Guinea pigs are a popular pet, especially among children, and they can be fun to own and raise. However, many people have questions about properly cleaning the cage, so it doesn’t have an odor. You may also have questions about how often you should clean it and what tools you will need. We’ve written a complete guide where we cover all of these questions and provide 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. Keep reading while we discuss full cleaning, spot, cleaning, tools, enclosures, and more to help you keep a well-maintained cage.
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.
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.
Performing A Complete Cleaning
1. Remove Your Pets
The first thing 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 some 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 give them some time to dry. Moisture can easily get trapped in bedding which might allow 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 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 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.
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.
- Remove any feces you see as soon as possible. Doing so will keep odor at a minimum and prevent your pet from spreading it around the habitat.
- Remove any clumps of hair that you might see, especially during times of heavy shedding.
- Fix any other messes that your guinea pigs created.
- Wash the food bowl and replenish.
- Rinse and refill the water bottle.
- Restock the timothy hay supply.
What If I Use Fleece Bedding?
If you use fleece bedding, you will follow all of the steps listed above, but instead of dumping the bedding, you will shake it out in the back yard 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.
- Choose a habitat that comes apart and is easy to clean.
- Place a plastic tray under the cage to catch bedding that falls out.
- Keep a garbage can near the cage for spot cleaning.
- Keep a shop-vac nearby for spot cleaning.
- Set aside your cage cleaning supplies so you know where they are when you need them.
- Set up a routine so you can get into the habit of cleaning it
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, so you can spot clean as you see messes can greatly reduce the frequency of complete changeovers. When it comes time to do a top to bottom cleaning, follow our short guide, and you should have no problems creating a sterile environment for your pet.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this look into guinea pig care and found it helpful for answering your questions. If we have helped improve your pet’s living conditions, please share this step-by-step guide to cleaning a guinea pig cage on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: StineMah, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.