How to Wash Dog Laundry

Shopping is part of the fun when it comes to pet ownership. 

Sure, there are essentials like beddings and practical clothing. But, there are also stuff we love buying just because we love playing around and spoiling our dogs silly.

The problem is, after the fun of shopping, we’re left to deal with the cleanup. Thankfully, dealing with dog laundry isn’t as hard as it might seem.

1. Dog Clothes

two british bulldogs wearing dog clothing

Good quality dog clothes often come with wash care labels, so be sure to check and follow instructions. Nevertheless, most clothes for dogs can survive the washer. This is especially true for dog hoodies, shirts, and sweaters made of premium cotton.

The best thing to do is turn them inside out and remove as much fur as you can from the lining before tossing them in.

A good shake will loosen the pesky dog hair, while a lint roller will help you pick up the finer hair that remains. If all else fails, use a vacuum cleaner with the front nozzle removed to give the dog clothes a thorough once-over before tossing your dog clothes into the washer.

Taking these extra steps will do a lot to keep your machine from clogging.

For non-cotton apparel like dog raincoats or reflective vests, you might be better off washing by hand.

2. Dog Bedding

Whether or not they’re soiled, everyday use can keep dog bedding from smelling fresh.

There’s always slobber, dander, and other grime your pup might bring with them from the outside.

Just like your own bed, your dog's blankets and bedding need to be washed regularly to prevent pet odor and unsanitary conditions.

Some dog beds have convenient removable covers you can toss in the washer. For others, you’ll need to wash the entire bed every time.

No matter the preferred method, follow these steps when washing dog beds and dog blankets:

  • Remove as much dog hair as you can by shaking the pet bedding out, using a lint roller, and vacuuming.
  • Pre-treat the pet's bedding with stain remover or liquid fabric softener.
  • If needed, use a combination of a soft-bristled brush and warm water to loosen any tough stains that might give your washing machine trouble.

And as always, make sure to follow the instructions found on the bedding's care label. Some products are machine washable but require washing in cold water only, while other products will specify the wash cycle that should be used.

3. Dog Accessories

a pit bull wearing a harness

Accessories like your dog harness, leash, and collar need regular washing.

Otherwise, they could quickly end up with an unpleasant smell. Luckily, these are often made of nylon and fabric, making them incredibly easy to wash. All you need to do is fill a basin with hot water and pour in some gentle detergent.

Keep in mind that any harness or collar is constantly in contact with your dog's skin.

If your pup has especially sensitive skin, you could use their own shampoo to do this. Once stirred, let the dog collar, harness, and leash soak for half an hour before rinsing thoroughly.

Let them dry completely before putting them on, or you risk itching and skin irritation.

4. Dog Toys


How to wash dog toys would really depend on what they’re made of.

For harder, or plastic toys you could use warm water and a brush (perhaps even an old toothbrush), washing them off in the sink.

Use a pet-friendly laundry detergent or soap and give the toy a good scrub. You could also use a mixture of water and white vinegar as a natural alternative to the detergent. This will help remove lingering stains while disinfecting the toys. Saddle soap can also be used in moderation during this step.

Things to keep in mind with the drying process

Air-drying pet products, such as dog clothes or beds, is generally recommended instead of using a tumble dryer.

This is because pet products often contain materials that can shrink, deform or become damaged, in the heat generated by tumble dryers.

Additionally, the low heat can also kill any flea eggs or dust mites, reducing the effectiveness of washing.

If you do opt for tumble drying your dog's bedding, be sure to check for loose seams that can pull apart further during the drying process. Also, be sure to clear out your dryer lint trap regularly.

Air dry pet beds in a well-ventilated area allows them to dry completely, preserving their shape and texture, and also helps to keep your pet healthy and comfortable.

Final Thoughts On Doing Your Dog's Laundry

a cute dog by a washing machine full of his toys


Creating and maintaining a hygienic sleeping environment for your furry friend really isn't that difficult.

Simply remove pet hair from the bedding and machine wash or hand wash the dog bedding according to the care label instructions. Inspect your dog's bed regularly for visible stains and pretreat stains before washing.

Doing your dog’s laundry is not too different from doing your own. Sure, they might be more soiled or have much more fur, but it involves all the same steps.

Check the label and follow instructions. When in doubt, handwash with a gentle detergent. It also helps to know specifically how to clean squeaky dog toys and when to throw them out.