How To Clean A Guinea Pig Cage With Vinegar – Guide
Guinea pigs are adorable and make excellent pets so it is important that you take care of them and make sure that you clean their cage regularly. When people buy guinea pigs from a pet store they are often told “just clean the guinea pig cage when it gets dirty” but that is not very good advice.
You want your guinea pigs to be healthy don’t you? Well if you don’t clean their cage regularly then there is going to be a buildup of ammonia from their urine and a lot of harmful bacteria growing for a number of different reasons. If you want to prevent your guinea pigs from getting sick then you have to go for a regular cleaning schedule.
How often should you Clean a Guinea Pig Cage?
A lot of guinea pig owners will tell you that it is time to clean the cage when it begins to smell. You never want your guinea pig cage to smell. We recommend that you clean your guinea pig cage at least on a weekly basis. It is essential that you perform spot cleaning every single day.
With spot cleaning you will remove any undesirable debris from the bedding such as droppings and uneaten food. If you are using hay then remove any areas that are soiled. You can use a dustpan and brush or even a vacuum cleaner to spot clean. If the bedding material is really soiled then change it altogether.
If you are using a fleece for bedding then remove it from the cage and sweep it or vacuum it. For a deeper clean use a curry comb or some other form of rubber brush to get rid of hairs in the fleece.
There are different factors to consider when determining how often you should clean a guinea pig cage. One of the most important factors is the material that you use for bedding. You can effective spot clean a fleece on a daily basis. If you are using shavings then it is best to replace these every three or four days.
If you have more than one guinea pig then you are going to have more droppings etc to contend with. Some people have multiple guinea pigs so the cleaning frequency is likely to be higher in this situation. Having a larger cage for more than one guinea pig will certainly help as there will be a greater distribution of waste rather than it being compacted in one place.
Consider the age of your guinea pigs as well when determining cage cleaning frequency. Older guinea pigs tend to make a lot more droppings than younger pigs do so if you have a collection of older pigs expect to clean the cage more frequently.
So at the end of the day there is not a single answer to how often you should clean your guinea pig cage. It does depend on a number of different factors. You can never clean a guinea pig cage too often so go for more regular cleaning to ensure the health of your pigs.
Why use Vinegar to Clean a Guinea Pig Cage?
You want to give your guinea pig cage a thorough clean to protect your pets but at the same time you do not want to harm them by using powerful chemicals. The safest way to clean your guinea pig cage is by using white vinegar.
Many people don’t know that white vinegar is a very good cleaner. It is very versatile and will cut through dirt and grime fairly easily. White vinegar has powerful acidic properties and this enables it to break down ammonia and other alkaline substances found in guinea pig urine.
One of the best things about using white vinegar is that it kills bacteria effectively. This will be a great help for reducing the amount of odor in your guinea pig cage. It is best to use a spray bottle for cleaning and all you need is a cup of water, around five drops of liquid soap and a cup of white vinegar.
If you have really stubborn stains to remove from your guinea pig cage then you can use concentrated white vinegar here. Using an old toothbrush afterwards is a good idea. For normal stains just use the mixture in your spray bottle.
If you need something that’s made for cleaning cage then I highly recommend these 2 cage cleaner products I use and like.
1. Natural Cage Cleaner with Odor Prevention: Cage & Toy Wash for Small Animals & Birds
2. Amazing Small Animal Cage Cleaner
The Steps for Cleaning a Guinea Pig Cage
Follow the steps here and you won’t go wrong.
Move your Guinea Pigs to a Temporary Location
You can’t clean the cage with your guinea pigs in it so you need a temporary location for them where they will be safe. It is important that you have something setup for this and we would always recommend a enclosed solution such as a box with an open top. Whatever you do don’t be tempted to let your guinea pigs roam around in a room. This is asking for trouble.
Add some nice bedding to this temporary location and some food and water. Make sure if you are using a box that the sides are high enough so that your pigs won’t escape. When using this temporary location for the first time you need to allow your pigs to settle in.
Guinea pigs are pretty skittish creatures and can find new surroundings a bit scary. Make sure that you place the temporary box in a safe place away from people walking by and loud noises. You don’t want your precious pigs to injure themselves because something startled them and they start dashing around like crazy.
The Weekly Clean (or whenever you need to perform a thorough clean)
We have already discussed the frequency of thoroughly cleaning a guinea pig cage. This should be at least on a weekly basis or more frequent if the situation calls for it. Don’t think that you can just get by with daily spot cleaning because it is not enough. It will not take long for your guinea pig cage to start smelling bad if you just do this.
Remember that your guinea pigs spend all the time in their cage and they will pee and poop in it as well as sleep, eat and play. You must clean the cage thoroughly on a regular basis to keep your beloved pets healthy.
The first step of a thorough clean is to remove all of the objects from the cage. This not only means the food and water bowls but also toys that they play with as well. You will want to clean all of these items as well as the cage.
Now remove any nasty debris from the items that you removed from the cage. Clean the food and water bowls and the toys using hot water containing soap. If you are using a blanket in your guinea pig cage then use hot and soapy water to wash this as well. In some guinea pig cages there is a removable hidey house so take that out and clean it as well.
The next step all depends on the type of bedding that you use in the cage. If you are using disposable materials then take them out of the cage and put them into a garbage bags. We strongly recommend that you use either rubber or disposable plastic gloves when cleaning your guinea pig cage.
If you use a fleece and a towel or a blanket for bedding then remove these ready for washing. You should now be looking at an empty guinea pig cage and you want to remove any remaining debris such as hay, dirt, droppings and so on. You can use a vacuum cleaner to suction these out or a dustpan and brush. Put this debris in a garbage bag.
Now it is time for you to scrub inside your guinea pig cage using hot water and a mild detergent. Make sure that you thoroughly clean all of the surfaces. After this comes the disinfection stage. Use your spray bottle containing the white vinegar. Leave the cage for a while after you have disinfected it.
Use water to rinse the cage out thoroughly. It is important that you remove all traces of your white vinegar disinfectant. After rinsing smell the cage and if you still detect the vinegar then rinse it again.
Finally you need to completely dry the cage by using paper towels. Be thorough here and get into all of those nooks and crannies. Air drying your guinea pig cage is also a good option. Just make sure that there is no dampness left after drying.
The best way to test your drying is to run your hand over the cage surfaces. If you detect any wet places then you will need to use some more paper towels. Getting rid of all of the moisture is a must because you can create a mold situation and this can make your guinea pigs sick.
Time to Replace Everything
OK so you are certain that your guinea pig cage is 100% dry. Now you need to replace everything in the cage. Use clean bedding or new disposable liner. Add your completely dry food and water bowls, toys, hidey house and whatever else was in the cage before you cleaned it. Never place dirty items in a clean cage.
It is up to you where you place the additional items. You may feel more comfortable putting them back in the exact same place they were before cleaning. But sometimes it is good to mix it up and place the items in different locations so that it becomes somewhat of an adventure for your pigs to find everything.
Make sure that you replenish the water and food bowls with clean water and new food. Add some new hay as well. To make your guinea pigs really feel at home again why not add a few treats in places they will need to find them so they get used to their home quickly again. Now you can put your guinea pigs back into the cage.