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How to wash a cat bed

A blackish gray cat resting on a white fur wooden cat bed with its right paw outside.

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Your precious furry friends love their beds! The hardest part is getting them out of it long enough to wash, clean the bed cover, the foam or pad insert, and the area where the bed is normally placed—then it is easy to clean the cat bed!

Please note: If you’re wondering how to clean a cat bed, this includes not using perfumes, air fragrances, scented cleaners, essential oils or ammonia. Cats are very sensitive and many products (both natural and man-made) with a strong scent are deterrents. Use products according to use instructions.

The cover

The kitty bed might have a cover with a foam or padding interior. Start with cleaning the removable cover and take it step by step:

  • Sprinkling baking soda on the cover can help remove odors according to online sources. Wait 15 minutes.
  • Vacuum the cover to remove loose dirt, sand and hair; then take the bed outside.
  • Shake vigorously to loosen additional dirt and hair.
  • Lint remover is next. Roll all over the cat bed (and yourself as well while you work).
  • Throw the cover in the dryer on low for 10 minutes to continue to remove the dirt, grime and hair.
  • Pre-cleaning is a must. Spot-clean any urine stains or dark areas from use or from your cat’s paws. Be sure to use a cleaner that is intended for this purpose. Follow instructions on the product label.
  • Run the washing machine for two full wash cycles. Wash the cat bed cover on its own with hot water for a full cycle using an unscented and dye-free detergent like all® free clear and fabric softener if desired.
  • Odors. Add a cup of vinegar to the washer whenever you clean the cat bed cover to help remove extra odors
  • Put in the dryer and/or hang up in the sun.

The mattress

Prep the mattress pad the same way as above: Vacuum, shake, remove dirt and hair with a lint brush, put in the dryer on low heat for 10 minutes, pre-clean with spot remover according to label directions.

  • Use a rubber glove to pick off any large clumps of hair or dirt.
  • Put only the pad in the washing machine on warm or cool for 1–2 full cycles with a cup of vinegar. If the bed pad is too big for the washer, soak and wash it in the bathtub and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
  • Air dry the mattress, preferably outside in the sun or in a warm, sunny spot in your home. Place where animals will not get on it. Do not put it in the dryer.
  • Reassemble the cover and pad once both are completely dry.

The cat bed environment

  • This is an important part of how to wash a cat bed. While the cover and pad are drying, thoroughly clean and the area where you usually keep the bed. Again, use product according to directions
  • With a sponge, do any spot cleaning if there are stains on the carpet near where the bed is usually located.

We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to wash a cat bed. Don’t forget to check out our other cleaning tips including how to remove pet hair easily.

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