So you’ve just given your best doggy friend a lovely bath and now she smells gorgeous. But what about her bed? If your dog’s bed smells bad then you don’t want your lovely clean dog getting smelly again the next time she takes a nap!
When our dog’s bed smells, unfortunately, the house often smells of dog too, so I try to make an effort to keep it as clean as I can. Washing it in the machine is usually the answer, but I don’t always have time for that.
When I don’t have time to wash her bed or it needs a quick freshen up, I use a homemade dog bed deodorizer spray instead.
Why do dog beds often smell so bad?
If your dog’s bed and your dog are smelling really bad, the first thing you should do is to check with your vet. Your dog could have a health issue, such as a skin or ear infection that needs treating above all else.
If you are sure your dog is healthy, then there isn’t anything more you can do other than keep your dog and your dog’s bed clean. I recommend laundering your dog’s bed once per week.
But what if you don’t have time for that, or your dog’s bed just needs a freshen up?
To get your dog’s bed freshened up you can make your own homemade dog bed deodorizer spray with just water, distilled white vinegar, and a couple of drops of essential oil.
Read on for the details.
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Homemade dog bed deodorizer recipe
If you can’t wash your dog’s bed as often as you would like or you can’t wash it at all, I recommend this simple four-step approach which will get the bed smelling fresh again.
Step 1 – Vacuum
Start by giving your dog’s bed a thorough vacuum so that you can remove debris, dander and hair.
For removing hair from a dog bed I always use the turbo mini attachment of my Miele Cat and Dog vacuum cleaner because the small rotating brush attachment picks up dog hair brilliantly.
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I also recommend a pet hair roller because it is also great at grabbing onto hair. Then all you need do is open the back and tip the hair into the bin.
Step 2 – Deodorize with baking soda
(If your dog’s bed isn’t too smelly you can skip this step.)
If you can’t wash your dog’s bed or don’t have time, a very effective way at removing dog smell rather than masking it is to sprinkle it with baking soda or bicarbonate of soda.
Sprinkle the baking soda over the surface of the bed and leave it for thirty minutes or so. Then simply vacuum it off.
Step 3 – Spray with a homemade dog bed deodorizer spray
Now what I like to do is to make a simple spray using distilled white vinegar, water and a couple of drops of my favourite essential oil. Which happens to be lavender.
How to make homemade dog bed deodorizer spray:
- Add 1 part vinegar to 8 parts of water to a spray bottle.
- Add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil.
- Shake to mix.
- Spray on your dog’s bed and allow it to dry.
Step 4 – Air
Now let your dog’s bed air for a while. Direct sun will naturally sanitize it. So if you are lucky enough to have sunshine, lay the bed outside to air.
Now you have a lovely smelling dog bed again. But what about your dog? This is a great time to bath her. If it isn’t bath time yet, I recommend making up a bottle of some homemade dog spray.
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How to clean a large dog bed
Large dog beds sometimes don’t fit in the washing machine. For large beds, I recommend handwashing in the bathtub or taking the bed to the launderette. Laundrettes usually have industrial-sized machines which should be big enough to allow the bed to sufficiently agitate. The bed should get cleaned very well.
Wherever you choose to wash your dog’s bed I recommend adding in a cup of distilled white vinegar because it is fantastic at naturally neutralising odors.
How to clean the dog bed stuffing
If the stuffing of your dog’s bed is washable, you should be able to safely machine wash it along with the cover according to the care label.
When I wash my dog’s bed I put the whole bed in the wash with the cover on, otherwise, I find that I have dog hair clinging onto the inside too.
How to keep a dog bed clean
The best way to keep a dog bed clean is to vacuum it and wash it regularly.
I find it best to quickly vacuum my dog’s bed daily. That way there is always less hair and dander which tends to cause the most smell.
Once per week wash the whole bed if you can or at least the cover. Adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash is brilliant for neutralising smells on the bed. Avoid using too much laundry detergent as it can cause a build-up of detergent on the fabric which can make odors worse.
To make it easier to wash your bed I recommend getting an easy-care dog bed like this bamboo rectangle dog bed from Majestic Pet. It has a hard-wearing removable cover that doesn’t let hairs stick to it and the stuffing is washable too.
Frequently asked questions
Is Febreze safe for dog beds?
Febreze is safe to use on your dog’s bed or anywhere your dog sleeps. However, make sure that you allow the spray to dry before you let your dog near the sprayed area and never spray it directly on your dog. For a natural deodorizer, I recommend making your own dog bed deodorizer. See the recipe here. I also have a natural dog spray recipe here.
Can I laundry strip a dog bed?
Laundry stripping is usually done when you suspect there is a build-up of laundry detergent in the fabric. If you think that this is the case for your dog bed then laundry stripping could be your answer.
Laundry stripping is usually done with very hot water, which might not be suitable for your particular dog bed. Dog bed covers are often made of fleece. Fleece shouldn’t be washed at high temperatures because it can go stiff and lose its softness.
Here is my recommendation for laundry stripping your dog bed:
- Wash as normal adding one cup of distilled white vinegar.
- Rewash with of mixture of two parts of laundry detergent to one part borax and one part washing soda crystals.
- Wash at the highest temperature you can according to the care label on the bed.
- Dry thoroughly.