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.
Image Credit: EricLiu1993, Shutterstock
The 9 Steps to Clean Your Guinea Pig Cage
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.
Image Credit: LeeSensei, Shutterstock
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.
Image Credit: Shschus, Shutterstock
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.
Ok, I know, this is probably the most random post ever. BUT I know many of you have kiddos who want guinea pigs, or even have guinea pigs of your own since they seem to be a pretty popular pet right now.
I mentioned before that we got two guinea pigs as an incentive for Liv to stay in her room at night. It totally worked and before we knew it, it was finally “guinea pig day.” The girls were PUMPED. i planned to get everything ready while they were at school, so when we picked them up, we could head straight to PetSmart.
The day we got the guinea pigs, I went and bought the biggest cage they had. (It was this one!) After researching a bit more, I learned that guinea pigs need a much bigger cage and that 7 square feet is the minimum requirement. They don’t sell cages this big in pet stores, so they I needed to clean it frequently, which was kind of a pain, but our children were sleeping through the night… the things you do for sleep, I tell ya.
I didn’t mind purchasing said guinea pigs, or the fact that I’d be responsible for feeding and keeping two more creatures alive in our house, but the thing that did worry me was the potential smell. I DID NOT want our house to smell like a barn, especially since we have carpet upstairs. That was a hard no for me, so I researched as much as possible and found some awesome solutions I thought I’d share.
How to keep your guinea pig cage clean and smelling fresh:
1) Get a large cage. This makes a HUGE difference, and they have more room to roam around, which is better for their health anyways. We noticed a huge difference in their behavior and happiness when we transferred them to their new house. I highly recommend the C&C cage from this website. You can customize them by color and size, depending on how many guineas you have. We got the two-story one, and the base is 2×4 grids. This goes along with the next crucial step:
2) Litter train them. Our guinea pigs are probably 98% potty trained and do most of their business in the litter area. This is kind of gross, but they “go” where they eat. If you have a large litter tray/kitchen area you can remove, this makes it so much easier to keep clean. I ordered the kitchen from this site, and it goes under the second level so they feel protected while they’re eating. (Note: guinea pigs like to hide since they’re prey animals, so definitely have a few hidey huts for them. We have a wooden house, this giraffe from Amazon, this pineapple, and this little sleeping bag thing. I rotate them to change things up.)
3) Use fleece. The thought of using the fluffy cotton things all over the cage grossed me out, especially since it would feel wasteful to change it out as much as I would like. Fleece bedding is kind of the new thing. It feels good on their little paws, and they’re more likely to go in their litter area to do their business. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I used this tutorial to make their fleece bedding. We have four sets (you really only need two) and I switch out the fleece and anything cloth once a week. I put a disposable pad underneath the fleece, but nothing makes it through with the cloth pad “sewn” in between and they use their litter box most of the time anyway. The fleece stays remarkably clean!! You can brush it off outside and wash in the washing machine.
I also add an extra fleece pad under their wooden house, which I swap out every couple of days or so.
4) Line everything with adult incontinence pads. These are less expensive than the doggie pee pads and do the same thing.
5) Here’s how I set everything up:
The disposable pad on the bottom with the fleece liners or bedding on top. This is the perfect size to cover the bottom of the cage EXACTLY, and the remaining spot is covered by their litter box/kicthen. Rocks from the backyard go in the corners, just to make sure they can’t lift up the edges and hide underneath.
I line the litter box with a disposable pad and then put Care Fresh on top, and hay on top of that. This is also where I put their bowl of pellets and their fresh greens/veggies. Pretty much everything stays in the litter box! Every 2-3 days, I completely empty the litter box, spray it down with white vinegar and water, wipe with paper towels, and add a new disposable pad, fresh Care Fresh, and hay. (I also give them fresh hay and veggies/greens twice a day. They constantly have food and water, and eat a lot!)
(The kitchen is under the upper level of their cage which gives them a little bit of shelter. You can also get a hay rack for the hay but I find that flat in the kitchen makes less of a mess!)
That’s it! This has made it super easy to keep clean and smell-free. I just clean the cage every 2-3 days and the entire thing once a week with fresh bedding (which takes maybe 10 minutes). Daily spot cleanings make a huge difference, too.
The guineas have been a fun new addition to our family. We all love watching them eat and “popcorn” around – they do this cute little jump when they’re happy – and thankfully, they don’t smell like a barn.
Some great video resources:
What’s the most random pet you’ve had in your family? When I was in elementary school, I had a white mouse named Bubba.
What’s The Easiest (fastest) Way To Clean A Guinea Pig Cage
Guinea Pigs are generally pretty easy to look after but regular cleaning of their cages and bedding is essential to prevent poor health and disease.
Here are some helpful tips on the easiest way to clean a guinea pig cage.
How Often Should I Clean?
You need to divide your regular cleaning routine into two types; spot cleaning and full-on cage cleaning.
Spot cleaning should occur every 2 or 3 days but you’ll also want to keep a daily check on conditions in the cage.
There will be occasions when your little ones will produce more waste than usual and it’s better to keep on top of that.
The guiding principle is that your Guinea Pig cage should never smell. If it does you may need to increase your cleaning frequency.
Obviously, the more Guinea Pigs you have the more waste. This waste can quickly become compacted and very smelly.
Fortunately, it’s a quick and easy job to return your Cavy cage to a spotless, spick and span condition.
How Do I Do a Full Cage Clean?
A full cage clean is essential on a weekly basis.
First, you’ll need to remove your Cavies to a safe place. Remember to handle them gently but firmly.
Remove all the bedding and other items such as water bottles and feeding bowls as well as ramps and toys.
If you’re using straw, paper, wood chips or wood shavings for bedding they can simply go into the rubbish or, preferably, into the compost pile.
If you use a fleece or other fabric bed you’ll want to wash it thoroughly using a hot wash cycle in your washing machine.
Shake or vacuum the fleece first to remove dust and dirt. It’s a good idea to have two sets of fleece beds so you can immediately replace the dirty one with a clean one.
Next, sweep out and wash the cage thoroughly. You can use a solution of 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar and add in 5 drops of washing detergent.
Mix in a spray bottle and spray onto all surfaces.
Wipe dry with a cloth. This solution is a cheap yet highly effective cleaning agent that is entirely safe for your cavies.
You’ll also want to clean the water bottle and food bowls and any toys the same way.
Make sure the cage is completely dry before restoring the bedding. Damp surfaces can encourage mould to grow.
Place fresh bedding in the cage and return cleaned and replenished water and food bowls.
Now your cavies can come back to a beautifully clean home.
How Do I Do A Spot Clean?
Remove any droppings and areas of soiled bedding that are especially dirty. You’ll also want to clean water bottles and food bowls too as these can quickly become grimy.
How Do I Make Cleaning Easier?
Some types of cages are easier to clean than others. Look for cages that have steel pull out trays for cleaning as well as easy access doors.
This will make your life much easier and will keep your cavies safe and happy.
Guinea pigs are fun and amazing pets to have. They have a particularly longer lifespan than other small pets. However, their health heavily relies on their environment and treatment. One of the biggest ways to keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy is to have a clean guinea pig cage.
Cleaning the Guinea Pig Cage
I always clean my guinea pig’s cage twice a week. Many of you always ask me, “does cleaning the cage take a long time?” and the answer is no, the cage can be cleaned in 5 minutes. Trust me, I’ve even timed it on one of our YouTube Vlogs. The reason for this is because I spot clean their guinea pig bedding twice a day, so it always stays clean longer. If you want to learn more about spot cleaning and washing bedding you can read our blog How to Wash Your Guinea Pig Fleece Liner (Spot Cleaning to Laundry).
Other than that, this is the order I usually clean the guinea pig cage:
- I remove all their hideys, toys, and hay from their cage
- I spray down their cage and toys with a safe distilled white vinegar and water solution.
- (On non-laundry days) I tilt their fleece liners so their guinea pig poop is in one spot. I do this on both sides of the guinea pig cage since I have two GuineaDad Liners in their cage.
- I use a mini vacuum to pick up the poop on the guinea pig liner, and then I use a dust pan for any loose hay piles.
- For any pieces of stray waste or hay and use my mini vacuum.
- I place their toys, hideys, and hay back in their cage.
- I make sure they have plenty of guinea pig hay and fresh clean water bottles.
(optional step: I always give them a couple of GuineaDad Pea Flakes for always being so cute and patient afterwards).
I always make sure to switch out their guinea pig bedding once a week, giving them two clean GuineaDad Liners to sleep and play on. GuineaDad Liner is the best bedding for guinea pigs for many reasons but the most important is that it is healthy for them and super convenient to keep clean. This particularly makes it fast and easy to clean their guinea pig cage.
Why is it Important?
Keeping your guinea pig’s living space clean is significant to your guinea pig’s health. Guinea pigs are prone to many bacterial diseases, one of the main ones being respiratory illnesses. This could lead to many veterinary visits, procedures, and a shorter lifespan for your guinea pig. This is why GuineaDad Hay and GuineaDad Liner were created- to prevent respiratory infections, and other health hazards for your guinea pig. It is the main reason behind GuineaDad products, with the intent of creating a healthy, beneficial, and happy life for your guinea pig.
Cleaning the guinea pig cage or hutch is something you must expect to do on a regular basis. If you are a parent and the guinea pigs are your children’s pets, you have to assume responsibility from the start because it is one of those jobs children often dislike doing (except for the first few times!)
In this article we will explain the best way to clean the cage, how regularly it needs to be done and we give you a tip on the best cage to buy if you want one that is easy to clean.
How often should you clean a guinea pig cage?
A guinea pig’s cage will need a daily clean to get rid of the poops and then a more thorough clean every 3-7 days depending on the type of bedding you use.
Baby guinea pigs will have smaller poops than more mature guinea pigs, so you will find they may need cleaning out a little more often as your guinea pigs grow up. If you have an extra large cage for your guinea pigs, the cage won’t become soiled as quickly as if you had a smaller cage. You might find that they urinate or poop mostly in one area of the cage or hutch which makes the daily clean much quicker.
You’ll see how much guinea pigs love a clean environment after you’ve cleaned them out and put the guinea pigs back in to their enclosure. Ours run around excitedly, making happy noises, and explore every part of the newly cleaned cage.
How to spot clean the cage
A daily spot clean involves removing the poops and any bedding that has become soiled and damp. It depends on the bedding that you are using in the cage as to how easy this is. Some bedding, such as pine bedding or hemp is very absorbent and won’t get damp as quickly as other types of bedding.
Fleece liners usually become damp quicker, but it is much easier to clean the poops as they sit on top of the fleece. You can use a small dustpan and brush or a handheld vacuum cleaner to do this job.
In summary, to spot clean the guinea pig cage:
- Remove as many poops as you can
- Remove the wet, soiled bedding
- Add more bedding if necessary
How to do a Full Cage Clean
Before you begin to clean the cage, you will first need to put your guinea pigs in a safe enclosed area such as a run or indoor pen while you clean the cage or hutch. If you have a very large cage, you might be able to section it off so you can clean one half while the guinea pigs are in the other half and then swap sides.
Remove all bedding
Remove all the bedding and get rid of any poops, hay etc so that the cage is completely empty. If you have a recycling bin in your garden, you can put any soiled hay, shavings, paper bedding or hemp bedding in there. Otherwise you can bag it up for the rubbish bin.
If you use fleece liners or bath mats, you’ll need to give the bedding a good shake outdoors to remove as much hair and hay as possible before putting in the washing machine.
Clean and disinfect the cage
You will need a bucket of water and some pet-friendly disinfectant. Regular household cleaner should not be used as the chemicals in these products can be dangerous to your guinea pigs. Alternatively, you could use white vinegar to clean the cage.
If you are cleaning a wooden hutch, you will need a scrubbing brush and perhaps an old toothbrush to give the wooden flooring a good scrub. The toothbrush will get into the corners and edges to give a thorough clean. This is especially useful when cleaning a wooden hutch ramp.
If you’re cleaning a cage, you will be able to clean with a cloth or kitchen paper but the toothbrush may also come in handy for the corners. Spray the disinfectant around the cage (or on to the cloth) and clean thoroughly. Make sure your guinea pigs aren’t close by as it isn’t good for them to breathe in the spray.
If you have fleece hideouts, you’ll need to shake out any poops or hay and put these into the washing machine for a thorough wash.
Add fresh bedding
You should ensure that every part of the hutch or cage is absolutely clean and then leave it to dry. You could speed up this process by giving it a quick wipe over with a dry cloth to get the worst of the dampness out of the cage.
Once the housing is completely dry you can put in the fresh clean bedding and return the guinea pigs to their hutch or cage.
What is the easiest guinea pig cage to clean
A cage is generally much easier to clean than a hutch, as these enclosures will usually have a plastic wipeable base whereas a hutch will have a wooden base that requires a harder scrub.
All the cages we recommend are easy to clean including C&C cages and the Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat.
Fleece liners are an increasingly popular bedding choice for guinea pig cages, and for good reasons! Fleece liners are not only an eco-friendly alternative to other substrates, but they are also comfortable, less messy and money-saving (check our article the ultimate guide to using fleece liners for guinea pigs to know more). With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that fleece liners are sworn by so many guinea pig owners, all over the globe.
Because every guinea pigs’ parent dream is to be able to keep their cage cleaner for longer, here are for you 7 essential tips to keep your fleece liners cleaner for longer!
Tip #1: Change the location of your guinea pigs shelters
As prey animals, guinea pigs will often spend a lot of their time sleeping, eating, or resting in their hiding places (what a life to be a guinea pig!). As they enjoy the comfort of shelter, the amount of time spent lounging around their hideys means more time spent peeing and pooping in the same area! To keep your fleece liners fresh and clean for longer, consider changing up the location of your guinea pig hideys in order to give the busy spots a chance to air dry.
Tip #2: Turn the fleece liners round in the cage
If you wish to keep your cage layout much the same and you don’t wish to move your guinea pig’s shelters around, that’s okay too! You can simply rotate the entire fleece liner to achieve a similar result. For the same reasons as stated in tip number 1, by rotating your fleece liner each day, or every couple of days, you will give your the busy spots a chance to air dry.
Tip #3: Grab any opportunity to air dry your fleece liners
As apart of your guinea pig routine, it may be helpful to incorporate some time to air dry your fleece liners. When your guinea pigs are enjoying their floor time or any time outside of their cage, snap up the opportunity to remove you piggy fleece and air dry it! Whether it is 1 hour or as little as 30 minutes, hanging up your fleece liners to air dry will keep them fresh! If it’s a nice day outside, why not hang them in the garden for even a faster result?
Tip #4: Use pee pads in high traffic areas
When using fleece liners, many guinea pig parents will often opt to use pee pads as well. Pee pads are smaller sized liners that are placed on top of high traffic areas. They are also machine washable and a great way to keep your piggie’s home clean. You can purchase pre-made pee pads, such as the ones offered at Kavee in our guinea pig accessories section.
Tip #5: Do not use strong-scented detergents when cleaning your guinea pig cage
Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell and are sensitive to strong detergents and fragrances. When washing your guinea pig cage and fleece liners, avoid any detergents that are heavily fragranced as it can trigger your piggies to scent mark. Scent marking is a way for your guinea pigs to keep their environment familiar but, we warn you, it does not smell good!
Tip #6: When cleaning, always leave something from the previous cage
For the same reasons in tip number 6, guinea pigs enjoy familiarity. It’s important that, when you change out your guinea pig’s fleece liners, you leave something behind from the previous cage layout, so that your guinea pigs are reassured. This could be an old pee pad, soft toy, cuddle cup etc.. If the cage is cleaned out completely with all of your guinea pig’s scents removed, your guinea pig will try to quickly scent mark their territory. This will again, result in a messier cage as they rush to establish their smells.
Tip #7: Keep your liners clean with a daily swipe
Did you know that guinea pigs can poop up to 150 times a day!? That’s a lot of poop! By performing daily spot cleans, a quick sweep up of your piggie’s poops will keep your liners freshened up.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top essential seven tips for keeping your guinea pig fleece liners clean. By following our tips above you will be able to keep your liners for longer and your guinea pigs happy and healthy!
Read on for our guide to cleaning a hamster cage or guinea pig cage, including which products to use.
Updated 27 September 2021
By Cleanipedia Team
Spot-clean every day.
Clean the cage thoroughly once a week.
Make sure your pet is safe during cleaning.
Only clean half of the big items, such as toys.
Use antibacterial soap and hot water.
Make sure you rinse away all traces of soap.
Use white vinegar for lingering odours.
Hamsters and guinea pigs make fun and cute little pets, but their cages can get very smelly, unhygienic, and unhealthy if they’re left unwashed for too long! Here you can find tips on how often you should clean a guinea pig cage or hamster cage, what cleaning products to use, and a step-by-step cleaning guide. Read more for more tips on taking care of your hamster.
To clean out your hamster or guinea pig cage, it’s best to use warm water with a sponge and antibacterial spray from Cif.
How often should you clean a hamster cage or guinea pig cage?
How often do you clean a hamster cage? Is your guinea pig being cleaned out enough? If you’re not doing it regularly enough, you could cause your furry friend to become stressed or ill. Here we’ll answer FAQs to clear up everything you need to know about keeping your little critter clean and happy.
How often should I clean my hamster’s cage?
How often to clean a hamster cage or guinea pig cage depends on how soiled your pet gets.
How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?
You should be spot-cleaning once a day to prevent a build-up of dirt that becomes uncontrollable, and to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Remove uneaten fresh food every day to prevent fungi and bacteria from growing in the cage.
The whole cage should be cleaned at least once a week.
If your hamster or guinea pig chooses to go for wees and poos all over the cage instead of in one specific area, you may need to clean it out more often.
When should I clean out my hamster or guinea pig cage?
To prevent your hamster or guinea pig becoming stressed, try to ensure that you are cleaning out the cage at the same time every time. Choose a day that suits you and stick to it each week.
When it comes to understanding how to clean a guinea pig cage or hamster cage, there are a few simple steps for you to follow:
Put your pet into a playpen or hamster ball (this is a great way to encourage them to get some exercise, too!).
Make sure you check on them throughout the cleaning process to ensure you don’t have an escapee or a pet in trouble.
Give your guinea pig somewhere to hide, such as a small cardboard box.
Make sure there are no loud noises or bigger pets around that could scare your hamster or guinea pig.
Remove half of the larger items from the cage and place in a washing up bowl with hot, soapy water to clean them. The other half should smell like your pet so do not clean them all at once. We recommend alternating the washing so every item is cleaned once every two weeks.
Use clean, hot, soapy water clean the food dish and water bottle. Take care to also clean the mouth piece.
Rinse all items thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.
Scoop out litter, discarded food and any other dirty solids from the bottom of the cage.
Using antibacterial soap and a sponge, scrub the cage. This includes the interior and wire bars.
Leave it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes.
Rinse well with clean water.
Dry using clean paper towels.
Put the hamster cage back together. This includes:
Placing down new bedding and litter.
Refilling the water bottle and dry food dish.
Putting all its homely features back in their usual spot, including the ones that have not been washed.
My hamster or guinea pig cage smells, what can I do?
If there is an issue with unpleasant odours coming from your hamster cage, simply wipe it down with white vinegar and leave to air dry before putting in new litter and replacing all the washed parts.
With this simple guide, you now have everything you need to know about cleaning a hamster cage or guinea pig cage so you can enjoy your little furry friend. Plus, keep your fishy friends healthy, hygienic and happy as well with our guide on how to clean a fish tank.
Guinea pigs are soooo cute and lovable, and they all have their own unique, adorable little personalities. But it doesn’t take long to figure out that guinea pigs, like all pets, do have a downside. And here it is: Guinea pigs poop and pee a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT!!
We have tried everything in our cage from Carefresh paper bedding to Aspen wood shavings to homemade fleece liners to custom fleece liners. We find that custom fleece liners work best for our family and our guinea pigs. But how to keep the cage clean and smelling fresh? The truth is you will never completely eliminate the smell and mess, but you can definitely reduce it. Here are our top 5 Pro Tips to keep your guinea pig fleece bedding smelling clean and fresh:
1) Make sure your fleece has a good absorbent layer: The first thing to know about fleece liners is that you MUST have some kind of absorbent layer under the fleece. Throwing a couple of yards of fleece into the bottom of the cage isn’t really going to have the desired effect you are looking for. Some people make their own liners and use U-Haul blankets for the absorbent layer. Other people use towels, puppy pads or incontinence pads under the fleece. There is always a lot of discussion on social media groups about how to “wick” the fleece. In other words, you want the moisture to flow through the fleece and not pool on top of it. Some people say to soak in vinegar and wash a few times. But I have never had much of an issue with wicking. I think it might depend on the quality of fleece you are using. The $2.99 fleece throws you get at Walmart may not perform as well as a higher quality fleece you get at the fabric store. But it is a good way to start.
We have a 4×2 C&C cage with a 2 x 1 loft for our two piggies, Ginger and Cocoa. We currently use custom cage liners from Piggy BedSpreads, and we totally love them! They are made in USA and the quality is top-notch. We have two Piggy BedSpread liners, and we have literally washed one every week for the last three years and they both still look like new. They have a waterproof layer on the bottom, an absorbent layer in the middle, and fleece on top. The best part is that the liners go up and over the sides of the coroplast, similar to a bottom bed sheet. This makes cleanup fast and easy, and the guinea pigs can’t get underneath the fleece to cause trouble.
Other people swear by GuineaDad liners, but we haven’t tried them. There are also a lot of really nice handmade liners on Etsy. Here are two I recommend:
- Heather’s Piggy Fleece
- Furry Friends of Mine
2) Set up a covered kitchen area: This has dramatically reduced the mess for us, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem, since it is next to impossible to potty train guinea pigs. To encourage them to go in their designated spot, we fill two plastic trays from the Dollar Store with Carefresh or Aspen shavings and put it at one end of the cage. We sometimes use low-profile produce cardboard boxes from Costco and Aldi instead of the plastic trays. We put the water bottle by one tray, and a soft, expandable hay bag that our daughter made by the other tray. Then, we drape a large piece of fleece over that end of the cage and clothes-pin it to make the piggies feel safe and secure. Sometimes we empty the trays after a few days, other times just once a week. Let your nose be your guide!
3) Sweep daily and do a full cage cleanout at least once a week: We are pretty strict about the daily sweep and weekly clean. Any less than that and the smell becomes overwhelming. A clean cage is also better for the health and wellness of your piggies. You can also change out the kitchen area and any fleece beds that might need it after a few days.
4) Prevent problems by preventing spills: Of course, our STAYbowl® Tip-Proof Bowl is another great way to reduce cage mess. We invented this bowl after we got tired of sweeping up and throwing out dumped and wasted kibble. Our two little princess piggies refused to eat any of the kibble after they walked, pooped and peed on it. This little bowl has actually saved us a ton of money and we no longer waste any kibble. It’s lower profile than most pet bowls, which makes it easier for the piggies to reach their food. In addition, the small size helps with portion control. The small STAYbowl® holds ¼ cup, which is just right for two guinea pigs, and the large holds ¾ cup, which is great for 3-6 piggies. Most vets say to limit adult guinea pigs to ⅛ cup – or 2 Tbl. – of kibble per day. More than that can lead to painful bladder stones or other health problems. They also recommend providing unlimited hay and water, and about 1 cup of fresh veggies every day. The STAYbowl® is available in two sizes and four colors here: www.wheekypets.com.
5) Use a Wheeky® Pets Laundry Helper: This laundry bag has made our weekly cleanup a breeze! It is a polyester bag with a special non-stick coating that keeps all the hay, hair and poops out of your washing machine. There are a few tricks to using this bag, though, so you will want to follow the detailed instructions that come with the bag. A few of these tricks include putting your laundry detergent and ½ cup of white vinegar directly INTO the bag, only fill the bag half-full, and to shake the wet fleece outside after the wash cycle before drying. Having the detergent concentrated inside the bag helps to lift the hair and debris out of the fleece, allowing it to fly away when you shake the wet fleece outside. Whatever small amount of debris that is left on the fleece will end up in the dryer vent trap. This bag is a lifesaver! Get yours here.
Those are our top 5 Pro Tips on keeping your guinea pig cages smelling clean and fresh with fleece liners! Please comment below with your own tips, or feel free to share this article with your friends!
Caring for guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) is a privilege that involves a commitment of both time and effort. Owning cavies isn’t only about feeding them properly and giving them plenty of positive attention; it’s also about making sure that their living environments are always as clean and comfortable as can be.
Regular Cleaning Sessions
Clean your guinea pigs’ enclosure a minimum of once weekly, no matter what. Guinea pigs are highly social critters and many owners keep several of them in the same cage. If this is the case for you, you might need to clean the cage a little more often. Since guinea pigs are innately tidy creatures, they often get extremely frustrated and stressed out when they’re in the middle of grubby surroundings. Keep your guinea pigs content and relaxed by thoroughly cleaning their cage frequently.
When you clean your guinea pigs’ cage, use warm water that is mixed in with biodegradable soap. You can also use a gentle disinfectant of one part white vinegar and three parts H20. Never keep your guinea pigs in the cage as you clean. When you clean, place them in a secure temporary environment, such as a transport carrier, with ample ventilation. Diligently scour the enclosure with the water mixture. Get everything from the ground to the wire. Eliminate all remnants of stool matter and urine, if you see any. When you’re done, carefully rinse the entire enclosure. Then pat it down so it isn’t even remotely damp. Never allow your cavies in a wet or even slightly moist environment.
Daily Cage Upkeep
Extensive weekly cage cleaning is crucial for guinea pigs’ well-being, and daily upkeep is, too. If your cavies’ bedding is messy with any signs of urine or stool matter, take it out and bring in brand new bedding immediately. Also wash all of your pets’ food containers daily. Cleanse their meal dishes and water bottles using warm water blended with biodegradable soap.
While you don’t want to make your guinea pigs nervous and exhausted and take them out of their cages every day for extensive cleaning sessions, you definitely want to make sure that they’re never in filthy surroundings. If an unpleasant odor ever emanates from your cavies’ enclosure, it’s a sign that a cleaning session is overdue. Refreshing their bedding routinely usually prevents bad odors, too.
Don’t just use anything to clean your guinea pigs’ cage. Many common household products can actually be hazardous to cavies. Refrain from employing any products that consist of phenolics, for example. These compounds are poisonous to guinea pigs, and therefore are a major no-no. Avoid employing any products that include aggressive chemicals, too. If you ever have any questions about what to use to clean your pets’ cage, consult a veterinarian.
You will want to schedule your weekly cleanings to be done on a day you have off so you don’t need to rush.
With that said, it should only take 30-45 minutes to do a complete cleaning.
First, you will want to temporarily relocate your guinea pig. Some ideas:
- Pet carrier or playpen
- Your bathtub – Make sure the drain is plugged.
- Free roam – If the room is setup with no wires on the ground and not accessible to other pets, you can let your pigs roam around while you clean
Next, you will need a cleaning solution to wipe everything down. I recommend a mixture of water and white distilled vinegar with a 1:1 ratio. Throw that into a spray bottle and you’re on your way.
Let’s get to it. Here are the steps you will want to take for the weekly cleaning:
- Remove all items from the cage such as food dishes, water bottle, hides, toys (pretty much everything besides the bedding).
- Remove all of the bedding. Toss it.
- Remove all of the newspaper or potty pads (if you use those). Toss it.
- Wipe down the cage bottom, sides and wires with the vinegar solution.
- Wipe down all hides, toys (not the chew toys) and fabric items with the vinegar solution.
- Replace all of the hay in the hay feeder.
- Use a bottle brush to clean out the water bottle (clean both tube and tip).
- Lay down fresh newspaper and potty pads (if you use those)
- Add new, fresh bedding
- Add all of the toys and hides back
Basically, this is almost a complete breakdown of the cage.