Clean Your Guinea Pig’s Cage: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re not careful, the bottom of a guinea pig cage can get disgusting faster than your guinea pigs can “wheek”. And you’re probably wondering, “How do you clean the bottom of a guinea pig cage?”  Just follow these steps:

  1. Move your guinea pigs into a safe, secure location. 
  2. Remove everything from the cage and toss soiled things in the trash.  
  3. Wash all fabric-based items. 
  4. Clean the bottom, sides, and wires of the cage.
  5. Wipe down all non-fabric hideouts and items with the vinegar solution.
  6. Vacuum or sweep
  7. Wash water bottles and food bowls thoroughly
  8. Make sure the cage is dry. 
  9. Build from the bottom up. 
  10. Welcome your piggies home! 

It looks like a lot initially, but the cleaning a guinea pig cage can be done efficiently and easily. Once you have the basic tools and systems you need to tidy your guinea pig’s enclosure, the process goes pretty quickly. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about keeping your guinea pig’s cage in tip-top shape. 

How Do I Deep Clean My Guinea Pig’s Cage?

A deep clean is simply a comprehensive cleanout of your furry friend’s enclosure. Everything in the cage and the bottom of it are given a thorough cleaning. It’s typically done once a week (or more).  It depends on how messy your guinea pigs are and the type of bedding you use.  

To have an easier, quicker cage cleaning experience, you need: the right tools and the right cleaning routine.

Gather Your Tidy Tools

To keep your little friend’s cage neat and tidy, gather the proper cleaning materials.  Be sure to keep your guinea pig cleaning supplies separate from your household cleaning supplies (including vacuums). 

That way you won’t inadvertently spread germs to yourself or your family, causing sickness.  Keep the supplies  in a storage bin or basket near your guinea pig’s enclosure. 

At the bare minimum, these are the basic supplies that you need:

  • Stiff brush and dust pan
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic gloves (optional, but highly sanitary)
  • Trash bag
  • Trash can
  • Spray bottle of white vinegar and water (½ and ½)
  • Fresh bedding
  • Shop vac / Handheld vacuum cleaner (optional, but very useful)

Use a Step-By-Step Cage Guinea Pig Cleaning System

This is a detailed breakdown of how to deep clean of a guinea pig’s cage. No stone has been left unturned. Take a peek

  1. Move your guinea pigs into a safe, secure location.  This can be in a pet-proofed exercise pen or you can put your cavies in a run. Make sure they’re protected from other household pets and predators.
  2. Remove everything from the cage and toss soiled things in the trash.  Water bottles, bedding, fleece squares, food dishes, toys need to be removed. Throw away all loose bedding, newspaper, uneaten food, puppy pads (if you use those)-whatever else you may use. 
  3. Wash all fabric-based items.  Wash them with a hypoallergenic and unscented detergent.  You should also add a cup of vinegar to help with the urine odor.
  4. Clean the bottom, sides, and wires of the cage. Wipe out the enclosure with a pet-friendly cleaner or make your own vinegar and water mixture (see table below).  Wipe clean and dry with a damp rag.  Make sure that there isn’t a lingering smell of vinegar, which could irritate your piggie pal’s nose.
  5. Wipe down all non-fabric hideouts and items with the vinegar solution. Use a scrubbing brush to remove droppings they may have gotten stuck on the bottom of items.  Rinse them with water and let them air dry or wipe them dry with a paper towel.
  6. Vacuum or sweep.  Swoop up any bedding, waste or food that has been kicked out of the cage. If possible, empty your vacuum filter afterwards. 
  7. Wash water bottles and food bowls thoroughly.  Use a baby bottle brush on the hot, soapy water. 
  8. Make sure the cage is dry.  Give it some help by wiping up the dampness with a paper towel or rag.  You can sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on the bottom to absorb more odors if you’d like – just make sure that your guinea pigs won’t add to it.  
  9. Build from the bottom up.  Add a layer of newspaper (or puppy pads or other absorbent layer).  Then add your pine (or aspen) shaving or your fleece squares or your cage liner of choice.  When using shavings, try to have 2 to 3 inches of bedding. Arrange hidey holes and toys in the cage (new rearrangements excite guinea pigs). Replace food dishes and refilled water bottles.
  10. Welcome home!  Place your guinea pigs back into their new sweet-smelling enclosure.

What Is Spot Cleaning And How Do I Spot Clean My Guinea Pig’s Cage?

Spot cleaning is the regular refresher that you give your guinea pig’s enclosure. 

Remove droppings and damp bedding daily (or every other day), so that your guinea pig isn’t lying and walking in her own filth.  

Usually, each cage has “problem areas” where your guinea pig tends to urinate. Focus on those areas. These areas include:

  • The corners of cages
  • In hideys or pigloos
  • In the “kitchen area” where your guinea pig eats
  • Anywhere in the cage where your guinea pig likes to relax

Once you’ve trashed the soiled bedding, replace it with fresh new bedding.  This should be done at least every other day.  Ideally, it’s done daily-based on the needs of your guinea pigs, your cage set up, and what sort of bedding you use.  Below there are a few simple steps to help keep you on track

  • Remove any leftover food and waste.
  • Trash any soiled, loose hay piles and replace with fresh hay .
  • Pick up any stray poos from fleece with a stiff brush and mini dust pan or a vacuum. NOTE: Shop vacs work well for this type of chore.
  • Scoop out and remove any wet, soiled sections in the “kitchen” area — stir it up or add more fresh, dry bedding as appropriate.
  • Change any wet puppy pads, towels, or newspapers, if necessary
  • Stuff more hay into the hay rack.  Our piggie pals always need plenty 
  • Pour out the old water and replace water in the water bottles or bowls.

What Are Some Budget-Friendly Cleaning Hacks That Can Be Used?

Because cavies have very sensitive noses, avoid using harsh, undiluted solutions for cleaning.  If you’re looking for some cleaning recipes or hacks to make the process a little bit easier, take a peek at the table below.

Cleaning PurposeRecipe / Cleaning Hack
Water bottle-clean the nozzle with a Q-tip and hot water
-use a baby bottle brush and wash with hot, soap water
-for hard-to-reach places, toss a handful of rice into the water bottle with a small amount of water
-shake the water bottle and the rice will clean all the debris out of the bottle; repeat until water bottle is clean
Bottom of the cage, hideys, and toys-1 part white vinegar to 1 parts water
-add to a spray bottle; spritz and wipe
-let area dry before adding bedding, toys, etc.
Intense disinfect the bottom of the cage-1 part bleach to 20 parts water
-add to a spray bottle; spritz and wipe dry
-let area dry before adding bedding, toys, etc.
Carpet stained with droppings or food-make a paste of vinegar and baking soda
-spread on the stain
-leave on for a few minutes
-pick up with a wet rag or paper towel

Here’s a video of a guinea pig’s cage cleaning:

Keep The Cage AS Possible & Keep Your Sanity

Here’s a quick tip.

To keep your piggie’s cage from becoming a complete dump…

Don’t let it get too dirty.

Staying ahead of the filth is the first step.

There are few tactics and strategies that you can do to help keep your piggie pal’s cage as clean as humanly possible….

Without sucking up all your free time. 

If you want some tips on how to keep your piggies clean and tidy, check out this post: The Ultimate Guinea Pig Bathing Guide [Wheeky Clean Tips) and Daily Guinea Pig Care Must Dos (Free Chore Chart)

Systems Strategies

  • Set up reminders and use checklists. You don’t want to skip or skimp on your spot cleaning and deep cleaning days.  When you’re a new pet parent (or if you’re a seasoned one hit by a bus called life) you can sometimes forget.
  • Be proactive. The enclosure will stay clean, if you’re proactive about tidying up little messes (spot cleaning) before they become big, stinky ones. 
  • Be observant.  You’re not just cleaning the enclosure; you’re responding to your guinea pig’s behaviors.  Where are your piggie’s favorite spots to pee? Make sure you find out and replace the bedding in those areas more frequently. Where are they likelier to make a mess? Deal with those areas on the regular, so that the mess doesn’t spiral out of control.

Physical Environment Tactics

  • Layer extra bedding (aspen shavings, fleece) in the areas of the cage where your furry potato likes to relax and eat.  Those are the spots where he’ll normally urinate and leave droppings.  That way, you can easily swap out those areas during spot cleaning-keeping the cage fresher longer. 
  • Use the bedding appropriately. Each type of bedding has it’s own maintenance requirements. You have to find one that suits you and your piggies.
  • Experiment with different types (and layers) of bedding.  There’s a huge amount of bedding choices out there.  You’ll have to find the right balance of bedding that controls odor and absorbs moisture.
  • Litter train your guinea pigs.  This is more likely to be successful if your guinea pig is young and you implement a mixture of positive reinforcement and behavior modification techniques patiently and consistently.
  • Make sure to use a big enough cage for the number of guinea pigs you’re keeping. Small cages get dirty more quickly because your little friends don’t have enough space to spread out to go to the bathroom.  A small cage results in your little friends traipsing through their own waste; you don’t want that. 
Number of Guinea PigsCage Size
1 Guinea Pig7.5 ft2 (minimum) but more is better
2 Guinea Pigs7.5 ft2 (minimum), but more is better
3 Guinea Pigs10.5 ft2 (minimum), but more is better
4 Guinea Pigs13 ft2 (minimum), but more is better

Source of the information from the table.

What’s Going On? The Cage Is Always Gross!

Do you feel like your guinea pig’s cage gets too dirty too often? Are those “problem areas” excessively damp?

If you keep finding a lot of soiled bedding in your guinea pigs cage, in spite of regular spot cleaning sessions, one (or more) of the following needs to happen:

  • Check your guinea pig’s water bottle(s) for leaks.  A leaky water bottle can slowly make a soggy mess of your little friend’s bedding.
  • Make an appointment with your vet. Take your pet to the vet if you notice an unusual increase in water drinking or urination. It can indicate an underlying health issue with the kidneys or bladder.
  • Increase your deep cleaning sessions.  Guinea pigs each have their own levels of cleanliness.  Maybe your guinea pigs are just naturally messy.  If so, there’s not much you can do…except up your tidy times.

No matter the cause, remember that your piggie pals are depending on you to keep their environment clean and fresh.  

Because the effects of a dirty enclosure are dangerous and detrimental to your piggie pal’s health.  

What Are The Consequences Of Having a Filthy Guinea Pig Cage?

There are a few reasons why it’s important to keep your guinea pig clean.  Most of them include protecting the health and safety of you and your little friend. 

  • Health Hazards: A dirty cage is downright unhealthy for your guinea pig.  The smell of ammonia from urine-drenched bedding can cause an upper respiratory infection (URI).  Also, walking on wet bedding can cause bumblefoot.  Both are life-threatening illnesses. A filthy cage is a breeding ground for ringworms. 
  • Stink City: Dirty cages absolutely reek.  The aroma of an unwashed cage is disgusting. The smell isn’t good for you and it isn’t good for your guinea pigs.  
  • Attract Uninvited Guests: Spoiled leftover food and your guinea pig’s waste can attract vermin, such as flies, rodents, mites and other infestations.  

Now You’re Ready to Keep Guinea Pig Cage “Wheeky” Clean

Dedicate 15 minutes a day to spot cleaning and 15 to 30 minutes each week (or more) to a thorough deep clean. 

Schedule reminders, use checklists, and set up a routine until the process becomes second nature.  With deliberate practice comes consistency and ease.

Be observant and look for possible causes of an excessively dirty cage (e.g. broken water bottles, inappropriate bedding, cage size increased urination).  Take action to solve the issue when necessary.

Do those things, and your guinea pig’s enclosure will be the pet pleasure palace of your dreams.  It’ll be easy.

Because you’ll have freaking mastered the basic foundation for keeping it that way: consistency and conscientiousness

If you want a clean guinea pig cage, commit yourself to the steps and routine to maintain it.

And then you (and your furry, little friend) can reap the rewards for the rest of your lives.

Related Questions 

What sort of bedding should I use for my guinea pig cage?

There’s a wide variety of bedding options available.  Fleece, bath mats, puppy pads, aspen shaving, Timothy hay are just a few.  Often owners will layer the bedding options in such a way that the top layer remains dry while urine is absorbed into lower layers.  

Do guinea pigs self-clean?

Guinea pigs self-clean, but they do need their pet parents’ help to stay that way from time-to-time.  For example, a guinea pig might need a bath (or a thorough wipe down) from her owner if she’s very sticky, muddy or is too old or sick to keep herself clean.

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How to care for your pet Guinea pig » small animal hospital » college of veterinary medicine » University of Florida. (n.d.). Small Animal Hospital » College of Veterinary Medicine » University of Florida. https://smallanimal.vethospital.ufl.edu/clinical-services/zoological-medicine/how-to-care-for-your-pet-guinea-pig/

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