We have two dogs and nine dog beds. I’m not joking. Every room in the house has at least one. And yes, they are all used. But having that many means, when it comes time to wash dog beds, it takes a while…

So, you ask, how often do we wash those beds? It might be more often that you think.

And how do we do it?

How Often Should You Wash Those Beds?

At first glance, you might not think your dog’s bed is super dirty. Maybe a little fur, a few specs of dirt, no big deal. But what the naked eye can’t see builds up – and it builds up quick.

According to research done at the University of Arizona, dog beds are one of the top 10 germiest spots in the house.

They’re a veritable petri dish of gross…

  • dirt
  • pollen
  • dead skin cells
  • bugs
  • fungi
  • MRSA
  • fecal matter
  • thousands of other germs… salmonella, ringworm, listeria…

Ummm, yuck!

In our house, we try to wash dog beds every 1-2 weeks. And while that’s a good benchmark, how often you wash your pet’s bed can be based on a few different factors:

  1. The activities your dog gets into: does he romp in the woods, roll around in the backyard, in the dirt, or roughhouse with other dogs at daycare or the dog park?
  2. What does your dog do on his bed? Is he just sleepy on it? Does he drool on it a lot? Does he takes treats and eat them on his bed?
  3. Does he have allergies or a skin condition? While dirt can be great for your dog’s skin microbiome, the dead skin cells or other harmful parasites are not, so it’s good to help keep beds clean to help the body heal.

You can also just use your common sense: if your dog’s bed smells, if he has been on a particularly dirty walk and transferred that dirt to its bed, or he’s eaten a raw bone and gotten the mess all over, wash the bed.

[RELATED] When you wash that bed, just be careful of those chemicals found in common cleaning products – including laundry detergent).

How to Wash Dog Beds

Depending on the type of bed your dog has, washing instructions vary. We recommend checking those before you do anything. What you can and can’t do with the bed will depend on the type of bed, the filling, and if the cover can be removed. You want to get rid of the dirt and bacteria – not ruin the bed!

First things first: Remember, either use natural, pet-safe detergents or skip the laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and fabric sheets completely. You dog doesn’t care if his bed smells like fresh linen or the mountains. In fact, with all of the chemicals, we can guarantee he’d rather it didn’t. Even if you use natural detergent, an additional rise is helpful to make sure all the detergent is rinsed out. And if you don’t have natural detergent, hot, hot water will do the trick here – don’t add more harmful chemicals to the mix.

  • If you have a bed with a removable cover, simply remove that cover and wash it in the washing machine with hot water.
  • If it doesn’t have a removable cover, but fits in the washer, go at it!
  • If it doesn’t have a removable cover, and doesn’t fit in your washing machine, try the laundromat or the bathtub. Fill your bathtub with hot, hot water and let it soak.
  • If the bed isn’t machine washable,a good soak in hot, hot water is another good option – again, the bathtub is a great option here.
  • Air-drying is best for dog beds. This ensures they won’t shrink. If that’s not an option, use a low-heat setting.
  • If you can’t wash the inside cushion, create a lining with an old sheet (that you can wash) to provide an extra layer of protection.
  • In between washes, a vacuum of your dog’s’ bed will collect any loose hair and dirt.

Our pets get dirty, that’s just the way it is. And they should! It often means they’re enjoying life, living it to the fullest. But we also don’t want that fun and enjoyment to be hazardous to their health. Whether you wash dog beds once a week or once a month, make sure it gets done. The build up isn’t good for anyone. Here’s to a clean and cozy sleep!