My Practical & Complete Guide to Bedding for Pet Owners

I always love when blog readers request specific topics for blog posts. Not only does it make my job easier, but it always gets my creativity flowing! Recently, I was asked for my recommendations on choose pet-friendly bedding, how to care for the bedding, and anything special that I do and recommend. Such a good idea for a post, right?? So today I am walking you through how we have nice bedding and pets — it is possible!

A Textile Designer’s Complete Guide to The Best Bedding for Pet Owners

As someone who spent years living in a studio apartment with no bedroom door (and a former textile designer), I feel like I could regale you with countless stories of poorly behaved animals destroying my bedding! At one point, I used to cover my bed with an actual tarp so Georgette wouldn’t pee on my bed (this was after a cross-country move and she was not pleased with the change). Now that I am the proud owner of many bedroom doors, I still have a few hacks that help to protect my bedding from the wear and tear of pets.

As a former textile designer, I am lucky enough to know a bit more about what goes into making bedding and, thus, can confidently share with you how we balance pets and nice textiles! Here is some of my best advice:

A certain level of acceptance

I mention this first because I’m pretty sure we all have said to our pets “this is why we can’t have nice things” at one point. I even have a dec pillow that says it! But I mention acceptance first because I truly believe there is a certain level of fabric destruction that will ALWAYS happen when you live with pets. Pets throw up, puppies have accidents, cats claw the living daylights out of things… it just happens. Of course, you can minimize the damage, but in order to preserve your mental health, I really recommend getting to a certain level of acceptance that things will get damaged.

My Practical & Complete Guide to the best Bedding for Pet Owners! how to care for bedding, which bedding to choose for pets, how to prevent snags, the difference between linen, percale, and other pet-friendly fabrics and more!

Educate yourself

I didn’t simply want this post to be a list of brands or products that are the best bedding for pet owners. Instead, I want to arm you with the information of what to look for so you can be a smart consumer and make your own decisions! To get started, here’s a short guide to popular types of bedding and my thoughts on how they stand up to pets:

Linen: If you want linen bedding, shop for pure flax linen instead of a blend. Flax is the fiber that makes linen threads and happens to make it very strong… as in three times the strength of cotton or wool! I also recommend linen because it’s a fabric that gets better with age and with more washes. Some of the sources I read while researching for this post even state that linen can last up to 12 times longer than cotton.

Cotton (such as percale and sateen): I personally LOVE percale sheets because they are crisp and cool to the touch — and great for pet owners. Always choose cotton bedding that is tightly woven. I suggest this because pet fur and nails are less likely to get embedded in a smoother, tightly woven fabric. Percale is usually more tightly woven than sateen, so if this is a concern of yours, opt for that.

Velvet: Literally the worst textile to have around pets! I’m joking, sort of… but velvet acts as a magnet for pet hair. There’s a reason lint brushes are made of velvet! I will say, I have friends who love velvet upholstery because they can brush up the pet hair easily.

If you’re worried about pet hair, you could consider fabrics that are good at repelling hair like silk or satin. I don’t love slippery bedding like that because it’s not my vibe, but to each their own! Silk and satin come with their own cons though due to cost and long-term care of the fabrics.

Invest in a waterproof mattress cover

I cannot tell you how many times Georgette has spite-peed on my bed. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit, but it’s what she does when she is madddddd. Years ago, she ruined a memory foam mattress and ever since I have used a waterproof mattress cover. I know it sucks and probably affects a mattress’s ability to breath, but at the end of the day I don’t want to deal with cat pee seeping into my bed.

My Practical & Complete Guide to the best Bedding for Pet Owners! how to care for bedding, which bedding to choose for pets, how to prevent snags, the difference between linen, percale, and other pet-friendly fabrics and more!

Compromise

I absolutely LOVE a feather down duvet insert. To me, it’s like sleeping under a cloud. But with our pets, that has proven to be a nonstarter. I got tired of taking my down comforter to the dry cleaner and paying SO much money if someone got sick (or worse) on it. After yet another cat pee incident that ruined our duvet insert, I vowed to only have down alternative bedding going forward because it’s machine washable. I made the switch about 5 years ago and it’s worked out really well.

Wash (and dry) accordingly

My biggest recommendation is to only choose bedding that can be washed in a machine. This doesn’t include decorative pillows. If you’re a home owner, investigate the load capacity of your machines. If you’re a renter, I recommend going to a laundromat on a schedule to do a bulk cleaning of textiles in their massive machines. Depending on how much bedding you have, a visit to the laundromat might be the most efficient because you can have multiple machines going at once. And don’t be afraid to air-dry your textiles, even if it takes longer. Don’t forget: the heat of the dryer can shorten the lifespan of your textiles!

Properly caring for your bedding and textiles is the best way to get the most out of your investment. Because two of our dogs sleep in bed with us, I strip our bed (down to the waterproof mattress cover) once a week and wash everything except for the duvet insert. Sheets, pillow cases, sham covers, duvet cover… it all goes into the wash. While things are being washed, I take the time to re-fluff pillows and the duvet insert. I wash the duvet insert itself quarterly. Always always always read the care instructions for all of your textiles and bedding!

Use a protective layer

A few people have mentioned that once the bed is re-made, they put a layer on top to act a protective layer, especially for pet hair. You can totally go this route, but I don’t. Instead, I just always use machine-washable fabrics such as linen and cotton.

Linen spray

In between washings, I refresh our bedding with pillow spray to keep everything smelling great. I’m also a really warm sleeper and often get night sweats, so it helps with that, too!

Adjust the house rules to protect your bedding

I also recently posted to my stories a few polls asking who keeps their interior doors closed and if people let their pets roam. I was shocked to find out that most of my followers just let their pets be alone in a room! We keep our doors closed to help with heat efficiency, but also because I just don’t trust our pets anymore — especially the cat. Georgette is only allowed in a bedroom with supervision now.

I’ve found that this one single change has made a MASSIVE difference in how our textiles feel and last. It’s so obvious though: restrict access and your pets simply aren’t able to ruin your bed.

My Practical & Complete Guide to the best Bedding for Pet Owners! how to care for bedding, which bedding to choose for pets, how to prevent snags, the difference between linen, percale, and other pet-friendly fabrics and more!

Dealing with claws

This is a big one that soooo many people asked me about! Make sure your cat has a proper scratching post at all times and encourage them to use it. Keep your dogs nails trimmed and buffed. We use this grooming tool to round out each nail so they aren’t sharp and are less likely to catch on yarns.

Also, be aware of fabrics that can be snagged more easily before you purchase. If something has appliqué, 3-dimensional texture, chenille, or a more open weave, chances are that won’t be as durable. Those types of textiles are all basically begging to have pet claws mess them up! So shop accordingly.

What else has worked for you when ti comes to having nice bedding with pets? Leave a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your tips!

Photography by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

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