed, let's go over how to get rid of stains and lingering pet smells. Pet-safe cleaning sprays and detergents can work well for scrubbing out stains and potty messes.
Enzyme-based formulas do a great job of naturally breaking down organic matter in soiled cushions, upholstery and rugs while lifting stubborn odors. For small spots, try a clean toothbrush, a soft-bristled cleaning brush or a textured cloth.
As with mattresses, you can also sprinkle baking soda over the surface, then let it sit for about an hour to absorb odors. Next, shake it out and vacuum up the remaining powder.
Check out our guide for more ideas on How to Make Your Home Smell Good.
Knowing When to Replace Dog Beds
Knowing how to clean a dog bed is essential. But you should also be able to tell when yours is on its last leg. If your pup's bed has large rips, permanent stains or a musty smell you can't get rid of, it's probably time to get a new one.
Read our blog to discover the Best Dog Bed Materials for Comfort, Durability and Style.
Where to Buy the Best Dog Beds
They'retk made of high-quality materials that are not only durable but also aesthetically pleasing and versatile enough to complement virtually any decor theme. What's more, the covers are conveniently machine-washable. Another option is to give your pooch a designated rug or mat to curl up on, which you'll also find at Parachute.
Shop the collections today!
1. AKC Staff. Dog Shedding: What to Expect And How to Manage It. American Kennel Club. 2019.
2. Abney SE, et al. Laundry Hygiene and Odor Control: State of the Science. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 87, No. 14. 2021.
3. Ana L. Morales-Garcia AL, et al. The Application of a Nuclease Enzyme to Clean Stubborn Soils and Odors in Laundry. Journal of Surfactants and Detergents. Vol. 23. No. 4. 2020.