How to Clean a Dog Bed

Sometimes, dog beds focus on form and comfort over human-friendliness. What we mean by that is they focus on your dog’s comfort (as they should), but don’t make it easy for you to clean it when it gets a little too stinky. You can’t always just stick it into the washer due to the size, nor can you always put it in your kitchen sink. So, how can you wash it without ruining the dog bed or ruining your patience? 

Why Clean My Dog’s Bed?

Even if it doesn’t stink and even if your dog is pretty clean, you still need to wash their bed regularly. No matter how little your dog sheds, or how little dirt they bring into the home, both will still make their way into the fabric of the bed and cause odors. Your dog will also likely drool on their bed and (if your dog is anything like some of our employees), will be “crop dusting” their bed frequently too. 

All of this means your dog’s bed is the perfect place for germs, bacteria, loose fur, and other unsightly things.

Convinced? Let’s get cleaning. 

Avoid Using These Chemicals! 

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.

  • Bleach
  • Chlorine
  • Fragrance additives
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE)
  • Phenols
  • Formaldehyde
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Pre-Treat Your Dog’s Bed

Before you add any water into the mix, you’ll want to give the bed a good vacuuming to remove any loose fur, fleas, or dirt. Shaking it out may work, but a good vacuum will get even the most ingrained pieces of fur. 

If the bed is particularly smelly, you may want to sprinkle it with baking soda and allow it to sit for an hour before vacuuming. Baking soda is a natural odor-neutralizer and won’t harm your dog

Pay extra attention to creases and nooks near the bed’s stitching. These are the hardest places to clean and often carry the most fur!

Remove Any Stains

Next, if your dog’s bed has any stains, you’ll want to remove those to the best of your abilities. It will be much harder to do once the bed is wet and regular washing may not remove stubborn stains.

We recommend using pet-friendly stain removers that don’t have any artificial fragrances. Do not use bleach or chlorine products! For most stains, you can’t go wrong with Resolve. If you want to use products in your home, you can try mild dish soap and warm water as well. 

Presoak (optional)

Depending on how dirty the bed is, you may want to presoak it too. Use hot water! The hotter the water is, the more efficient it will be at killing any bacteria. If your bed is small enough, you can always just toss it into the washing machine as well, though make sure you check the tag first! Not all dog beds are washing machine safe. 

Large beds can be soaked in a bathtub or, in a large machine at a local laundromat. You can also spot-treat any problem areas with a hot “pre-soak” instead. 

Wash in a Washing Machine

If your dog’s bed is small, you can place the entire bed into the washing machine. Use hot water! Add a mild, chemical-free washing detergent.


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 use the spin cycle on the bed twice to get rid of as much excess water as possible.Those suckers get heavy when wet and may cause slow drying if they’re excessively wet! 

Hand Washing Dog Beds

If your dog bed can’t go in the wash or is too large to fit, here’s what you do. Fill up your bathtub or sink with hot water and submerge it. You may have to do this in sections if the bed is too large for your sink. Add deterrent and scrub before you let it soak for at least 15 minutes. 

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 have to do this a couple of times to make sure it’s completely soap free. 

If you have a shower, this can help speed up the process! A showerhead makes a perfect rinsing tool for large dog beds. 

Once done, squeeze all of the water you can from the bed. 

Dry the Dog Bed

If the bed fits andis dryer-safe, place the bed in the tumble dryer. If it fits, a final spin in the tumble dryer will help to fluff and stuffing or foam filling.

If it’s not dryer safe, then placing it out in the sun on a drying rack or something similar to allow the water to drain will work just fine.