How To Clean A Dog Bed Without a Washing Machine

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For many pet owners cleaning a dog bed in the washing machine is a simple solution. But for various reasons you may not want or be able to use that option – so is there another way to clean your pet’s bed? I wondered if my steamer cleaner could do the job, so I tried it out.

The best alternative to cleaning a dog bed in the washing machine is with handheld steam cleaners. It removes all of the pet odors, urine stains, and other dirt in a matter of minutes without having any harmful chemicals that could be hazardous for their health.

Many people need to wash pet accessories however they don’t like to use their washing machine. So what’s the best alternative, a steam cleaner or a washing machine dedicated to your animals.

Your pets are family, so you want to ensure that their beds stay clean. But it’s not always easy with a dog. Well luckily for pet owners who don’t like using the washing machine for their dog’s bed, there is an affordable alternative: A handheld steam cleaner.

Why Not Simply Use the Washing Machine?

There are many reasons to switch to steam cleaning and stop using your washing machine to clean your dog bed, here’s why.   

Many washing machines won’t accommodate the size of your dog bed.  Secondly, even if your dog bed could fit into your washing machine, be hesitant to wash animals’ bedding in the same unit as your clothes or bed sheets.

As dog beds could contain urine stains, dander, fur, and other possible contaminants, which may affect your or your family’s health.

Picture of a dog in a washing machine.

Should I Anticipate Any Extra Costs?

Investing in a powerful steam cleaner is key to effectively removing and tackling stains embedded into the material but any handheld steam cleaner will work to wash your dog’s bed.

Baking soda and vinegar can be used to assist with any stains removal (Remember to check with your local vets before cleaning with products that may affect your animal’s health).  

Most importantly, the steam cleaner will act instead of the washing machine.

Purchasing a steam cleaner with a built-in suction system will help remove dirty water and shorten the time process but isn’t necessary.   

Let’s take a look at the steps to cleaning your dog bed without a washing machine!

Step-by-step guide: Dog bed cleaning process with a handheld steam cleaner

Step 1: Vacuum the Bed Thoroughly  

Using your standard household vacuum cleaner, vacuum over your dog bed thoroughly.   

If the bed has sides and cushions that can be removed, be sure to cover any nook or cranny that can be reached.  

A good once-over with a vacuum is a great way to remove unhatched flea eggs, hair, insects, and danger, and is a great first step in the cleaning.  

Some vacuums will even offer special attachments that can be very helpful – look for items described to “add suction power”, which will help with vacuuming dog hair.  

Step 2: Steam Cleaning   

Starting from any flat surface of the dog bed, slowly go over every inch of the dog bed with the steam cleaner thoroughly. Steam cleaners blast steam from the end into whatever you are cleaning, so don’t worry about turning your dog’s bed over.  

Steam cleaning is a chemical-free process so can be repeated as long as needed until happy with the outcome without affecting the dog bed’s material or coloring.   

Step 3: Repeat the Vacuum step  

When completing the steam cleaning step, you will immediately notice a difference in the material’s appearance, and smell, and its condition will be revitalized.   

Steam cleaning, using water vapors loosens stains but doesn’t remove them.  

Repeating the vacuuming step helps to remove any stain particles left on the material’s outer surface.   

Step 4: Drying   

After you are satisfied with the steam clean, let the dog bed dry; you might opt to use your drying machine, but air-drying the dog bed is the recommended option, if possible. Make sure the dog bed is completely dry before setting it back up for your dog to use, a process that might take between 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the dog.  

Picture of a steam cleaner used on a dog bed,

Important Things to Consider

Taking into account that steam cleaning is a time-costing process and dependent on the size of the dog bed and the quality of the steam cleaner, this may take some time.   

Takes time to dry, if you’re not willing to use your dryer to speed the process along. It may need to be left overnight and your pet may need temporary accommodation.   


Whatever your motivations for not using the washing machine are, washing your dog bed without it can be done easily, and relatively cheaply.  

The most expensive investment in this process will probably be a steam cleaner, but it’s something that you can then use to clean your dog bed again in the future and can be used on other important household tasks, Check out our website for more.  

The attention that you give your dog bed should be of the same love and energy that you give your dog.

Carefully washing the bed by hand rather than simply dumping it into the washing machine shows that you care, and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that your dog is sleeping in a clean and safe environment.  

Using steam cleaners can be a healthy and effective way to clean your house without exposing yourself or family members, including your pets, to harsh chemicals.  

Below is a YouTube video that shares some tips for cleaning a dog bed.

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