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How to Wash a Cat Bed: 5 Simple Steps

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on April 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Ragamuffin cat lying in a cat bed

How to Wash a Cat Bed: 5 Simple Steps

Have you been procrastinating washing your cat’s bed and are just now getting around to it? Or maybe your cat had an accident, and you can’t wait to wash it. Either way, your cat’s bed needs a good scrub at some point, so you might as well do it now.

Lucky for you, washing a cat bed requires three simple steps: remove debris, clean, and dry. But there are a couple of extra steps that some people don’t do, and we feel this inhibits a thorough wash.

So, we’re giving you five simple steps to follow for the cleanest cat bed. Trust us, your cat will thank you, and you’ll notice a difference.


What You Will Need

Washing a cat bed doesn’t require many materials and only takes a few minutes. Most of these items you should have in your house already. You can always run to your local grocery store and grab them if you don’t. Thankfully, they are relatively affordable as well.

Here’s your list of materials:
cleaning materials
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Using a pet-safe laundry detergent isn’t necessary, so don’t think you need to spend more money to wash a simple cat bed. With that being said, it does help to have pet-friendly cleaning products in your house to eliminate any worry.

Brands like Seventh Generation and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap are available at local grocery stores and are safe for pets should you decide to make the switch.

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How to Wash a Cat Bed

Cats have an acute sense of smell, so there are some products you want to avoid when you clean your cat’s bedding. These products enhance the cat urine smell, which is not what you want if you’re cleaning cat urine from a bed. So, avoid the following products and you’ll be fine.

When cleaning cat urine, DON’T:
  • Use a heavily scented detergent
  • Use an ammonia-based product

1. Remove Debris and Excess Fluids

tortie cat resting on heated bed
Image By: Tina Talley, Shutterstock

Before throwing the cat bed into the washing machine, remove excess debris and liquid. If your cat peed or vomited on the bed, dab the area with a towel. Remove as much liquid as possible to ensure a thorough wash.

Next, vacuum or lint roll the cat bed to remove extra cat fur. You can shake the bed out like a rug if there isn’t much debris on it. This helps protect your washing machine and makes cleaning the cat bed easier.

2. Separate the Cover & Mattress

Unzip the cat bed cover and remove it from the mattress. Use rubber gloves or disposable gloves if needed. Skip this step if your cat’s bed cover doesn’t come off.

3. Apply Stain Remover & Odor Eliminator

cleaning mattress_Shutterstock_Isaeva Studio
Image By: Isaeva Studio, Shutterstock

This is a step many pet owners skip because they want to throw the cat bed into the wash as soon as possible. However, your cat’s bed will look brand new if you do this step first. Plus, stain remover helps remove tough odors, so you don’t want to skip this step.

You can use whatever stain remover you prefer, including bleach. Just make sure to run the cat bed through an extra rinse cycle if you use bleach. Many pet owners love Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Eliminator and have made it their go-to choice.

4. Wash in Hot Water

Start the washing machine and use a hot water cycle. Add detergent and any other laundry soaps you’d like to add.

Baking soda is a great addition to laundry because it boosts bleach and detergent performance and fights stains and odors. It also acts as a natural fabric softener.

If you can’t fit the mattress into the washing machine, you can fill your bathtub with hot water and scrub it by hand. It’s laborious, but you can rest assured the cat’s bed will be extremely clean.

  • Bonus Tip: If you don’t have a fabric softener, you can add vinegar to the rinse cycle for a softer bed, reduced lint, and banished odors.

5. Leave Out to Dry

Finally, all the hard work is done. All you have to do is dry the bed. Although it’s tempting to toss the cat bed into the dryer, it’s best to let it air dry if you can. Air drying will lengthen the bed’s lifespan, plus the air will carry away any lingering odors.

Male marble cat lying in cat bed
Image Credit: Iva Vagnerova, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Often Should You Wash Your Cat’s Bed?

Cats are hygienic creatures, so the bed isn’t something you need to wash as often as a dog bed. Still, cats have oil and dandruff just like we do, so the bed needs to be cleaned eventually.

It’s good to wash your pet’s bedding at least once a month. This means following the steps above to give it a deep cleanse.

In addition, vacuuming or lint rolling your cat’s bed weekly will help keep the bed staying fresh longer. You can sprinkle baking soda on the bed and vacuum it for a deep, dry cleanse. Or you can leave your cat’s bed outside to air out.

How Long Does It Take for Cat Urine to Fade?

Dealing with cat urine is the worst part of cat ownership. Unfortunately, cat urine odors can stick around for a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to remove.

Prompt removal of the urine is crucial. You don’t want urine to soak into the material and risk a permanent stain. Plus, the smell is much harder to remove at that point.

Cat beds are easy to clean, and as long as you follow the steps above, you should notice the smell fading over time.

Tired of your house smelling like you've got a cat? It's time to check out the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray! 

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
  • ADVANCED ENZYMATIC CLEANER - Penetrates the most stubborn smells and stains at the deepest molecular...
  • FOR ANY MESS, ON ANY SURFACE - This pet odor eliminator cleans your carpets, floors, furniture,...
  • FRESH, NATURAL ODOR - Our unique formulation doesn't rely on dangerous or unpleasant chemical...

It removes even the toughest of smells and stains and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Click here to learn more about this amazing product and get yourself a bottle today.

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Wrapping Up

So, there you have it! Five easy steps to giving your cat’s bed a deep cleanse. You can always tweak the steps to your liking if you’re limited on time. We highly recommend using a stain and odor remover and baking soda to give you the best results. You’ll notice a difference, and so will your cat!

See also:

Featured Image Credit by: Ryo Nagashima, Shutterstock

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