We love our hounds and want them to be comfortable so buy them the best dog bed we can find. Unfortunately, more often than not, even the most stylish and well-designed dog beds don’t have removable covers.
While comfort and design are important deciding factors when choosing a dog bed, how you are going to wash a dog bed with stuffing is also a key consideration. Especially if it is your dog’s travel bed which is used for camping or outdoors.
How Often to Clean Your Dog’s Bed
We always aim to keep our hounds looking and feeling their opulent best, but dogs carry an invisible cloud of germs wherever they go. They can’t help it.
A clean dog bed is just one essential part of the health and wellbeing of your dog and your home.
Dog beds need regular cleaning. Not only when they are completely covered in hair or dirt from grubby paws and you can’t stand the smell or sight of it anymore.
The germs and bacteria your dog carries in can live in their beds for up to 12 months even without your dog in it. Dogs bedding should be washed weekly. For the benefit of both you and your dog.
Washing a dog bed with stuffing every week is not realistic for everyone, so we give tips further on how you can keep your dogs bed clean in between washes.
But, your dog’s bed should be washed as often as possible.
How to Clean a Dog Bed
So, you’ve bought a gorgeous dog bed without a removable cover and don’t know how to clean it?
Well, all is not lost. There are several ways you can keep your dog’s bed clean without removing the cover.
Pre Treatment – Remove Loose Dirt and Odors
Before you start cleaning the bed with any water or wet treatments, it is essential to remove any loose dirt and hair.
Vacuuming will help reduce any mess once the bed becomes wet.
If the bed is particularly smelly, you may want to sprinkle with baking soda and allow to sit for an hour before vacuuming.
Give the bed a good shake outside and run a vacuum over it with the upholstery nozzle paying attention to nooks and creases.
You may also like to use a lint roller or dog hair removal brush to tackle any hair stuck in the bed.
We recommend vacuuming (and even steaming regularly) between washes to keep the bed fresher longer.
If your dog’s bed has stains such as food, mud or worse, you may need to spot treat stains before washing. It will be much harder to do once the bed is wet and regular washing may not remove stubborn stains.
Avoid regular stain removers with harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances such as bleach or chlorine products such as household bleach.
Look for stain removers made especially for pet stains as they will be more efficient at neutralizing odours and less harmful to your hound.
We like Skout’s Honor Professional Strength Stain & Odor Remover – It’s one of the best performing natural enzymatic product on the market. It Eliminates stains, bacteria and odours at a molecular level, it’s all-natural and cruelty-free. They also donate a portion of each purchase to feeding dogs at local shelters which makes everyone feel good.
It also works for human accidents such as removing grease and wine stains.
Apply the stain remover and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Dab the area with a wet cloth until the product has been rinsed and remove excess moisture – Do not scrub the stain.
Depending on how dirty the bed is, you may wish to presoak.
Use warm – hot water if pre-soaking to ensure you kill any bugs or bacteria. The hotter the better but check the label first for any recommendations.
If the bed is small you may do this in your washing machine.
Large beds can be soaked in a bathtub or, in a large machine at a local laundromat.
If your dog’s bed is small, place the entire bed into the washing machine. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, wash in hot water to kill bacteria.
Add a mild, chemical-free washing detergent. Ideally use a soap detergent designed for pets to avoid any skin irritations or allergies later on.
You can also add a 1/4 cup of apple cider or white vinegar. Either will act as a very effective deodoriser.
Hand Washing Dog Beds
If washing large bed by hand, make sure you completely submerge it in warm to hot water and allow enough time in the detergent to effectively remove dirt and germs. At least 15-30 minutes.
If washing the dog bed in a machine, you will want to rinse the bed twice. Once to ensure all the dirty water is washed away and again to remove all the soap residue.
You may also want to spin the bed twice to get rid of as much excess water as possible.
Hand Rinsing Dog Beds
If you are handwashing your dog’s bed, squeeze all the water from the foam filling and submerge the bed again in clean water to rinse.
You may need to do this a few times to make sure all the soap and dirt run free. A handheld shower can help speed this process if using a bathtub.
Dry the Dog Bed
Squeeze as much water from the bed as possible. If the bed fits and after checking the manufacturers washing recommendations place the bed in the tumble dryer. If it is a sunny day, leaving the bed in the sun to dry will be just as efficient.
Place the bed on a drying rack or similar to allow water to drain away and air to circulate. If it fits, a final spin in the tumble dryer will help to fluff and stuffing or foam filling.
If you are hand washing it may be difficult to manually remove enough excess water. Leave the bed in the sun for a while before using a tumble drier.
Whatever method you use for drying your dog’s bed, it is essential to make sure it is completely dry before use again.
If the foam is still damp, the bed could become smelly or worse, mould could grow inside. It is also not ideal for your dog’s health for them to sleep on a damp surface.
Keeping Your Dogs Bed Clean Between Washes
Washing a dogs bed without a removable cover is not something we want to be doing every week. Although, it is recommended to wash your dog’s bedding weekly.
There are a few simple ways you can keep your dog’s bed clean between washes and in turn, keep your house odour and bacteria-free.
- Vacuum: Vacuum your dogs bed regularly and use a dog hair removal tool for dogs that shed heavily.
- Steam: Use a portable steam cleaner. There are numerous portable and inexpensive steam cleaners perfect for cleaning pet stains and odours. We use ours at least twice a week. Steam has the advantage of heat to kill bacteria, will clean and freshen fabrics.
- Protective Cover: Protect the bed with a comfortable waterproof backed blanket or cover that can easily be machine washed. We love the CHEE RAY 100% waterproof blanket designed for pets and humans. It’s a reversible double layer silky micro plush blanket which is super comfortable.
- Hand Wipe: Spray and wipe the bed with a water and vinegar mix to spot clean and deodorise or use a pet-specific stain removal and deodoriser product.
- Air: Air the bed in the sun as often as possible.
Additional Tips for Washing a Dog Bed
The following chemicals found in many cleaning products can be harmful to your dog. There are lots of effective cleaning products on the market that are free from harmful chemicals.
Also, be mindful about the use of essential oils with dogs. Natural does not always equate to healthy. Essential oils can be quite dangerous to dogs so don’t be tempted to add a few drops here and there as a deodoriser.