ABCs of CLEANING DOG BEDS
We all love our dogs, but we enjoy their company even more when they smell fresh! Greyhound owners are lucky in this department, as our hounds don’t usually have the doggy-smell problems that some dogs have. Nevertheless, washing dog bedding and the dog’s accessories helps to keep your home hygienic. Believe it or not, your dog has the potential to harbor some nasty germs and bacteria, so cleaning his bed regularly and thoroughly is important. Read on to find out how to make dog bed cleaning an easy addition to your housework schedule.
A = EASIEST
Regular dog bed cleaning is quick and easy for machine washable items so make this one of your priorities when you’re choosing your dog’s bedding! When you're shopping for a dog bed, it's best to choose one with a removable, washable cover. This will prevent a lot of hassle down the road. You can simply remove the cover and throw it in the washing machine. When washing a dog bed cover, put it in a separate load by itself. Follow the washing instructions exactly. If you cannot find instructions on the bed's tag, look on the company's website.
If you already have dog beds and don’t want to invest in new ones, you could cover them with an old sheet or blanket. Then just take that off and throw it in the washer. You can also buy dog bed covers, where you supply the filling (old clothes, pillows, or dog bed).
One elegant solution is the Wash ‘n Zip Pet Bed. There is no filling – the entire bed unzips into a blanket that you can throw in the home washing machine – even the Extra Large size! Find it here https://bit.ly/W-n-Z
B = NEXT BEST THING
Some dog beds are made for the entire thing to be machine-washed. Begin by vacuuming the dog’s bed thoroughly to remove dog hairs. This will make washing dog bedding much easier and more effective.
Again, follow the label or check the company’s website for instructions. Pre-treat the stains with a laundry stain remover. Place the whole bed (if it’s machine washable), or the removable outer layer, straight into the washing machine, along with any dog’s blankets. Generally, you can safely wash them on the hottest water setting (or 140 degrees F if you can set the temperature). This should kill all bacteria and pathogens. Same with dog bed covers. And for pets with sensitive skin, opt for a natural detergent and an extra rinse cycle. The covers can go in the dryer as well, but do not machine dry dog beds with filling. The fill material could become lumpy and displaced in the dryer. Hang it up to air dry naturally.
C = HAND WASHING
If your dog’s bedding is not machine washable, vacuum and pre-treat stains before filling the bath with warm water. Add a detergent designed for handwashing according to the dose specified on the packaging. Pet stores carry special pet bedding detergent if you prefer. Submerge the dog bed fully, making sure the inner stuffing is fully saturated. Leave it to soak for 10 minutes, before swishing it around and scrubbing any problem areas with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse the bed thoroughly in cool water, ensuring that all of the detergent has been removed. Squeeze out the excess water.
Alternately, you can use ½ cup vinegar and add it to a tub of hot water. Soak the dog bedding in it for 15 to 30 minutes. If you want, you can add a mild detergent to this mixture too. Rinse the bedding with water and remove all the soapy water from it. Dry as instructed on the manufacturer’s care instructions. If in doubt, air dry. Even better, if you can dry it in the sun, do that.
On another note, if you dog has peed or pooped on/in the bed and it is not machine washable, you might want to just toss it. Without enzyme cleaners, it will be very hard to thoroughly clean the stuffing.
HOW OFTEN DO DOG BEDS NEED CLEANING?
When determining how often to wash your dog’s bedding, you should consider your pet’s activity level, how much they shed, the amount of time they spend outdoors and if they (or you) have allergies. If those factors are high, you may want to increase the number of washings to weekly or twice a month. The longer you go between washes, the harder it will be for your washing machine to remove all the potential pathogens from the bedding.
OH NO! FLEAS!
Vacuuming regularly is also one of the best ways to prevent a parasite outbreak. Fleas, ticks, worms and other parasites can live in the environment for days. Regular vacuuming will help to get rid of eggs, larvae and parasites that fall off your dog.
If your dog does have fleas, it’s important to not only treat your dog but wash and disinfect everything he has come in contact with. Your veterinarian can help with treating the dog, but it is equally necessary that you properly clean your dog's bedding and clothing so that these insects don't come back. Fleas love to live in places where they can hide easily such as clothing, upholstery, blankets, and different types of fabrics. Here are some tips to wash dog bedding infested with fleas:
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck all the fleas from the bedding. Make sure that you empty the vacuum's tank or bag as soon as possible or else there is a chance that the fleas will spread everywhere.
- If the bedding is machine washable, the mechanical action and the hot water in the washing machine would definitely dislodge the fleas from the bedding and send them down the drain. The flea adults, eggs, larvae and pupae would not survive through the heat of the laundering & drying process.
- If the bedding is not machine washable, soak the bedding in boiling water in a bathtub for maximum 5 minutes to kill all the eggs and larvae of fleas. Don't leave the bedding for longer or else the filling of the bedding could be damaged.
- Rinse in cool water and squeeze the bedding and let it dry in sunlight if possible.
- Check for fleas burrowed inside the bedding seams and hidden areas, just in case. If you find any, get rid of them immediately. However, the chances are that they all have been killed due to the hot water.
TIPS TO KEEP DOG BEDS CLEAN LONGER
Regular surface cleaning can keep the dog bed clean for a longer period:
- Make it a regular habit to vacuum the dog bed when you vacuum the floors in your house.
- Let the sunlight do its bacteria-killing magic. Put the bed in the spot where direct sunlight hits at least once a week to kill bacteria and remove that stale smell.
- Sprinkle some baking soda over the bed or on the bed cover if you use that and leave it in for an hour before you vacuum the powder.
- Cover the mattress or bedding with a removable waterproof cover if your dog will tolerate it. It will protect the bedding from stains.
- Clean bedding can only be maintained with a clean dog. Regularly bathe and groom your dog to reduce the amount of hair in your home.
- Wash any messy paws as soon as you reach home after an outdoor walk.
- Spot clean any stains using warm water with a mild detergent.
The cleanliness of your dog’s bed is crucial for their health and yours, too! Therefore, you will want to deep clean your dog bedding from time to time. Use the tips above to help it stay clean longer. Both you and your dog can relax now that you know how to wash dog bedding and blankets!