The Right Way to Wash Your Dog’s Bed

When your dog’s bed needs a bath, here’s how to remove dirt, stains, and doggy odors.


Start laundering your dog’s bed by vacuuming the bed with a brush or upholstery attachment to remove dust, dirt, dander, and dog hair.

Check the bed’s cover for a tag that shows washing instructions or check with the manufacturer. Most removable covers can be hand-washed or placed in the washing machine, and some beds whose covers are not removable can be cleaned in the washer as well. If you find washing instructions, follow them.

Stain and odor removal

Treat stains before washing. Enzyme products such as Unique Pet Care’s Advanced Dog Odor + Stain Remover and Rocco and Roxie’s Extreme Stain & Odor Eliminator bind with and remove traces of urine, vomit, feces, blood, dog drool, musty smells, and doggy odors. Alternatively, these stains can be treated with 1 cup baking soda mixed with 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water applied as a spray. Let stand 10 minutes and blot dry.

Plant-based laundry detergents are considered dog-friendly because they don’t contain dyes, fragrances, or harsh chemicals. Greenshield Organic Free and Clear Laundry Detergent, Dropps Stain and Odor Detergent, and similar products can clean your dog’s bed, as well as his blankets, vests, sweaters, and fabric leashes and collars.

Washing the bed

If the bed or cover can be machine-washed in hot water with a pet-safe detergent, doing so will help disinfect it. If a cold-water wash is recommended, check your results and run the bed or cover through the washer a second time if necessary.

To hand-wash a dog bed, fill a large sink, tub, or wading pool with warm water and add 1/2 cup baking soda. Soak the bed for 30 minutes, then drain and refill with hot, warm, or cold water, add pet-friendly detergent, and actively press the bed into soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well, then squeeze (don’t wring) the bed to remove water without causing its stuffing to shift or clump. Drain excess water with your washer’s spin cycle or gently roll the bed in large towels and stand on them to release water. Spread the bed outdoors in the shade or indoors with a blowing fan until dry.

How often should you wash the bed?

Some health experts recommend vacuuming a dog bed once a week and washing it once a month, but your best guide will be its condition. When it’s dirty, muddy, or the site of spills or accidents, assemble your cleaning supplies.

Once the bed is dry, keep it spotless and fresh smelling. Frequently sprinkle it with baking soda, let it stand half an hour, then vacuum, or spay and wipe the bed with equal parts vinegar and warm water. Treat new stains as soon as they occur by spot cleaning with a dog-safe stain remover. If the bed’s cover is removable, protect its mattress with an inner liner.