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Everything You Need to Know About Washing Dog Sweaters, Collars, and Bedding

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When many pooch parents think about everything their beloved pet needs in order to thrive, food, play time, and veterinary care quickly come to mind. However, dog essentials such as bedding, sweaters, and collars are all also important in providing your dog a happy and safe life.

Investing in dog essentials for your best friend can be an upfront investment. To get the most bang for your buck and ensure they will last for years to come, you need to take care of them.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your dog’s essentials smelling fresh and intact.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Bedding

To effectively eliminate odor, keep beds soft and its shape intact, your pet’s bedding should be washed weekly. You should be choosing a mild, hypoallergenic , no fragrance detergent that is free from fragrances and dyes to keep your dog’s sensitive skin safe.

If you decide to wash your pet’s bedding in a washing machine, first remove the cover from the bed padding. Read the manufacturer’s label carefully in order to determine if the bedding can be machine washed. If so, remove as much fur as possible by either vigorously shaking the bedding outside, using a vacuum cleaner, a lint roller, or cycling the bedding in your dryer with the air-only setting on.

Related: A Crate Just Won’t Do: Dog Gets Very Own Mini Bedroom

Before tossing the bedding into the washing machine, be sure to test it for color fastness to ensure the bedding’s colors won’t fade or run. You can do this by applying a small amount of the detergent onto the inside seam or unseen bottom area of the bedding. If you see any visible stains from mud or pet droppings, pre-treat the bedding by applying the detergent on the dampened stain. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before putting the bedding into your washing machine.

Check the bedding label to see what temperature you should set your washing machine to.

To help neutralize heavily soiled or really stinky bedding, you can add some dog laundry detergent boosters like Skout’s Honor and Nature’s Miracle. Or you can do a DIY, by adding one cup of baking soda to the washing machine.

To dry, you can run the bedding through the dryer on low heat or hang it up outside to air dry naturally. Avoid using dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener when washing or drying the bedding as the perfumes in these items can irritate your dog’s skin.

Velvet Hippo Dog Bed
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If Fido’s bedding isn’t washing machine friendly, you can always hand wash it. Like before, remove as much dog hair as possible before washing the bedding. Be sure to test the bedding for color fastness.

Fill your tub about halfway with warm water. Add a cap-full of the detergent to the bathwater and evenly distribute it by swishing it around. Submerge the bedding into the water completely. Turn it over numerous times so the detergent fully penetrates every side. Let the bedding sit in the tub for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Afterward, rinse the bedding in cold water until no more bubbles or soap residue appear. Squeeze the bedding to remove as much excess water as possible before air drying it.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Sweaters

As with your dog’s bedding, you should always begin the washing process by reading the manufacturer’s care label on the inside of the sweater. This will tell you if the sweater needs to be machine or hand washed.

Always ensure the sweater is fully buttoned or zipped to prevent snagging. You may want to also turn inside out. You should also keep an eye out for holes or loose seams. Repair these problem areas prior to washing the sweater so you don’t make them any worse. Consider putting the sweater in a mesh laundry bag for further protection.

Alqo Crossroads Sweater
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As with the bedding, color test the clothing to ensure the dyes don’t run. You can also pretreat really serious stains by working a stain remover into the fabric and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

If the clothing still smells after washing it, allow it to sit in a solution of cool water and baking soda overnight before rewashing the items. However, if your dog was skunked, just throw the garments away. There is no saving them.

Related: Meet the Woman Who Uses Dog Fur to Knit Sweater, Socks and More

Allow the dog clothing to naturally air dry to prevent shrinkage. Lay flat, as if you hang dry, it can stretch the sweater.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Collar

Voldog Wool Blend Collar
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Cleaning collars, leashes, and harnesses is fairly simple. Fill a large bucket with hot water and dog shampoo or hypoallergenic detergent. Allow the items to soak for about an hour. If they have stubborn stains, use an old toothbrush to remove the dirt and debris.

Thoroughly rinse the items in cold water until the water runs clear and is bubble free. Let them air dry.

For leather goods, you can use saddle soap and warm water. You can get saddle or leather soap at any equine tack shop or online.

Related: How to Have an Awesome Sniffing Walk for Your Dog

Vackertass Leather Collar
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Use a soft, clean, dry cloth to surface dry the leather. Or spot clean.

Apply a commercial leather conditioner to the collar or leash to keep it soft and flexible.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to dealing with dog laundry, it’s always important to read the care label for proper washing techniques. Always avoid using detergent that contains perfumes or dyes. Additionally, always color test bedding and sweaters.

Aim to wash clothing and sweaters weekly or bi-weekly and wash collars, leashes, and harnesses on a regular basis.

Washing your pooch’s items will equate to a happy, fresh-smelling dog.

By Stephanie Weaver

Stephanie Weaver is a freelance writer residing in Philadelphia, PA. When she's not locked down to her laptop, she can be found riding horses or playing with her Boston Terrier mix, Steve.

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