It’s no secret that ’round these parts, the dogs sleep in the bed.Or, more accurately, these dogs hog the bed. I’ve managed to banish a few toys from the bed after the last Bedtime Fairytale, but I genuinely don’t understand how a 20 lb. dog and a 25 lb. dog can take up that much real estate. Does Koly get hit with an engorgement charm every night when the lights go out? It’s nuts. I feel like I need this shirt to wear as pajamas.
Hogging the bed isn’t the only downside to sharing your bed with your pets.A recent study showed that homes with pets have more bacteria and more types of bacteria than the average non-pet home. It’s no wonder: dogs go outside and they bring all sorts of crud in on their feet. The added bacteria isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact, there is evidence to support that dust from homes with dogs has a higher amount of beneficial bacteria. Still, I don’t like to think of my bed as ground zero for grossness. We’re talking about my BED, I want it to be a restful haven, even if I do only get a very small portion of it. If you put your sheets under a microscope, I can pretty much guarantee you’d be grossed out. There’s dead skins cells, oils, sweat, dog hair, slobber puddles…UGH. Plus, all that bacteria we were talking about? It’s what’s responsible for that “dog smell” fabrics can get. I don’t want to sleep in a heap of dog smell. Anyone with dogs know that just washing a fabric isn’t always enough to get rid of the dog funk smell and it’s not like you can toss your whole mattress into the washer.
Luckily, I’ve got a surefire system to keep the dog smell (and the dirt and grime) out of your bed.Your First Defense: A well groomed dog is a better bed mate. In news that surprises no one, the smellier your dog is, the smellier your bed will be. The best defense is a good offense, so step up your grooming game.
- Frequent baths – Get Fido sudsy with a natural, additive free shampoo and dry well. If desired, spritz with grooming spray.
- A good brush out – Brushing removes the loose hair that’s going to get shed all over your sheets. Old hair traps odours and bacteria and can contribute that dog funk smell. Get rid of it frequently.
- Pre-Treat Any Stains – Felix loves to slobber all over the pillows and Kolchak loves to rub his head into the sheets. Regular stains react great to a mix of peroxide and baking soda, while oil marks respond best to dry cornstarch sprinkled on to soak up the oil. (Get all my laundry tips here.)
- Wash in hot water - Hot water helps kill any bacteria. Balling your sheets up before they go in the washer will help to decrease wear and tear, plus it helps to prevent them from stretching.
- A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle – white vinegar is my be all end all for all things smelly. A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle will not only take care of odours, it is also a natural fabric softener.
- Dry on medium or low – High heat wears out the fibres of your sheets and they won’t last very long that way.
- Suck It Up! - If your dog projectile sheds like Kolchak, chances are that your bed is a hairy mess. Once the sheets are off, I tend to give the mattress and pillows a quick vacuum. While experts generally agree that vacuuming does little or nothing to keep dust mites at bay, it is effective at sucking up the spare dog hairs, which can be harbouring funky odours.
- Shake it Off – I like to shake out my quilt every week. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might even run the vacuum over it, but let’s face it, this is a hassle.
- Spritz It Down – Place undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and mist your mattress, pillows (both the cute decorative ones and the ones you use) and your quilt. (Make sure you hang or lay out your quilt to dry, don’t just toss it back on the bed.) If I’m feeling ambitious, I might spritz the carpets as well. I mean, why not? You’re there, the vinegar is in your hand…what do you have to lose?
- Wash your quilt – If your home washer isn’t big enough, hit up a laundry service. My local laundromat will do my quilt for less than $10. Same rules apply to the quilt as did the sheets: hot water, a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle and a cool dryer.
- Pillows need to be cleaned – Did you know this was even a thing? I seriously didn’t. Not for the longest time. The experts recommend that pillows be washed twice a year, but just like with everything else, if your pet is sharing your pillow, you may need to do it more often. (You can find some great pillow washing tips here.)