How To Wash a Dog Bed With Stuffing? Washing Machine, by Hand, Easiest?

a large dog looking tired and resting in a soft dog bed at home

We love our pups and want them to feel as comfortable as possible, so we buy them nice dog beds. But even the most luxurious dog beds with stuffing won’t feel nice to lounge on if it’s smelly and covered in dirt. That’s why you need to clean your dog’s bed regularly – but how can you do it properly?

The easiest way to wash a dog bed with stuffing is to throw it in the washing machine and clean it using a delicate cycle. However, if the dog bed is not machine washable, or you don’t have a washing machine handy, handwashing is the next best strategy.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can properly wash your dog’s bed with a washing machine and by hand. We’ll also discuss how to choose the right detergent, how often you should clean your dog’s bedding, and how you can keep it clean in-between washes.

How To Wash a Dog Bed With Stuffing in the Washing Machine (Without The Dog Of Course!)

a puppy pug standing on his stuffed bed in a washing machine with door open

If your dog’s bed is machine washable, this is how you can wash it in the washing machine properly.

1. Remove Any Loose Dirt and Fur

First, remove any debris and fur from the bed’s surface. Otherwise, the lint build-up might clog up your washing machine.

You can do this by taking the bed outside and giving it a good shake. Afterward, take a lint roller to get to the debris in the tight spaces between the seams. Additionally, you can use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery nozzle to get to the nooks and crannies.

You should also check if the dog bed has a removable cover. If so, separate the bedding from its stuffing. This will help you clean the entire bed more thoroughly. 

2. Spot Clean Stains

Notice any stains on the bedding? Oftentimes, stains have been left for too long and have really set into the cloth. If so, a regular wash cycle wouldn’t cut it – you will have to spot clean them first. We recommend using an enzyme cleaner and a clean washcloth to remove any stubborn stains on your dog’s bedding.

I personally recommend using Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator from this for the job. This enzyme-activated spray is extremely easy to use and will remove even the most stubborn stains. It’s also chlorine-free, gentle, and safe for pets and children.

Pro Tip: If the bed is also smelly, sprinkle baking soda on it and leave it for 5-10 minutes before vacuuming. The baking soda will help neutralize that stubborn, funky odor.

3. Wash Bed According to the Label

Next, read the manufacturer’s label and wash the bed accordingly. If the tag is missing, don’t worry. A good rule of thumb is to use hot water (140°F or 60°C) and put it on a gentle cycle. Don’t forget to use a small amount of mild or pet-safe laundry detergent.

If you have any other pet-related laundry, such as pet clothes and blankets, you can also throw them in the machine.

4. Add an Extra Rinse Cycle

After the first wash cycle is completed, run the bed through an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the detergent is washed away from the fabric. 

Your pup’s sense of smell is far more sensitive than our own, and even though we may not notice any lingering detergent, your pup will. This can irritate your pup’s nose and even their skin, so a second rinse cycle ensures they’ll love their freshly-washed bed just as much as they did when it was new.

5. Dry on Low Heat

After rinsing the bed thoroughly, it’s time to dry the dog bed with stuffing! Make sure to dry it on the lowest setting to avoid damaging the fabric.

Stay away from dryer sheets during this process. Dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals that can irritate your dog’s skin and digestive system. You can use a clean washcloth dampened with white or apple cider vinegar instead.

Alternatively, you can use wool dryer balls, such as the Ecoigy Organic Wool Dryer Balls from These wool dryer balls don’t just combat static cling and shorten the drying process – they’re also reusable, non-toxic, and safe for your pets.

6. Fluff the Stuffing

Once the bed cover and stuffing are completely dry, it’s time to fluff up the bed. Take the bed padding and run your finger through it. After it’s been fluffed up, gently shove it into the cover and adjust as needed.

If the cover isn’t removable, simply move the padding around as best as possible. Fill up the sides and areas flattened by the washing process.

This step is often overlooked, but your pup will thank you for the soft and fluffy bed!

How To Hand Wash a Dog Bed With Stuffing

Not every dog bed is machine washable, and not everyone has access to a washing machine. But don’t worry, you can still manually wash your pup’s bed. The steps are quite similar to the ones listed above, albeit with a few key differences.

Here’s a list of instructions on how to hand wash a dog bed with stuffing:

  1. Remove any debris on the bedding using a vacuum cleaner or a lint roller. This is because they might make a huge mess if not removed before being soaked in the water.
  2. Separate the bedding and the padding, if possible. Just like before, this will help you deep-clean the bed. Don’t worry if they cannot be separated – you can still clean the bed properly by following these instructions.
  3. Clean stubborn stains with an enzyme cleaner before washing.
  4. Soak the bed in hot, soapy water for 15-30 minutes. Much like throwing the bed in a washing cycle, soaking it in hot water can also help kill germs, remove dirt, and tackle any lingering odors. 
  5. If the water turns murky after the soak, replace the water and soak the bed for an extra 5-10 minutes.
  6. Take the bed out of the water and start scrubbing it with a scrub brush and detergent. Alternatively, you can clean it with baking soda and an old toothbrush as well.
  7. Rinse the bed thoroughly using warm water. Then, squeeze out as much water as possible. Repeat this process until the water becomes clear and no longer soapy. This will ensure no irritating or harmful residues remain on the fabric.
  8. Dry the bed outdoors or under direct sunlight. Make sure the bed is completely dry to prevent mold and bacteria from growing on the fabric.
  9. Fluff the stuffing to ensure your dog gets a soft and comfortable bed.

What Should I Wash My Dog’s Bed With?

You should wash your dog’s bed with pet-safe or mild laundry detergent. Baby laundry detergents are also generally gentle enough for dog beddings. Avoid using any detergent that contains harsh and toxic chemicals as it may irritate or even harm your pup. 

Here’s a list of harsh chemicals that you should avoid:

  • Chlorine
  • Bleach
  • Fragrance and dye additives
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE)
  • Phenols
  • Phthalates
  • Diethanolamine

It’s also recommended to avoid using laundry detergent pods to wash your dog’s bed. Even though their concentrated formula can help deep clean the bedding, they’re typically too harsh and may irritate your pup’s skin. 

Furthermore, you should stay away from fabric softeners and dryer sheets as they contain cationic. This chemical is extremely harmful to the digestive system and the skin. It can cause excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, chemical burns, reluctance, and even seizures in dogs.

How Often Should I Wash a Dog Bed?

According to experts, you should wash a dog bed at least once a week or every two weeks to keep it free of fleas, dirt, bacteria, and dander. However, if your dog is fairly active or spends plenty of time outdoors, you may need to clean its bed more often.

Even if it looks and smells fine, your dog’s bed may harbor harmful microbes and parasites that can threaten your dog and family’s well-being. According to the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), a dog’s bedding may be covered with molds, yeasts, ringworms, hookworms, Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. Coli, and more. Some of these organisms can live without a host for up to 12 months.

That’s why you shouldn’t skip washing your dog’s bedding. Routinely cleaning your dog’s bed will maintain your and your pup’s health and safety.

Additional Tips To Keep a Dog Bed Clean

Cleaning your dog’s bed regularly is a must to maintain the health of your pup and your household members. However, aside from regular washes, you can also take other measures to keep the bed clean for longer.

Here are some additional tips to keep a dog bed cleaner and more hygienic between washes:

  • Remove fur and dust regularly using a vacuum cleaner or a lint roller.
  • Place the bed under direct sunlight at least once a week to kill bacteria.
  • Apply steam once a week to kill any germs, fleas, and other parasites.
  • Cover the mattress using a waterproof bed cover to protect it from dirt and stains.
  • Use a clean cloth dipped in a water and vinegar mixture to combat stains and odor.
  • Bathe and groom your dog regularly.
  • Clean your dog’s paws after it spends time outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Since your furry friend spends much of its days resting, you must keep its bed clean to ensure its comfort and health. 

Although it may seem simple, some pet owners are unsure about how to wash a dog bed with stuffing. The easiest way is to separate the cover and stuffing before putting them in a gentle cycle. However, if you don’t have access to a washing machine, hand-washing is always a good option!

No matter which option you choose, make sure to use a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly to avoid irritating your pup’s skin.

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