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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.