Guinea pigs are popular pets, especially among children, and they can be fun to own and raise. However, many people have questions about properly cleaning their cage so it doesn’t have an odor. You may also wonder how often you should clean it and what tools you will need. This complete guide covers all these questions and provides you with a step-by-step tutorial explaining what you will need to do and how often, so you will have a better time with your pet while experiencing less odor.
How Do I Clean a Guinea Pig Cage?
Cleaning a guinea pig cage might seem like a big job at first, but you will get the hang of it quickly, and in a few months, you’ll be doing it without thinking. Let’s look at the different steps in this section so you can familiarize yourself with them before you get started.
The 9 Steps to Clean Your Guinea Pig Cage
1. Remove Your Pets
The first thing that you will need to do when performing a top-to-bottom cleaning is to remove your pets and place them into a temporary enclosure. If you have a helper, this is a great time to let your pet get supervised free-roaming time.
2. Remove the Accessories
Once the pets are safely out of the way, you will need to remove the accessories, including the furniture, food bowls, water bottle, hides, hay racks, etc.
3. Wash the Accessories
We recommend washing your accessories in this step before continuing with the habitat because it will take them a while to dry. Moisture can easily get trapped in bedding, which might enable mold to grow.
4. Dump the Bedding
While the accessories are air drying, you can dump the used bedding into the trash or compost pile if you have one. Guinea pig bedding makes great compost, and if you enjoy gardening, you should look into making a compost pile if you don’t already have one.
5. Wash the Cage
Once the cage is empty, you will need to wash it well with hot soapy water. We’ve found that taking it outside works the best, but you can also use the tub if it’s cold or the weather is bad. We recommend a stiff bristle brush and dishwashing liquid to help remove caked-on debris.
6. Dry the Cage
With the cage completely clean, you will need to allow it to dry completely. Paper towels can help speed up the process, but we recommend letting the habitat sit until all moisture has had a chance to evaporate.
7. Add Fresh Bedding
Once the cage is completely dry, you can begin to reverse the steps and add fresh bedding.
8. Replace the Accessories
With the bedding in place, you can begin to replace the accessories, which should all be completely dry by now. Refill the water bottle and place fresh food in the food bowl.
9. Return Your Pet to the Cage
The final step is to return your guinea pig to its home and watch as it explores with excitement.
How Often Should I Clean My Guinea Pig Cage?
The short answer is that you will clean the cage when it needs it. Most guinea pigs will require you to clean the habitat from top to bottom at least once a week, twice if you have the time. You will also need to spot clean the cage each day to remove waste and clean up any other messes your pet might make.
Spot Check Cleaning
When spot check cleaning, you will not need to remove the animal or the accessories from the cage. Spot cleaning relies on frequent visual inspection.
What If I Use Fleece Bedding?
If you use fleece bedding, you will follow all the steps listed here, but instead of dumping the bedding, you will shake it out in the backyard and wash it in the machine. Only use a detergent without dyes or perfumes for sensitive skin, and allow it to dry completely on the line before putting it back in the cage.
When it comes to keeping your guinea pig cage clean, it helps to be prepared and purchase a cage that is easy to get inside and clean. Keeping supplies close by, you can spot clean as soon as you see messes, which can greatly reduce the frequency of complete changeovers. When it comes time to do a top-to-bottom cleaning, follow this short guide, and you should have no problems creating a sterile environment for your pet.
Featured Image Credit: StineMah, Shutterstock