How to Clean Your Guinea Pig’s Cage

Clean wooden guinea pig cage

Cleaning your guinea pig’s cage is important for multiple reasons. Not only does a clean cage equal happy pigs, it will also prevent them from getting serious health issues such as respiratory infections and bumblefoot.

We recommend that you clean the cage thoroughly at least every 3rd or 4th day, depending on the cage size and number of guinea pigs living together.

How to clean the cage when using fleece liners

Cage liners, often consisting of a fleece layer on top, are popular because they can be washed and reused. They add a nice, comfortable and soft layer for your guinea pigs to walk on, but they are a bit more challenging to keep clean and free from odors.

Daily cleaning:

Cage liners require daily spot cleaning, in order for them to stay fresh and nice as long as possible.

Here’s what we like to do on a daily basis:

  1. Sweep up poop and old veggies with a dustpan and brush.
  2. Gather any hay that’s been scattered across the liner and rearrange the hay pile.
  3. Consider rotating the liner, if your guinea pigs tend to pee in one corner only.

Every 3-4 days:

Every third or fourth day, it’s time for a thorough cleaning of your cage. This is where all liners are changed, and the cage is wiped down.

  1. Pick your guinea pigs up and put them in their play pen or allow a bit of floor time.
  2. Remove all houses, hay boxes (aka. kitchen area), food bowls, and inspect tham all carefully. If they’re dirty, clean them off using a brush and a wet cloth.
  3. Take out all cage liners, give them a shake or brush them off before putting them in the laundry basket.
  4. Now that your cage is stripped, spray a 50% water and 50% vinegar solution onto the bottom and let it sit for a while. The vinegar removes bad odor and acts as a mild disinfectant.
  5. Wipe the cage thoroughly using a paper towel, and let it dry completely before adding new liners to the bottom and putting your guinea pigs back into the cage.

How to clean the cage when using bedding

Wood shavings, such as kiln dried pine shavings for example, is a great bedding material for guinea pig cages. It’s highly absorbent, and as an added bonus it smells really well.

Daily cleaning:

There’s not much daily cleaning needed when using bedding, but here’s a few things that will make it last longer and prevent bad odors:

  1. Remove old veggies first thing in the morning.
  2. Rearrange the hay pile and top it off.

Every 3-4 days:

We like to do a partial replacement of the bedding after 3-4 days, because ours prefer to pee and poop in one corner only. If this is the case with your guinea pigs too, you can do the same.

Otherwise we recommend getting rid of all the bedding every third or fourth day, and replace it with a fresh layer.

Every seventh or eighth day we recommend changing all the bedding.

  1. Pick your guinea pigs up and put them in their play pen or allow a bit of floor time.
  2. Scrape up the bedding using a dustpan and a brush.
  3. After you’ve removed everything, spray a 50% water and 50% vinegar solution onto the bottom and let it sit for a while. Vinegar acts as a mild disinfectant, and removes bad odor as well.
  4. Wipe the cage using a paper towel, and let it air dry completely.
  5. If your guinea pigs managed to stain the sides of your cage, wipe it down using a wet cloth.
  6. Add a fresh layer of bedding, and put your guinea pigs back into the cage.

Keep your cage properly ventilated

A well ventilated cage is a healthy cage.

Not only do your guinea pigs smell better if the cage has proper ventilation, but you won’t run the risk of ammonia build-up inside the closure, which could lead to respiratory problems and even pneumonia (which often turns fatal).

In order to keep your guinea pig cage properly ventilated, follow these steps:

  1. Replace plastic houses with tunnels, braided hiding areas, shaded areas, etc., to secure a proper airflow.
  2. Keep the cage free from clutter. Remove unnecessary bells and whistles that prevent air from reaching the bottom of the cage.
  3. Don’t put entire cabbage leaves and other large food items into the cage as they’ll block air from accessing the bottom of the cage.
  4. If you use any type of bedding, you can fluff it up once or twice a day to make sure it’s aerated.
  5. Place the cage in a cool area of the house, preferably between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure the temperature keeps stable during day and night.
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