How to Sanitize a Dog Bed: Everything You Need to Know

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Is there anything more endearing to watch than our four-pawed angels curled up in their beds and sleeping without a care in the world? I doubt it.

But these cute pooches with innocent eyes aren’t that innocent after all. 

They love to roll in the grass and collect dirt and germs on their bodies before they reach their bed. 

Unlike many humans, they don’t obsess about cleaning.

But it is necessary to keep the dog bed clean, or else it will become a breeding ground of bacteria and fleas, adversely affecting the dog’s health.

Naturally, like all other things in the dog care regime, cleaning the dog bed also falls in our department.

However, this task can be tricky, especially when the dog bed doesn’t come with a removable cover.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to easily sanitize a dog bed at home.

Related: The Best Outdoor Dog Beds

Step 1: Remove dog hair, dirt, and other debris

Sanitizing dog beds

Shake the bed to remove the loose dirt collected on the sleeping surface of the bed and use a lint roller to remove the dog hairs.

If the small dirt is too stubborn to come off even after a good shake, take a stick to beat the bed back and forth, and all the suspended dirt will be removed easily. 

It is advised to do this task outdoors unless you want to make your floor dirty and add more burden of cleaning on your shoulders.

Next, with the help of a vacuum cleaner, deeply clean even the minute particles resting on the surface.

Usually, a lot of dirt and even small insects find a home in the seam and fold of the bed, so carefully move the vacuum hose to clean such areas or use a crevice tool for thorough cleaning.

You might find some dried-out mud that your dog brought to its own bed after a stroll to the park, which is hard to vacuum.

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To treat such marks, place damp paper towels over the stains for 10-15 mins. Once the mud is softened, wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Step 2: Clean Stains and Spots

If your dog bedding has some stains, then give it a pat and an extra treat because these little rascals mark their territory by leaving stains on the entire dog bed.

To treat the light spots, use chlorine-free bleaching agents such as baking soda and white vinegar.

If not appropriately rinsed, the chemicals in the stain remover can be harmful to the dog, so remember to run the bed through an extra rinse cycle before washing it.

If you think that the dog’s bed is infected with pests and fleas, soak the bed in warm water and vinegar.

Allow the bed to sit in the water for three to five minutes to kill the pests and dog lice.

Do not leave the bed in boiling water for more than five minutes as it might damage the foam filling inside.

Step 3: Cleaning the Cover

Cleaning the dog bed cover

Some dog beds come with removable covers, while others do not.

If your pet’s mattress has no removable cover, you can skip this step and proceed with step 4.

However, if your dog’s bed has a cover, remove and wash it first before cleaning the entire bed.

Generally, all the beds come with washing instructions attached with the tag.

Check whether the cover can be machine washed or not. If yes, clean the liner in warm water or cold water (as per the instructions on the tag) and use pet-safe detergent.

Consult a veterinarian before picking any laundry detergent if your dog has sensitive skin.

Finally, dry the cover as per the washing instructions. Do not fold the cover as it would increase the drying time and keep the dryer’s setting to normal.

Step 4: Cleaning the cushion

If the entire dog bed is fully machine washable, follow the instructions and wash the cushion in the washing machine with water and mild detergent.

However, if the dog bed is large and not machine washable, either take it to the laundromat or hand wash it at home.

Soak the Bed

First, to disinfect the cushion, you need to soak it in hot water for two to five minutes.

Hot water will kill bacteria, insects, and fleas in the bed that can be very harmful to your dog’s health.

Make sure to not let the bed rest in hot water for a longer duration as it will melt the foam filling.

Next, let the water cool down but if it takes more than the required time, take it out and soak it in a basin or tub filled with warm soapy water.

Agitate the Cushion

After soaking, gently agitate the cushion with your hands like you wash your clothes.

Squeeze the bed into the water so that the dirt settled on it will come upon the surface.

Thoroughly clean all the corners of the bed. Keep agitating the cushion until all the dirt loosens and leaves the bed surface.

Related: Best Dog Beds for Large Dogs

Rinse out the Cushion

Pull out the cushion from dirty water and again fill the tub with fresh and warm water.

Now remove laundry detergent from the cushion and ensure that no soap residue is left in the cushion that might irritate or harm the dog.

Next, wring out the cushion and remove excess water. You won’t be able to remove all the water altogether but wring it until the cushion is damp with no water dripping from it. 

Dry the Bed

Keep the cushion on the drying rack and let it dry out completely. It might take some time for the cushion to completely dry out because of the filling.

Firmly press the cushion where it is the thickest, and if it still expels some water, that means the cushion needs more time to dry.

Use a blow dryer on low heat to dry the corners of your pet’s bed.

Step 5: Reassemble the Dog Bed

Reassemble the dog bed after sanitizing it

Finally, when the cushion and bed are completely dry, fluff the cushion with your hands and cover it with the liner.

Before letting the dog jump on the bed, make sure the dog has no traces of mud or any other dirt on your clean dog bed.

Otherwise, it will break your heart to see your hard work go down the drain.

However, we should keep in mind that dogs are not cleanliness lovers like we humans are, so they will end up getting their bed dirty time and again.

If the bed has a removable cover, then you can simply wash it once or twice a week, and if the dog bed cover is not present, then make sure it is cleaned weekly.

Related: K9 Ballistics Tough Orthopedic Dog Bed Review

Key takeaway

Do not use strongly scented detergents to clean a dog bed because dogs have a heightened sense of smell, and the scent can irritate them. 

If you’re concerned about pet odors, then even without using detergents with fragrance, the pet odor will go away in the washing process.

However, if the odor is strong, you should prefer a pet-friendly spray with no chemicals.

And that’s how to sanitize a dog bed!


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