My interest is in small animals. I found out many years ago that having a pet is very therapeutic and soothing.
Maintaining Sanitary Conditions for Your Cavies
Once you set up a guinea pig cage (or build one yourself), you will need to clean it every day to prevent bacteria buildup from their feces or urine, which can ultimately lead to infection. Here, I would like to show you how easily and quickly you can get it done.
To make it simple for everyone to understand my instructions, I will divide the cage into three parts:
- The upper level, or what I also call the guinea pigs' chilling room
- The lower level, which acts as their playground
- The dining room/bathroom
Daily vs. Weekly Cleaning
There are actually two ways to clean the cage:
- Every day, I clean it just by changing the wood-chip bedding.
- Twice a week, I change the wood-chip bedding as well as the towel I provide for their playground.
This Is How My Guinea Pigs' Cage Looks After a Day Without Cleaning
Potty Training Provides a Huge Benefit
See? It is really not bad if the guinea pigs are potty trained.
All the little black dots in the picture above are their poop, and the urine was pretty full as well on this day when I had changed their litter box. I had missed a day of cleaning because of work and errands, and when I got home I was too tired to do any more work.
From the picture above, you can see that they kept their little carpet area clean and did most of their business inside the tray.
How to Clean the Cage
This is the process I use when cleaning out my pets' cage. Expect it to take about 10 minutes.
1. Relocate the guinea pigs.
Before starting the cleaning procedure, I take both of my guinea pigs from the cage and put them in a bucket. It can be any bucket or their traveling cage, as long as they can be comfortable while waiting for you to finish cleaning up their home. However, I don't always have to move them, because they run up to the top level when I decide to clean, which makes my life even easier. I think they realize I'm about to clean and prefer the top level rather than the bucket or travel cage.
2. Remove and wipe down cage items.
Next, I take their toys, food bowl, water bottle, and pigloo out of the cage, then wipe them down with my 50/50 water-and-vinegar solution. Then, to take out the vinegar smell, I spray a very little amount of rubbing alcohol and let it dry. Some of the toys I don't always use.
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3. Clean the towel.
The next thing I do is take my lint roller and roll it on the towel. Twice a week, when I change the towel, I will skip this step and instead take the towel out of the cage, dust it off outside, and put it in the laundry machine.
Their towel is usually clean, but over time, it will start to have an odor no matter how clean it is because their little paws track in urine. But to make sure any hair on the towel does not cause any problems, it is best to dust it off or vacuum it before it goes into the washing machine.
4. Dump out the bedding.
The fourth thing I do is take out the coroplast and litter box I provided my piggies for their bathroom/dining room and dump all the wood-chip bedding in a big trash bin. Dumping it into a big trash bin rather than a small one lessens the likelihood of spilling any of the chips, but if there are spills, I just take the broom and dustpan and clean them.
5. Clean the coroplast.
After dumping everything out from the coroplast, I spray with my solution again and then wipe it off. And just like how I clean the toys and everything else, I spray a little rubbing alcohol, then let it dry. It’s pretty much the same process, except I need to be thorough with the coroplast because this is where my piggies stay and eat most of the time.
6. Cover the coroplast and add fresh bedding.
For the next step, I cover the coroplast with old newspaper for more absorption, top it off with wood-chip bedding, and return it to the cage.
7. Refill the food and water.
After that, I refill the food bowl with the guinea pigs' pellets and change the water in their bottles in order to keep it fresh at all times.
8. Return everything to the cage.
Lastly, I put their toys, food bowl, and water bottle back to their cage. And that’s about it; I return my piggies to their cage, and all is well.
And We're Done!
As mentioned earlier, all of this will take about 10 minutes. The process is fairly quick and painless, providing that your pets are potty trained to use a litter box.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Dave Rogers
Dave Rogers (author) from New York on November 07, 2020:
Super late reply sorry, but took me a few weeks but i find it differs from one pig to another
Carolyn D-G on March 23, 2020:
Hi, Dave. I just started to train my guinea pig to potty in the potty pan. she wants to potty outside the pan. How long does it take to potty train guinea pig?
Hazel on July 15, 2018:
It is awesome you helped my a lot.
anna on July 13, 2018:
I love it!
Lo on September 04, 2017:
i need help what food should I buy
An on February 01, 2017:
Do I have to keep the towel area clean every day if they still keep peeing there and don't get the hint I am giving? Thanks in advance.
An on February 01, 2017:
Thanks so much. I will give it a try. And hope that my guinea pigs get the hint. :-)
Lisa on January 05, 2017:
Isn't it bad to use wood chips?
Dave Rogers (author) from New York on November 29, 2016:
The top has a small liter box, when I don't have time to change it and it's bad, they usually go to the top to do their business.
Eric on November 27, 2016:
Just curious if that is a second litter box up in the loft?
Dave Rogers (author) from New York on August 02, 2016:
sorry for the late replies, I use a regular towel, sometimes even a beach towel. I clip their nails about once a week and they never seem to get tangled in the towel, or I just never caught it. They popcorn a lot in there so I have a few layers, there is a soft foam padding wrapped in a bed sheet and then the towel over on top. I change the towel depending on how dirty it gets, they are fairly clean, I had even left it for a month with no smell but when I clean I just vacuum the towel.
The wood chip is fully changed once every three days, I pour in a lot and scoop out little at a time as they poop or pee. the chips absorb the waste pretty well, but i usually change according to the piggies attitude, when its too dirty they act all edgy and get pretty stupid too. So just go according to what you feel about it.
Thanks again for reading.
Dave Rogers (author) from New York on January 29, 2016:
1. It's just a regular bathroom towel, inever had the piggies get tangled up in the fabric before. Maybe the new towels since they are fluffier than the used ones. But as long as you keep their nails maintained it should be fine.
2. I change the bedding about once a week or sometimes if I that is getting too dirty.
3. The towel I vacuum when I clean their cage out. I don't use lint rollers they seem to collect alot in one roll.
Thank you so much for your comment. And I'll be sure to let them know you think they're cute. :)
Lyn on January 28, 2016:
Hello, this post was very helpful. We got my daughter a new cage that looks exactly like yours. I have a few questions for you.
1.What is the long price of fabric (red carpet) made out of? I think you mentioned it was a towel. I use fleece but it gets SO full of fur quickly and the fur gets trapped way in the fabric. I would love to use a towel but I read that piggies can get their paws tangled in towel fabric. If yours is towel do your piggies paws get tangled?
2. How often do you change your wood chip area? You mentioned you clean everyday but does that mean you throw out the wood chips everyday? That seems very expensive.
3. Just to clarify did you say you change the red carpet twice a week? And do you use the lint roller on it on the days you don't change it?
4. What do you use underneath the red carpet?
Thank you SO much in advance for taking the time to answer my questions. By the way, your piggies are very cute!
Kat on December 10, 2014:
when piggies have a good diet they don't need viimatn supplements. if you use drops etc in the water or food they may nt eat/drink it as it changes the flavour you also can't tell if the piggies is getting enough, if you feed a slice of green bell pepper (no stems or seeds) a piece of broccoli or some corriander along with 2 or 3 other types of veggies the piggy will get enough viimatn c. also some shops will tyr and sell you mineral and or salt block piggies don't need these either. please get 2 piggies they are social creatures and should be kept in same sex pairs.