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How should I clean my dog's bed?

3rd February 2021

How should you clean your dog bed?

Much like we do, dogs spend heaps of time in bed, whether sleeping, napping or just chilling, and what with all the mud, puddles, and you-name-it floating about in the big wide world, some of that inevitably gets brought back (usually invisibly!) to their comfy, snoozy spot.

Even the most beautiful dog bed in the world needs cleaning, so here are some of our tips for keeping your dog’s bed safe, clean, and smelling and looking gorgeous.

First – how often should you clean your dog’s bed? Well, it should be as often as you clean your own! The recommendation is either once a week or once a fortnight for a dog’s bed that is used every day. Also, if you only have one bed, consider when in the day to start cleaning it within your dog’s sleep cycle – remember to factor in the prep time, washing cycle time, and sufficient time for it to dry too.

How you clean your dog bed also depends on what type of dog bed you have too – for example, is it a hard plastic or rubber shell bed that you fill with blankets, or a plush bed with or without a removable cover?

Hard Shell Beds

For hard shell beds, first remove blankets (for cleaning blankets, follow our instructions below for soft plush beds) and then remove any remaining hair or other materials (depending on what they are!) with either a cloth or hoover. Then simply use a pet friendly disinfectant (we recommend Zoflora Fresh Home fragrances or Dettol All In One spray), following the instructions on the labels for wipe clean.

Importantly, make sure your dog’s bed is completely dry before you add their freshly laundered blankets or cushions back in, as damp beds can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Plush bed with removable cover

For soft beds with a removable cover, first start by removing things like toys and blankets so you’re just left with the bed, then give it a good hoover (the brush attachment can come in really handy here) to remove as much hair as possible – it’s so much better to do that now, as once any hair gets wet and washed into the bed it becomes so much harder to remove. Once you’ve hoovered, use a lint roller or a squeegee to try and pick up as many of those remaining stubborn hairs as possible, and remove the cover.

Before proceeding, remember to take a look to see if your dog’s bed has a label with washing instructions and make sure you pay attention to these as these will be specifically prepared by the manufacturer.

If you have any stains that need removing let’s address those first. There are a range of pet friendly stain removers that can help with this, including UK options from the RSPCA and Dr Beckmann. Follow the instructions for your stain remover closely – it might also be worthwhile just checking it on a small patch of your cover first too, just to make sure it’s not too strong.

Next comes to washing. Advice by the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recommends washing at 60 degrees Celsius to ensure any hidden bacteria, eggs and other nasties can be sufficiently killed in the wash.

Detergent wise it’s important that you choose one without bleach, chlorine or ammonia, certainly if you have a sensitive or allergic dog.  For sensitive dogs it may also be worthwhile running an extra rinse cycle afterwards too.

Dependent on how hairy or mucky your bed cover was, once the initial cycle has been completed and you’ve taken it out to dry, you may want to run an empty hot wash cycle for your washer to help clean it out – run it empty at 90 degrees Celsius, perhaps with quarter of a cup of white vinegar or some pet hair dissolver, and remember to clear out your filter afterwards too!

Drying time now, and depending on the instructions on your dog’s cover label you may or may not be able to pop it into the dryer, so be sure to check it carefully. Whether you’re drying by dryer, line or airer, the most important thing is to ensure that it’s completely dry before putting back on your dog's bed.

Plush bed without removable cover

Following the same instructions above, wipe, hoover and lint roll/squeegee your dog's bed thoroughly to remove any hair or remaining material.

Check your dog’s bed for washing instructions carefully here – you may be able to pop the whole thing into your washer, or you may have to sponge wash it carefully. If you can wash the whole thing, great news! Follow our instructions above for washing the removable cover, otherwise you’ll have to sponge wash.

Using a pet friendly stain remover (if needed) such as Dr Beckmann or RSPCA, get to work on any stubborn stains on your dog bed before diluting a capful of gentle detergent with 2 capfuls of a pet friendly disinfectant in 4 litres of warm water. Wet a clean sponge and wring well until damp (not wet), and begin dabbing and working into your bed. Once you’ve been over all your bed, repeat the process with just warm, clean water to ‘rinse’ it, and either dry by line in a warm, dry place, making sure it’s completely dry before letting your dog settle back down on it.

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