Top down picture of dog laying sideways in a rectangular dog bed

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If you're a pet parent, you probably see your dog as a true family member. And when it comes to giving your canine companion the best life possible, keeping their bedding clean becomes a top priority. Understanding how to effectively clean a dog bed serves more than one purpose – it prevents allergens from building up, reduces the risk of health issues, and can even help keep pests at bay. If you’re wondering how to clean a dog bed, read on to learn more.

The Benefits Of A Clean Dog Bed

Maintaining a clean dog bed offers many benefits that contribute to the overall well-being of your beloved pet. Regularly cleaning your dog's bedding significantly lowers the risk of skin allergies, skin infections, and any other health issues that may arise from exposure to dirt, dust, and harmful bacteria.

Furthermore, a clean bed serves as a deterrent to infestations by fleas and ticks, which are known to thrive in unclean environments. The reduction of allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen in a clean bed not only improves the respiratory comfort of your dog but also provides relief to family members with pet allergies, fostering a more enjoyable living space for everyone. The absence of lingering odors adds to the overall freshness of your home, while the improved hygiene of a clean bed promotes better sleep for your canine companion.

Choosing The Right Dog Bedding

Choosing the right bedding is essential, whether you own a rottweiler, Great Dane, or chihuahua. When you are shopping for new dog bedding for your companion, keep the following in mind:

  • Size: How big is your dog, and what breed are they? Will the bed you're interested in provide enough space for them to stretch out comfortably? Is your dog still growing? Does your pup prefer to sleep curled up or sprawled out?
  • Age: Is your dog a senior dog that requires special padding and materials? Will they benefit from an orthopedic bed?
  • Material: What material will be best for your dog's new bed? Are you in the market for a bed made of microfiber, or are you interested in investing in a sleeping solution for your dog that comes with removable covers? If you are searching for stain and odor-resistant materials, consider seeking a dog bed made of nylon or polyester, especially if your dog does not have any skin irritation or reaction to the materials. If your dog experiences allergies, you may want to research hypoallergenic materials that are ideal for their needs. You can also look for dog beds that include antimicrobial fabrics, which help inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Waterproofing: If you are still in the process of training your dog or if your dog is a puppy, consider a waterproof bed to prevent staining and odor buildup.

Regular Maintenance Routine

Regular maintenance for dog beds

Maintaining a clean dog bed and comfortable environment for your pup is essential for their well-being. A regular maintenance routine can go a long way in ensuring the longevity of their bed and overall hygiene.

Incorporating simple habits like brushing your dog routinely not only helps keep their fur in check but also minimizes shedding onto the bed. Additionally, wiping their paws before they enter their sleeping space prevents dirt and mud from accumulating. Keeping their nails trimmed not only protects their paws but also prevents any unintentional damage to the bed fabric.

On a weekly basis, dedicating time to tasks like removing loose hairs and debris from the bed surface, along with spot cleaning, ensures that your dog's resting place remains fresh and inviting. By embracing these practices, you create a cozy haven for your pet while maintaining a clean living space for both of you.

Hand Washing Or Machine Washing Dog Beds

How to clean a dog bed can differ depending on the dog bed’s material. Dog beds made out of delicate materials like wool typically need to be hand washed. If your dog bed requires hand-washing, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by vacuuming the dog bed to eliminate excess hair, debris, bacteria, grime, and dirt.
  2. Choose a spacious location such as a bathtub, an outdoor plastic pool, or a sink that can comfortably accommodate the size of the dog bed.
  3. Fill your chosen cleaning area with warm or hot water. Add one cup of vinegar and your preferred laundry detergent, typically meant for a single load of laundry.
  4. Gently place the dog bed into the water and detergent mixture. Initiate the cleaning process by repeatedly squeezing the material. Make sure to cover all sections of the bed, allowing the laundry detergent solution to soak through completely.
  5. After the cleaning is finished, thoroughly rinse the dog bed. Empty the tub, sink, or pool of the used water.
  6. Lay the dog bed flat to air dry. If the weather is warm and sunny, consider placing the bed outdoors to expedite the drying process.

On the other hand, if you need to machine wash your dog's bed, it might seem more intuitive, but there are still certain details you need to pay extra attention to. For example, it's always a good idea to ensure the dog bed fits comfortably in the washing machine without overloading it. You should also always opt for a mild, pet-friendly detergent to avoid skin irritations for your dog. Additionally, remember to select cold or lukewarm water to prevent the shrinking or fading of the fabric. Finally, take care to ensure all the zippers and fasteners on your dog's bed are closed or secured to prevent any damage.

Dog laying on an outdoor dog bed with toy ball

Deep Cleaning Strategies

Sometimes, you might come across tough stains on your dog's bed. Dealing with different stains often requires different approaches. Here's how to remove different types of stains effectively:

Dirt and Mud Stains

Dirt and mud stains aren't too challenging to handle. Let the mud dry entirely before tackling it to prevent further spread. Begin by removing loose dirt, then thoroughly vacuum. After clearing the dirt, gently blot any remaining mud or stains with a cold water-dampened cloth. For machine-washable beds, a cycle might also help.1

Urine Stains

Urine stains can leave behind an enduring and bothersome odor that's tough to mask and remove. To draw out fresh urine from your dog's bed, simply sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. For a natural cleaning solution, blend two cups of vinegar with baking soda in a water bottle. Apply this solution onto the bed and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Gently dab and blot the stain using a cloth until fully addressed.1

Fecal Stains

Remove any fecal matter from the bed as quickly as possible. Neutralize odors by applying a mix of white vinegar and cold water to the affected area. Gently use a cloth or soft brush while spraying the vinegar and water solution. To aid in cleaning and drying, sprinkle baking soda on the stained area.1

Blood Stains

Act swiftly when dealing with a blood stain that's fresh. Opt for cold water, as warm or hot water could set the stain permanently. Start by blotting and dabbing the stain using a cloth and cold water to lift as much as possible. Craft a cleaning mixture by combining white vinegar, cold water, and baking soda. This can be sprayed or blotted onto the stain. Allow the mixture to rest on the stain for at least 30 minutes. If the stain persists, repeat the process. If necessary, consider alternatives like hydrogen peroxide or enzyme-based blood stain removers for more stubborn cases.1

How to remove stubborn odors from dog beds

How to Remove Stubborn Odors

Detecting an unusual odor from your dog's bed can be perplexing, especially if washing the bed hasn't helped. Here are a couple more tips to effectively tackle stubborn odors:

  • Place your dog bed in the sunlight, giving it exposure to fresh air
  • Use enzyme-based cleaners to eliminate excess odors
  • Apply pet-safe essential oils to cover lingering odors

Long-Term Care And Upkeep

Upkeeping your dog's bed for the long haul involves a couple of key strategies. Regularly assess the bed for wear and tear, particularly focusing on seams, zippers, and padding. If any parts show damage or are worn out, promptly replace them to maintain comfort and support. Additionally, remain mindful of changing seasons or your dog's preferences and adjust bedding materials accordingly – choosing cooler options for warmer months and warmer ones for colder times.

Clean Dog Bedding: FAQs

How often should I clean my dog's bed?

The cleaning routine for your dog's bed hinges on factors like your dog's breed, activity level, and shedding tendencies. Generally, a weekly cleaning schedule is advisable. However, if your dog tends to be messier, has allergies, or someone in your home is sensitive to dog dander, you might find it necessary to clean the bed more often.

Can dog beds be washed in the washing machine?

Sometimes, dog beds can be machine-washed. However, it's essential to refer to the care label on each individual bed you have, as the instructions may differ. While certain beds might recommend removing covers before machine washing, others might only require hand washing.

How do you clean a dog bed naturally?

To naturally clean a dog bed, consider using a mix of baking soda and vinegar. This combination not only gets rid of bacteria, dirt, and grime from the bedding effectively but also offers a solution that's gentle on the environment and your pet.

Chihuahua laying in a tent-shaped dog bed in between two plants

Final Notes

Providing your dog with a clean and comfortable bed significantly enhances their quality of life, no matter their age. Learning how to effectively clean a dog bed not only benefits your pup but also you, your loved ones, and your home environment.

If you have more questions on how to clean dog beds or need help with your pup's allergies or skin concerns, Dutch is here for you. We provide pet owners with the tools they need to ensure their pets are as healthy and happy as they can be. And with Dutch, connecting with a licensed veterinarian for unlimited calls and follow-ups is hassle-free. Try Dutch today and give your pet the care they deserve.


  1. “How to Clean a Dog Bed.” American Kennel Club. Mar. 6, 2022.

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