Can You Tumble Dry A Dog Bed? (expert advice)

The good news is that most dog beds can be dried in a tumble dryer using the low heat setting though you will have to check the care label before placing it in

The bad news is that most of us aren’t washing our dogs’ beds often enough.

The experts agree that the average dog bed should be washed once a week or at very least, once a fortnight (depending on how active your dog is and how much time they spend outdoors). 

This is because of the various different bacteria that could be lurking in your dog’s bed.

As well as fleas, ticks and mites, the dog bed could be harbouring tapeworm, roundworm, campylobacter and other nasty pathogens. 

Plus there’s a distinct possibility that your dog’s bed will get muddy and smell unpleasant too.

Before washing and drying your dog’s bed, always consult the care label for specific cleaning instructions.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Dog Bed

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

There are several symbols used on wash care labels which indicate how to dry that actual item. Below is a list of all symbols that relate to tumble dryers. 

Some will apply to dog beds and some won’t. We include them all for your information.

  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top – Do not tumble dry. Depending on the material used to manufacture your dog bed, you might find this symbol on the care label.
  • Square With White Circle – You can tumble dry
  • Square With Black Circle – You can dry normally, with no heat, this is likely to be the symbol you find on your dog’s bed.
  • Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle – This indicates you can dry on normal, low heat. This is very likely to be the symbol found on your dog bed.
  • Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle – This indicates you can dry normal, medium heat
  • Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – You can dry normal, high heat

How To Dry A Dog Bed Without A Tumble Dryer

If you don’t own a tumble dryer or your dog’s bed is too large to fit in the tumble dryer, you’ll need an alternative way to dry it.

We have found several ways to dry a dog bed without a tumble dryer they include;

Air Drying Your Dog Bed On A Clothesline

Drying your dog bed outdoors on a clothesline in full sunshine is a great way to get it dry and remove any bacteria still present. 

The bed should be hung on the line using as many pegs as are necessary to secure it.

You can hang your dog bed on a washing line, rotary line or if space is tight, on a retractable clothesline.

SEE ALSO: Top Recommended Retractable Clotheslines

Using An Airer To Dry Your Dog’s Bed

If you have an airer or clothes horse as they’re also known, you can dry your dog bed by placing it on the airer. The airer can then be placed in front of a radiator or sunny window. Or outside in full sunlight.

Using An Electric Fan To Decrease Drying Time

To help speed up drying times you can simulate a gentle breeze by placing an electric fan in front of the airer. 

Just remember to open a window to allow the moist air a means of escape.

SEE ALSO: Bladeless Fans You Can Buy Today

A Dehumidifier Will Cut Down Drying Times Indoors

If you’re drying your dog bed indoors, a great way to cut down on drying times is to place a dehumidifier in the room with the dog bed.

The dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the room which will allow the dog bed to dry at a faster rate.

SEE ALSO: Good Dehumidifiers For Dog Beds

Using A Heated Airer To Dry A Dog Bed

A heated airer looks similar to a standard airer but with an added heating element. Some of these come with a cover which keeps all of the heat produced concentrated on the drying dog bed.

The dog bed could take up to 8 hours to fully dry on a heated airer which might seem slow but is considerably faster than on a standard unheated airer.

Dry Your Dog Bed With A Hair Dryer

Using a hair dryer to dry your dog bed can be tricky. The trick is to keep the hair dryer moving and at a safe distance from the material.

This allows the heat from the hair dryer to dry the dog bed without causing any heat damage to the material. The dog bed should be placed on a flat surface.

This leaves both hands free, one to operate the hair dryer and the other to keep checking that the fabric isn’t becoming too hot. Remember to check the heat constantly to avoid any damage to the material.

What Happens If You Tumble Dry A Dog Bed

Always check the wash care labels

Many dog beds can be tumble dried on a low heat or medium heat setting. However, you should always consult the care label, if not the results can be catastrophic.

In some cases you could end up with;

Structural Damage To The Dog Bed

The cushions used in some dog beds are made using a latex foam either as a moulded piece or as microfibre filling. Latex can melt and/or warp if it is exposed to high temperatures.

This can cause the cushion to become either completely flat or misshapen. Also it is possible for the cushion to rip or tear due to the rough treatment in a tumble dryer.

A Shrunken Dog Bed

Depending on the material used to manufacture your dog bed, it could shrink if exposed to a high heat setting in a tumble dryer. This could render the dog bed as useless.

If the dog bed is made from polyester for example, it is likely to shrink if tumble dried using a high heat setting.

Colour Fading

Some materials can lose their colours if exposed to high temperatures. This is more likely in the washing machine, but could still occur in a tumble dryer.

How To Clean A Dog’s Bed

Cleaning your dog’s bed properly will help your dog stay healthy for longer. You should always consult the care label on your dog’s bed before washing and drying, but in the absence of a care label, the dog’s bed should be cleaned at least once every two weeks in the following way;

  1. Vacuum clean the dog’s bed
    Before applying any liquid cleaner to your dog’s bed, run the vacuum cleaner over it first. This will help to remove any loose dog’s hair and any unhatched insect eggs. Remember to concentrate on the corners where detritus is likely to accumulate.
  2. Use a lint roller
    After vacuuming, run a lint roller over the dog bed to remove as many dog hairs as possible.
  3. Concentrate on any stains
    If you can see any stains in your dog’s bed they could possibly be caused by mud, urine, vomit or faeces and they should be removed before the dog’s bed is washed. Use an enzyme pet stain remover. These stains will be far harder to remove once the dog’s bed has been washed and dried which is why they should be tackled first.
  4. Wash the dog’s bed
    If your dog’s bed has a removable cover, it should be removed and washed as per the care label or washed in a washing machine at 60 C. The actual cushion should only be hand washed and this can be done in a bath or sink.
    In both cases, you should use a pet safe detergent as many dogs are allergic to the chemicals used in both biological and non-biological detergents.
  5. Rinse the dog bed
    If you are hand washing your dog’s bed, you’ll need to ensure all of the detergent is rinsed away. Concentrating on the foam cushion to ensure all of the detergent is rinsed away. Rinse the bed thoroughly using warm water. You should then squeeze as much water from the bed as you can.
  6. Dry the dog bed
    Unless otherwise stated your dog’s bed can now be dried on low heat in a tumble dryer. Or, if you’re not comfortable tumble drying your dog’s bed it can be dried using one of our alternative methods (see above).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tumble dry a polyester dog bed?

You should not tumble dry a polyester dog bed because polyester can melt, shrink or generally wear out if exposed to any heat at all.

Is it safe to put a dog bed in a tumble dryer?

You should consult your care label, but many dog beds can be safely tumble dried on a low heat setting.

Should I air dry my dog bed?

Air drying is the preferred and recommended method for drying many dog beds.

How can I dry a dog bed without a tumble dryer?

You can dry your dog bed without using a tumble dryer by using one of the following; Air dry the dog bed on a washing line, rotary line or retractable clothesline, use an airer or heated airer, use a hair dryer carefully and you can reduce drying times indoors by using a dehumidifier.

How often should you wash a dog bed?

Depending on how much time your dog spends outdoors, you should wash your dog bed once or twice per month.

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