How to Wash a Dog Bed in 4 Steps

Keeping your dog’s bed clean is an important part of providing a healthy environment for your four-legged friend. Dog beds can accumulate dirt, fur, dander, and even fleas if not cared for properly. Washing a dog bed regularly removes these contaminants and helps control odors. Follow these four key steps to learn how to wash a dog bed like a pro.

Gather Your Supplies

Before starting the washing process, collect the necessary supplies:

  • Dog bed
  • Laundry detergent formulated for pets – Regular detergent can contain chemicals too harsh for your dog’s skin
  • Odor eliminator – Look for enzyme-based options ideal for eliminating pet odors
  • Soft scrub brush – For spot cleaning tough, set-in stains
  • Old towels – Useful for absorbing excess moisture after washing
  • Access to a washing machine – Either your own or a laundromat’s
  • Patience – Dog beds can take time to fully clean

With the right supplies in hand, you’ll be ready to tackle even the dirtiest dog bed.

Inspect and Spot Clean

Before placing your dog’s bed in the washing machine, take time to inspect it thoroughly. Look for:

  • Loose fur – Remove as much excess fur as possible by hand
  • Dried urine or feces – Spot clean these bodily fluids which can leave lingering odors even after washing. Apply an odor eliminator to the area and let sit as directed before scrubbing with your soft brush.
  • Heavily soiled spots – Pretreat using detergent, odor eliminator, or a mix of vinegar and water applied directly to the stain.
  • Attached debris – Pick off any dried bits of grass, dirt, leaves or other debris.

Thorough spot cleaning before washing helps ensure your dog bed comes out smelling fresh and looking like new.

Select the Right Washing Method

The way you wash your dog’s bed depends on the bed’s material and construction. Follow fabric care instructions whenever available. Some guidelines for common dog bed types:

Machine Washable Covers

  • Zip off any detachable covers
  • Wash cover alone on a gentle cycle using cool or warm water
  • Air dry covers to prevent heat damage from drying machines

Waterproof Liners

  • Hand wash using gentle detergent and scrub brush
  • Rinse thoroughly and air dry

Donut Beds

  • Check manufacturer’s guidelines first
  • Wash entire bed in machine on gentle cycle in cool water
  • Stuff with towels to retain shape and air dry

Orthopedic Foam Beds

  • Spot clean only
  • Use carpet cleaner on surface stains
  • Hands-off washing to avoid damaging foam

No matter what washing method you use, always air dry dog beds when possible rather than using a drying machine to prolong bed life.

Wash and Dry

Once you select an appropriate washing technique, it’s time to clean:

Standard Machine Washing

  1. Shake off loose debris.
  2. Pretreat any stains.
  3. Place bed or cover in washing machine.
  4. Wash on a gentle cycle with cool or warm water.
  5. Use minimal detergent, ideally pet-formulated.
  6. Skip fabric softener and bleach.
  7. After washing, reshape the bed as needed.
  8. Stuff with towels to absorb moisture.
  9. Air dry thoroughly before returning to your dog.

Take your time with the washing and drying process. Rushing could result in lingering odors, improperly dried liners, or misshapen beds. Patience pays off in providing your dog a fresh, inviting place to sleep.

Maintain Cleanliness Between Washes

While regular washing is essential, you can maintain your dog bed’s cleanliness between washes too:

  • Use washable bed covers to easily remove pet hair, dirt, and debris. Wash covers frequently while leaving inner foam, padding or liners intact.
  • Vacuum or brush your dog’s bed often to keep fur under control.
  • Spot clean accidents immediately using an enzyme-based pet odor eliminator.
  • Sprinkle baking soda before vacuuming to help absorb odors.
  • Consider waterproof liners if your dog has occasional accidents. They protect inner padding from moisture damage.
  • Spray pet-safe antibacterial and odor neutralizing products between washes.

With routine maintenance, you’ll extend the time between intensive washings and always have a clean bed ready for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washing Dog Beds

Washing your dog’s bed may seem straightforward, but questions can come up. Here are answers to some common FAQs:

How often should you wash a dog bed?

  • Wash dog beds at least once every 2-4 weeks. Dogs spend many hours in their beds, so regular cleaning is key. Wash more often for younger dogs or incontinence issues.

Can I put a dog bed in the washing machine?

  • Most removable dog bed covers can be machine washed on gentle cycles. Avoid washing entire foam or padded beds in machines which can destroy support and structure.

What’s the best way to dry a dog bed?

  • Air drying is ideal to prevent heat damage from dryers. Stuff damp beds with towels to retain shape as they dry. Place outdoors in sunny spot for fastest drying.

How do I get old stains out of a dog bed?

  • Pretreat set-in stains by soaking in enzymatic cleaner, vinegar solution, or detergent before washing. Use stain remover sticks on stubborn spots and wash in hot water.

What do you put in a dog bed before washing?

  • Before washing, remove loose debris, spot clean heavily soiled areas, pretreat stains, and brush off any dried bits stuck to the bed. This prepares the bed for the most effective wash.

Can I use bleach to wash a dog bed?

  • Avoid bleach since the harsh chemicals can irritate a dog’s skin. Use pet-friendly cleaners without added dyes, perfumes or other chemicals.

By following a proper washing routine, you can keep your dog’s bed fresh and comfortable for sleeping. Take the process step-by-step for best results.


Regularly washing your dog’s bed is a key pet care task that promotes health by removing dirt, odors, and contaminants. While washing needs vary by bed types and usage, the four steps of gathering supplies, spot cleaning, selecting a washing method, and proper machine washing apply to all dog beds. Combine washing with routine maintenance like vacuuming, brushing and spot cleaning for an always-fresh doggy bed. With this simple process, you can keep your four-legged best friend comfortable and cozy day after day.