It doesn’t get much better than snuggling up with your pup. But cute and cuddly as they may be, your fur baby can get downright gross. How gross? Besides visible dirt and mud, dogs carry a lot of bacteria, as well as mold, parasites, viruses and other contaminants. Dog blankets help keep that stuff off of your furniture and bedding, but you don’t even want to think about how filthy and stinky those blankets can get. We’re here to provide pet parents with washing instructions for dog blankets that will help you keep all that yuck under control.
How Often Should You Wash Your Dog’s Blanket?
At a minimum, you should wash a dog blanket no less than once every two weeks. Once per week would be better, as a general rule. But how often you should wash your dog’s blanket depends on a number of factors, like how much they shed and how much time they spend outdoors. You should also factor in whether your dog has allergies, or whether you or a family member are allergic to dog dander or other allergens your pup tracks in. And the longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove all those contaminants.
How to Wash a Dog Blanket
These are generally recommended instructions for how to wash a dog blanket step by step. But you should always defer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions provided on the care label. If you need to know how to wash a Paw blanket or runner, follow these Paw.com blanket washing instructions to help extend the life of your waterproof dog blanket.
What You’ll Need
- A lint roller or rubber glove
- Pet-friendly laundry detergent that’s free of dyes or fragrances
- Enzymatic pet stain remover
- White vinegar
- Washing machine or tub
Washing a Dog Blanket in a Washing Machine
Shake out the blanket to remove excess hair and dander (you’ll want to do this outside). Using a lint roller or a rubber glove, go over the blanket to remove any stubborn hair that remains after shaking.
Scrape off any caked-on mud, vomit or poop. Pretreat urine stains or other bodily fluids with an enzymatic stain remover to remove odors. Use a small amount of laundry detergent to treat stains from mud or dirt.
Place the blanket in the machine. You can probably wash a large blanket by itself, but you may need to add some towels with a small blanket or bed runner to balance out the load. Or, if you’re washing a dog bed, you can use your dog’s blankets to balance the load. Either way, it’s best not to wash the blanket with a load of clothes.
Wash the blanket at the highest temperature setting allowed per the manufacturer’s care label. Generally, the highest temperature setting on your machine will kill bacteria and mold, as well as fleas or flea eggs. However, depending on the materials used in the blanket, too high a temperature setting could shrink or damage the blanket. Our faux fur bed runner, for example, should be washed on the cold setting to avoid damaging the faux fur and the waterproofing. So be sure to read the care label and follow the instructions.
Run a second rinse cycle to be sure all detergent is removed. Avoid using fabric softener, which contains harsh chemicals that could irritate your pup. Instead, you can add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the last rinse cycle to safely soften the water and help kill germs. Don’t worry — the vinegar smell will evaporate as the blanket dries.
Follow the instructions on the care label for drying the blanket. While some blankets do okay in the dryer, several of our dog blankets, like our Cool Comfort blanket, are hang to dry. Hanging your blanket outside in the sun will further help to kill any remaining bacteria and neutralize odors.
Washing a Dog Blanket by Hand
Not all blankets are machine washable. Even for those that are, your machine — if you even have one — may not have the capacity for a large dog blanket. Fear not — just follow these steps to wash a dog blanket without a washing machine:
Follow the first two steps above to remove dog hair and pretreat pet stains.
Place the blanket in a tub and cover it with water. Add pet-friendly detergent while the water is running to get the water good and soapy. Refer to the care instructions on the manufacturer’s label to gauge how hot the water should be.
Making sure the entire blanket is submerged, let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Gently agitate the blanket in the tub with your hands. Use a washcloth with extra detergent to scrub any stubborn spots.
Drain the dirty water from the tub and fill it for another soak, moving the blanket around with your hands to help rinse. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Again, you can add white vinegar to the final rinse in place of fabric softener.
Wring excess water out of the blanket to the best of your ability. If you have a washer, you may be able to run the blanket through a delicate spin cycle to help remove excess water. Follow the instructions on the care label to dry the blanket.
How to Wash Dog Blankets with Hair
A faux fur dog blanket may need some extra TLC to keep it in good condition. Be sure to follow the care instructions on the label for washing and drying. If your faux fur blanket becomes matted, once it’s dry, simply use a slicker brush — that is, a dog brush with wide-spaced metal bristles — and gently brush out the blanket and fluff it back up.
Freshening Dog Blankets Between Washes
Follow these tips to help keep dog bedding and blankets looking and smelling fresh between washes:
- Use the brush or pet hair attachment on your vacuum to remove dirt and hair between washing.
- If vacuuming isn’t an option, shake it out and/or use a lint roller or rubber glove to keep hair under control.
- Spot clean as necessary with a gentle pet stain remover, or use a solution of vinegar and water. You can also use baking soda with a washcloth or tooth brush to gently scrub tough stains.
- Use a pet odor eliminator spray to neutralize odors and keep bedding smelling fresh and clean.
Like dogs, pet blankets can sometimes get gross, but they don’t have to stay that way. Although your pooch may enjoy rolling around on their stinky blanket, washing it regularly will be better for their health and the health of your whole household. And you will certainly be happier if your home doesn’t smell like a doggie daycare.
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