Guinea pigs are fun, smart and full of affection, but there’s actually quite a bit of work that goes into looking after them, too.
And part of that work is ensuring their environment stays clean so they can stay healthy and happy. Not only do dirty guinea pig cages smell, but they can also cause your guinea pig to become ill. A clean habitat prevents respiratory illnesses which could cut the life of your guinea pig short.
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 completely deep-cleaned once a week. To do this, your guinea pig will have to go somewhere safe and they will need clean and dry bedding.
Spot cleaning needs to be done every day to avoid harmful bacteria spreading and a strong smell developing. 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 does cleaning a guinea pig cage involve?
If you are spot cleaning their cage, you need to remove their soiled bedding and litter with a scoop. Check where they relax, in corners and in hidden areas in case you miss anything. You will also need to remove any uneaten food, check for food that has been moved and change their water.
During a deep clean, you will need to:
- Remove all bedding and litter, even if it looks clean, and properly dispose of it
- Wash all accessories and hideouts in their cage
- Wash any fabric items, such as toys
- Use a pet-safe disinfectant to wipe down all areas, including the floor and walls
- Replace the litter and bedding
- Ensure all accessories are dry before replacing
- Remove any bowls and water bottles, deep cleaning these too – don’t forget drinking spouts and inside bottles
What do I need to clean my guinea pig cage?
- Somewhere safe where you can put your piggies while you clean
- Fresh bedding
- Fresh pee pads or litter
- Cleaning products that are going to be safe to use around your guinea pigs
- Clean cloths to wipe everything down with as well as a clean, old towel to dry it all afterwards
What products should I use to clean a guinea pig cage?
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 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 by many, 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.
Always thoroughly rinse everything down with cold water when clean. This removes residue and that cleaning smell.
How to make cleaning less stressful for guinea pigs
The whole cleaning process can be a little stressful for guinea pigs, which is understandable. They need to be moved to somewhere like a run or spare cage, which can be upsetting.
You should use this place regularly. So, when deep cleaning, always use the same cage. They will only be in there for around one or two hours, so you may wish to keep some toys or used bedding aside for this cage until they are back in their permanent home. Then, of course, clean this spare home too.
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 in order to ease any anxiety.
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!