Can You Wash Dog Beds? (And How to Clean Them)

5 min read

Hudson resting on the Outdoor Contour Lounger in teal

How to Wash a Dog Bed: An Essential Guide for Pet Owners

Regularly washing a dog bed keeps your dog and home smelling fresh. Just as you clean your sheets, your pup deserves a clean place to rest their head after a long day of frolicking. Washing a dog bed is a rewarding feeling for both you and your canine companion!

Can You Wash Dog Beds?

Yes! Although it can be easy to avoid another household cleaning task (especially if the color of your dog’s bed masks stains), it is important to do so regularly. Once you know how to clean dog beds, making it a habit is not difficult. And your dog will thank you.

Because your dog won’t have a bed while you do their laundry, consider timing it when your dog is out of the house (perhaps on a doggy playdate or on a hike with a family member). A good routine to get into is dropping your dog off at the groomer while you take care of their laundry. That way, the dog and bed are on the same schedule — both nice and clean at the same time.

How to Wash a Dog Bed

The cleaning method can depend on the type and size of bedding. Give your dog a spare blanket to cuddle with in the meantime, as the process can take several hours to complete.

Always defer to the instructions on the label, but here is a general guide for how to clean a dog bed:

  • First, eliminate loose hair, treat crumbs, and other debris.
    • Give it a shake outside. If the bed has a lot of dog hair on it, vacuum it up or use a lint roller. Focus mainly on the side your dog lies on, but don’t ignore the bottom or sides. Dust mites and bacteria live there, too.
    • If the bed is relatively flat with no fluffy surfaces that would get stuck, vacuuming is the easier option. If your furry friend is scared of the vacuum, be sure to separate him from the vacuum while you complete this task. Vacuum the area surrounding the dog bed as well.
    • To eliminate odor, sprinkle some all-natural baking soda on the bed first. Let the baking soda work its magic for a few hours before vacuuming. It’s safer for a dog’s skin and sinuses to opt for odor neutralizing agents instead of using fragranced sprays to mask any odors.
    • Instead of vacuuming, a lint roller will be easier for a curved or extra fluffy bed.
  • Spot wash the dog bed.
    • Use a mixture of vinegar (white or apple cider) and water, or plain vinegar, as a pet-safe, all-natural way to target individual stains. Do this before washing the bed and as needed.
    • Apply bleach-free stain remover, such as OxiClean, as needed.
  • Wash the cover. If the dog bed has a cover and a foam insert, remove the cover and toss it into the washing machine.
    • For luxury dog bed covers, it is best to use cold water and let air dry,or use a no-heat option in your dryer.
    • Air out the foam insert(s) while the cover is in the wash. Spot clean the insert with a water and vinegar solution.
  • Put the dog bed in the washing machine, if the cover is not removable.
    • Keep in mind that dogs’ sense of smell is much more sensitive than humans, so use pet-safe, perhaps even scentless laundry detergent. If your puppy has allergies, make sure the detergent is extra gentle.
    • To clean your washing machine afterward, run an extra cycle. That way, no stray dog hairs will end up on your clothes by mistake.
    • Dry the bed according to the instructions on the label.
  • Hand washing the dog bed is always an option for any type of dog bed. Although it takes more time, it is necessary if the bed is too large to fit in the washing machine. Alternatively, the laundromat may have larger machines if yours cannot accommodate the bed. Remember to always follow the manufacturer instructions.
    • Fill up your tub. Add gentle, pet-safe soap. Soak the bed for a few minutes, then start scrubbing. Soak longer to tackle deep stains or extra dirty bedding better. Find a place to air dry the bed afterward. Depending on the material of the bed, allow several hours for it to dry.
    • The hotter the water, the more harmful bacteria, and germs are killed. If you use extremely hot water, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from burns. Be sure to always check the label, as some bedding materials require cold or lukewarm water.
    • Wash out your tub afterward to ensure no hair or germs are left behind.

How Often to Wash Dog Bed

Now that you are clear on how to wash a dog bed, how often do you need to do it?

Once a week.

Just as you should be washing the sheets on your bed once a week, get into the habit of washing your dog’s bed with the same frequency. This time frame ensures the bed stays clean and in top quality condition to last your dog’s lifetime. Make it a regular part of Laundry Day!

Outside dogs that get into muddy mischief, newly potty-trained dogs, or dogs with bladder issues may require additional washings for the beddings. Patience and flexibility are key. If you anticipate more washings, teach everyone in your household how to wash a dog bed. The more helping hands, the faster you can return a clean bed to your pup.

Additionally, clean the bed as needed in between regular washes. This can be:

  • When you notice an odor. Dog beds, like curtains and couches, dog beds are soft surfaces that absorb odors. Vacuuming a dog bed sprinkled with baking soda is an easy fix to prevent the odor from consuming your home.
  • After you wash your dog. After going through the trouble of washing your dog, it makes sense for them to have a clean bed to get back into after they are clean. It helps the bed, and your dog, stay clean for longer.
  • If the bed is visibly soiled. This would be an emergency time to wash it! Having a backup doggie bed or blanket can be extra handy during these situations. Using latex gloves, scrape off, and dispose of any solids (mud, feces, vomit, etc.). Soak up liquid messes with paper towels before putting them in the washing machine or washing by hand.

What to Use to Wash a Dog Bed

Alright — you know how to clean a dog bed, and how often. Now, here are some specific tools, including dog bath supplies, for how to wash dog beds:

  • Gentle soap or laundry detergent. If it is baby-friendly, it is most likely also pet-friendly.
  • If you are in a rush or the bed does not need a deep clean, have Febreze or a similar fabric deodorizer on hand. Make sure the product is scentless and pet-friendly. Baking soda works too.
  • Vinegar and water solution: mix half and half in a spray bottle to spot wash the bed cover and inserts as needed.
  • Bleach-free stain remover, such as OxiClean.
  • A place to let the bed air dry. (Alternatively, access to a dryer.) If you line dry with clothespins, put a towel under the bed to catch drips.
  • A trusty vacuum that works well on soft surfaces.
  • A lint roller with plenty of spare sticky tape.


So now when your dog has an accident, you won’t have to panic-search “how to wash dog bed” — you’ll know what to do. If you need to replace the dog bed altogether or want a spare one for when you’re washing the other, Animals Matter offers luxury dog beds that have easily washable covers. Simply toss the cover in the washing machine, let air dry, and spot wash the foam inserts.

We have top-quality, USA-made products for all stages of your canine companion’s life from orthopedic beds to dog ramps built for your dog's gait. Shop our collections now!

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