When it comes to the worst germ-carrying items you touch, your first thought would likely be a public restroom, gas pump, or grocery cart. However, there's something else you need to add to that list, and it's quite a bit closer to home: your pet's bed.

Just as you wash your sheets on a regular basis, the same should apply for your pet. Even the cleanest of furry friends are going to leave messes and odors in their resting spot, and each time they move from their bed to your couch, your bed, your lap or elsewhere, they are dragging dirt, odor and germs along with them.

With that in mind, here are our top tips for keeping your pet's bed fresh and clean:

Choose a bed with a removable cover.

While most pet beds come with covers that can be removed, that's not always the case, and you should do your due diligence to ensure it is removable before purchasing. That way, when washing the bed, you're able to remove the cover completely making it much easier to keep clean.

Vacuum the bed prior to washing.

It's important to make sure you get as much pet hair off of the bed as possible prior to washing. Pet hair will stick to the wet fabric in the wash, so removing it beforehand will help you keep dander, fur, and anything else out of your washing machine. We also recommend vacuuming the bed between washings to keep it cleaner longer.

Wash on the highest temperature setting.

To ensure you get rid of harmful germs and bacteria, all pet bedding should be laundered at a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or the highest temperature setting your washer allows. Use detergent and, if the fabric can stand it, a mild bleach. If your pet has sensitive skin, opt for a natural detergent and add an extra rinse cycle, then follow the manufacturer's advice on how to dry the bed.

Keep the bed smelling fresh in between washes.

Use a daily spray such as Tide's Antibacterial Fabric Spray to keep odors at bay, kill pesky microorganisms and keep your pet bed sanitized in between washes. Make sure you use TIDE stain removers so you know it is gentle enough for your pet's sensitive skin and paws.

There you have it! Here's to your pet's comfortable, clean resting place.