How to Clean a Dog’s Bed – Removing Stains and Odors

Picture of a small dog in bed

No trip to PetSmart is complete without at least taking a walk down the dog bed aisle. For most owners that little stroll usually ends up in the purchase of a new comfy abode where Fido or Fifi can lay their head in luxury and style. Yet dog beds quickly accumulate things that not only mar their appearance, they also leave them smelling less than April fresh. From accumulated dog hair to dirt from paws, bugs, urine stains, dried drool, and much, much more, your dog’s bed is a magnet for things that can only be removed through a thorough cleaning. Yet some dog beds are harder to clean than others; especially those whose covers do not remove. If your dog’s bed is looking and smelling far less than optimal, what can you do to remove those stains and odors?

What are the Most Effective Ways to Remove Stains and Odors from Dog Beds?

Dog beds are similar to our own bedding and mattresses in that they need frequent refreshing to enjoy long life and a clean looking and smelling surface. There are several different approaches you can take to keep Fido’s bed as fresh as a fragrant spring day. These include:

  • Regular vacuuming

Pet hair, dander, and even items your dog drags in on their coat and paws easily find a home inside your dog’s bed. Thankfully, it is quite easy to remove these items by vacuuming on a regular basis. To ensure your cleaning results in a bed that is as clean as possible, it is recommended that you purchase a vacuum equipped with a HEPA or hypoallergenic filter. These filters trap molecules which can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people, keeping them contained to the vacuum canister, and thus, out of the air.

Many different companies also manufacture vacuums designed specifically for use in homes with pets. These vacuums are often equipped with specific nozzles and attachments to combat stubbornly sticky dog hair and other items.

  • Efficient stain removal

The longer a stain is allowed to set on the fabric of a dog bed, the harder that stain will be to remove. For this reason, it is recommended that all stains be treated when they are still fresh.

The best approach to eliminating dog bed stains is natural cleaners. Natural cleaners designed for use on items for pets contain ingredients which are safe for use around dogs and cats and that will not cause any allergic reactions to your pet’s skin or paw pads.

Different types of stains require slightly different approaches to eradicate them completely. If your dog has come in and plopped down on his bed with muddy paws, it is best to allow the mud to dry before attempting any stain removal. The dried dirt can be vacuumed or wiped off with a soft cloth. If necessary, you can use an enzymatic cleaner to lift any remaining dirt and refresh the fabric. It is far more difficult to remove fresh wet mud than dirt that is dry. You may inadvertently end up smearing the mud deeper into the fabric, thus making your cleaning job that much more challenging.

Urine stains can be very difficult to remove. They have a pungent odor that will permeate the entire room if not treated with the correct cleaner. Before attempting to eliminate urine staining, it is important to use an old towel to dry up any urine moisture contained in the dog bed. You can create a homemade cleaner by combining 2 cups of vinegar with 2 cups of warm water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle for easy and liberal application, or you can purchase a powerful enzymatic cleaner such as Odoban, a product that is available for purchase at most hardware stores.

If you opt to create your own homemade cleaner, you will need to spray the mixture on the surface of the stain. If the stain has set, you will need to add an additional layer of baking soda on top of the affected area. The spray will need up to ten minutes to permeate the spot at which time it can be carefully blotted with a soft, dry cloth.

On occasion, dogs will vomit on their beds. Vomit is an acidic compound, and thus, requires a special approach to cleaning. Experts recommend making use of a sponge to apply a mixture comprised of 2 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of Dawn dish soap, and ½ cup of vinegar. The process for removal is quite simple. Blot the vomit stain with the mixture then make use of a clean cloth to wipe any remaining residue and odor away. For particularly stubborn vomit stains, you can use a solution of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap accompanied by a generous sprinkling of baking soda.

  • Frequent laundering

For dog beds with removable covers, regular laundering is a breeze. Simply unzip the zipper, remove the casing, toss in the washer, and in no time, you’ll have a dog bed that looks and smells as good as new. However, dog beds that don’t have covers that can be taken off can be more challenging to launder. Spot cleaning may be the best option for these types of beds. For dog beds without removable covers, it is a good idea to purchase inexpensive varieties, so that they can be disposed of and replaced without a tremendous financial loss when they become soiled beyond repair.

If you’ve found a premium pet bed Fido can’t live without but it doesn’t have a removable cover, it is possible that you still may be able to clean it. The most effective means to remove stains and odors from dog beds of one piece is to fill your bathtub with some water mixed with detergent. Submerge the bed in the soapy solution and gently scrub. Replace the dirty water with clean for a rinse cycle. Be certain to remove all traces of soap as it can irritate your dog’s skin.

Since fleas and ticks like to take up residence in dog bedding, it is recommended that after laundering all pet beds be treated to a high heat cycle in the dryer for a minimum of ten minutes.

  • Improving smell

There are several different products on the market today that are highly effective at restoring pet bedding to smelling like something far more appealing to your nose. Carpet cleaners do an excellent job of refreshing fabrics and work well on dog beds. They are available in several different fragrances and are safe for use on pet bedding.

Sprays such as Febreze improve the fragrance of a bed, but an enzymatic cleaner like Odoban or Lysol is also effective at killing lingering germs and bacteria. If you prefer to go the natural route, you can make a homemade dog bed spray by combining 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 cup of water, and several drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle.

Thinking Fido’s dog bed could use a makeover? Follow our top tips to help get your dog’s fave place to lay looking and smelling like new again!



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