There’s no denying that guinea pigs are adorable, and anyone that’s owned one will tell you what wonderful pet they make. They’re fun, smart and full of affection… but while it looks like it’s all cuddles and giving treats… there’s actually quite a bit of work that goes into looking after guinea pigs.
And part of that work is ensuring their environment stays clean so they can stay healthy and happy. Not only do dirty cages smell, but they can also cause illnesses in your guinea pig, so it’s really important to stay on top of it. If you’re looking for a new guinea pig cage then check out our top 10 recommended cages.
You’re obviously here because you want to take care of your little piggies in the best way possible so let’s get down to business and discuss how to best clean your guinea pig cage…
How often should I clean my guinea pig cage?
The entire cage should be cleaned once a week, ensuring that they constantly have clean and dry bedding. If they have a toilet area, this should be cleaned every day to avoid harmful bacteria spreading and a strong smell to develop. It will also prevent them from spreading poo around the rest of the pen and will prevent the cage from getting damp in certain spots.
What do I need to clean my guinea pig cage?
- Somewhere safe where you can put your piggies while you clean – see below for more detail.
- Fresh straw and newspaper
- Fresh pee pads or litter
- Fresh fleece cover (if applicable)
- Fresh bedding (any accessory with fabric should be washed)
- Cleaning products that are going to be safe to use around your guinea pigs.
- Clean cloths to wipe everything down with as well as some kind of old towel to dry it all afterwards.
What products should you use?
It sounds obvious, but it needs to be clarified that you should use guinea pig-safe cleaning products. Guinea pigs are not like cats and dogs, and many products will be too harsh and potentially toxic to them.
You can buy specialised cleaning products, designed for small animals, that can even be used on their bowls and toys. Places like Pets At Home, Zooplus, Viovet, or Amazon will provide these products; just always make sure they say it’s okay to use on food-related toys and accessories before buying.
Watered down distilled white vinegar is also used, although be sure to remove any residue to prevent a strong smell.
Many people ask if Clorox wipes are okay to clean the coroplast at the bottom of the cage, and the consensus is that they are; however, we wouldn’t recommend using it on anything else.
It’s important to stress that products, including Lysol, are not safe to use, nor are any regular household products.
How to make it less stressful for your guinea pigs?
The whole cleaning process is a little stressful for guinea pigs, so it’s always a good idea to keep one used bed out of the cleaning process and place it in their temporary home to reassure them. The familiar smells will help calm your guinea pigs and help them recognise that it’s still a safe environment for them.
When you’re cleaning their cage, you need to make sure the temporary home is secure. Ideally, it’s better to place them in a playpen where they have space to run about, and you can put a few of their favourite things in to occupy them. However, if this isn’t an option, a large cardboard box will work or any kind of secure pet carrier – just make sure there is enough space and that they can still see you to ease any anxiety.
The Cleaning Process of a Guinea Pig Cage
- Ensure your guinea pig is in a safe place.
- Take out all of the fabric bedding houses and accessories leaving them to one side.
- Empty the cage of the used straw and newspaper followed by pea pads and any bottom fleece cover that you might have. It would be best if you tried to wear protective gloves while doing this because some will be wet with pee. It’s always helpful to scoop it up with a dustpan and brush.
- Once it’s all cleaned out, clean the bottom with the pet-safe products and dry and residue with a towel.
- Put the fresh pee pads down. You can choose to lay them out over the cage’s entire surface or in just one corner, depending on your guinea pigs’ toilet habits.
- Add newspaper and litter as extra protection.
- Add a new fleece cover as well as fresh straw/hay on top.
- Clean all of the bowls and water bottles inside and out to prevent food and bacteria build-up.
- Add new water and new food along with any fresh bedding.
- Spray toys and houses or if you don’t want to spray the things your guinea pig chews on, simply wipe them down with a wet cloth and dry them with a towel.
- Finally, put the piggies gently back in the cage along with the used bed to maintain some of the family scents.
And that’s how you clean your guinea pigs’ cage. A clean home; a happy guinea pig!
So all that’s left is to grab your rubber gloves and scrub away!