How to Deep Clean a Dog Bed + Tips to Keep it Clean!


Just like us, dogs deserve a nice bed to sleep in; one that’s comfortable, cosy and, of course, clean! Although many pet owners allow their dogs to sleep on the couch or with them in their bed, as much as your dog likes to cuddle with you, it’s only fair that they have their own bed to climb in and out of anytime they like. 

Now, here comes the tricky part; cleaning your dog’s bed needs to be more about deep cleaning than it is about surface cleaning. This is because germs pass through the outer material/cover and thrive within the bedding. What’s worse, flea larvae can also be hiding in the bed and will find their way back to your pet (and the cycle continues)! Hence, cleaning or washing dog beds must be done thoroughly or else, the whole purpose is defeated.

With that in mind, let’s get right to the information you came here for  – 1) how to deep clean a dog bed; and 2) crucial tips for keeping it clean a lot longer than usual! 

How to Clean a Removable Dog Bed Cover

Many types of doggy beds come with removable covers that keep most stains and dirt from getting to the actual bedding material. These are typically washable covers that you can clean in a washing machine with mild, non-toxic laundry detergent. You can find washing instructions or laundry symbols marked on the tag for more guidance when cleaning removable covers in a washer. 

On the other hand, a removable dog bed cover that cannot be machine-washed will have to be cleaned by hand. Although it is a longer process that requires more time and effort, hand-washing a dog bed cover can be done effectively in the following way:

    1. Vacuum the cover while it is over the bed to remove fur, dander, and other debris. You can also use a lint roller for this, however, vacuuming is more effective for a deeper clean.
    2. Fill up a shallow basin with warm water and add approximately 1/4 cup of baking soda. Stir up the water and soak the removable cover in the solution for 15 minutes (baking soda neutralises odours).
    3. For existing stains on the cover, use a non-toxic stain remover such as those which are made for baby clothes. Apply the product directly over the stain and spot clean using a clean towel. Rub gently to avoid damaging the fibres of the material.
    4. Rinse off the product before scrubbing the rest of the cover with a mild laundry cleaner and a fresh towel or soft-bristled scrub brush.
    5. Rinse off all the cleaning products used thoroughly before gently wringing the cover and hanging it to dry.

How to Clean a Dog Bed (Without a Cover)

Whether the doggy bed in question has a removable cover or not, the actual bedding will still require a deep clean to ensure that bacteria and any flea or tick larvae are killed. Moreover, drool and stains caused by damp mud, urine, etc. can penetrate the outer cover which leaves the “protected” bedding material dirty; therefore, a deep clean is a must.

Here is what you will need for thorough cleaning of your dog’s bed:

      • Vacuum cleaner to remove dog hair, dust, dirt, etc.
      • Enzyme cleaner to remove stains
      • Large tub or basin to accommodate the bed
      • Laundry detergent used for baby clothes 
      • Baking soda
      • Soft scrub brush
      • Clean towel
      • Toothbrush

Step-by-Step Process

Now, all you need to do is follow the simple steps below to clean and sanitise a dog bed without a removable cover.

Step One: Vacuum the Bed

Vacuuming a dog bed can be tricky because of tight spaces between the padding and/or seams. Therefore, it helps to use a vacuum head attachment that will aid in cleaning those hard-to-reach places. Be sure to vacuum the entire dog bed which includes the bottom and exteriors. If you find dog hairs entangled in the fibres of the material, use a brush to loosen them and vacuum over the bed once again. Brushing the dog bed is also a good idea for loosening up other debris which, in turn, helps to vacuum the material more thoroughly.

Step Two: Spot Clean Stains

Treating stains on a doggy bed is something that should be done before washing or soaking it as they need to be dealt with on a deeper level first. Often times, dog bed stains are left for too long and hence, really set in and cling to the material. To get rid of stains caused by pet pee, drool, dirty paws, wet mud, and other common types of stains found on a dog bed, spot clean them using an enzyme cleaner and clean towel. Follow the instructions on the bottle to effectively remove stains from doggy bedding before moving on to the next step. 

Step Three: Soak in Warm, Soapy Water

Much like a washing machine (without the tossing around), soaking your dog’s bed in warm, soapy water can kill bacteria and tackle dirt effectively. For this, you need a large basin/tub filled up enough to submerge the bedding and baby laundry detergent for a safe clean. The strength of the cleaning solution will depend on how dirty the dog bed is; if this is routine cleaning, use just enough detergent to make the water soapy. Soak the dog bed in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes; use your hands to press down on the bed every couple of minutes to push out dirt trapped within the stuffing/padding. If the water turns brown during this time, replace it with a fresh soapy solution and soak for an extra 5 minutes.

Step Four: Scrub the Bed with Baking Soda

Take the bed out of the basin, dip a damp scrub brush in some baking soda, and scrub every inch of the dog bed. The use of baking soda is perfect for getting rid of foul smells, as well as neutralising strong fragrances that are present in some laundry detergents. Furthermore, baking soda is known for its cleansing properties and is widely used in household cleaning. During this step, you may require to use a toothbrush to clean/scrub hard-to-reach spaces where flea larvae may be hiding. Be sure to rinse off the cleaning tool at intervals, and continue scrubbing until you have cleaned the dog bed inside and outside.

Step Five: Rinse Thoroughly

It is important to get out all traces of detergent (even when using mild or natural cleaners) as your dog may be allergic to certain ingredients that you are unaware of. The best way to do this is by using the basin/tub you washed the bedding in; however, it will require a couple of rinses until the cleaning solution is thoroughly removed from the dog bed. For best results, fill up the basin or tub, place the dog bed inside, and knead it to push out as much of the detergent as possible. Empty the basin, rinse it out and refill it with fresh water before repeating the process until the soapiness runs out. 

Step Six: Wring and Dry

After you’ve thoroughly rinsed the dog bed, squeeze different sections of the bedding to remove excess water. The more water you can squeeze out, the faster the bed will dry. Avoid excess wringing, however, as this may warp or damage the stuffing/padding. To dry a freshly cleaned dog bed, place it on a clean mat somewhere outdoors where it can air out and dry in indirect sunlight.

Tips to Keep a Dog Bed Clean

Routine cleaning of your dog’s bed is a must for many reasons including the health and hygiene of your pet and household members alike; however, it also helps to take a few measures that will keep the bed clean for longer periods and save you the trouble of deep cleaning the bedding more often than required. Use the tips below to maintain a clean and sanitary dog bed for your fur baby to sleep in:

      • Make it a habit to vacuum the dog bed when you vacuum your floors
      • Place the bedding in direct sunlight at least once a week to kill bacteria and remove stale odours
      • Sprinkle baking soda over the bed and leave for a few hours before vacuuming up the powder
      • Use a removable waterproof cover to protect the bedding from stains 
      • Bathe and groom your dog regularly to reduce pet hair in your home
      • Wash his/her paws immediately if they have gotten dirty from playing outside
      • Soak a wet wipe in a solution of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar; wipe down the bedding to sanitise the material and prevent flea larvae
      • Spot clean stains using warm water and a mild detergent

The cleanliness of where your pet dog sleeps is important for their own health and yours, too! Therefore, we strongly recommend deep cleaning your dog’s bed from time to time, and using the tips above to keep it clean for everyone’s benefit!

Karen Saunders


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here