How to Clean an Extra-Smelly Dog Bed

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    When the odor overpowers, it is time for some serious cleaning.

    When the odor overpowers, it is time for some serious cleaning.

    BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    Your pooch may not have a problem curling up on his bed when it is stinky, but when the smell takes over the room, it's past time for a good cleaning. Whether the bed's extra-smelly because the dog loves to romp in the wet, or has soiled his bed, or is suffering from a yeast infection that causes odor, you can make sure it's suitable for your home and not for the garbage dump.

    Full Cleaning

    Step 1

    Read the cleaning directions on your dog bed. How you clean your dog's bed will depend on the type of bed you have. If your dog bed has a removable cover, remove the cover and set the inside section aside.

    Step 2

    Follow the directions on the dog bed label for washing the cover. If the cover is machine-washable, place it in the washer with a mild detergent. For a super-stinky dog bed, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. For washing by hand, place the cover in a bathtub with warm water, mild detergent and the apple cider vinegar. Rinse thoroughly. Dry the cover following the label directions. If the cover must air-dry, set the cover in a warm, sunny location to dry. Move on to cleaning the inner bed.

    Step 3

    Clean the inner part of the bed according to what the bed is made of. For foam cushion beds, fill the bathtub with water. Add a small amount of laundry soap and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Place the foam pad into the water, making sure it is covered. With your hands, work the soap into the foam, cleaning any soiled areas. Let the foam soak in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain out the soapy water while squeezing out the foam. Fill the tub with clean water, submerge the foam and rinse out all the soap. Drain the water again, squeezing out as much water from the foam as you can. Place the foam outside in a sunny location to dry. Follow this cleaning method for pillowlike beds without removable covers. For cedar beds, wash the cover on a regular basis and replace the cedar chips as necessary few months.

    Keeping Fresh

    Step 1

    Cover your dog’s bed with a blanket. The blanket protects the dog bed surface and allows for easier cleaning. Simply remove the blanket for washing regularly, replacing it with a fresh blanket.

    Step 2

    Wipe down your dog’s bed on a daily basis with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. Fill a small bowl with 4 cups of water. Add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Dunk a soft towel into the mixture and wipe down the surface of the dog bed.

    Step 3

    Sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the dog bed. With your hands, work the baking soda into the fabric. Let it sit for an hour or so before taking the bed outside for a good shaking.

    Items You Will Need

    • Mild laundry detergent
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Washing machine
    • Bathtub
    • Baking soda
    • Towel
    • Blankets


    • To reduce dog odor on your dog, sprinkle a little baking soda on your dog’s coat. Work it in with your hands and allow him to shake off the excess.


    • Follow label directions. Drying in a dryer material that should be air-dried may cause shrinking.
    • Do not use a brush on foam pads to remove stains. This can damage the foam.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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