Rat Cage Cleaning Guidelines
When it comes to cleaning your rat cage, it’s good to know the basics so that you can keep your rats healthy and happy. The best way to do this is by both spot cleaning on a daily basis and deep cleaning weekly.
Spot Cleaning Your Rat Cage
Regular spot cleaning includes wiping the bars, ramps, and floor with unscented baby wipes. Cleaning up the old pee will significantly reduce the foul odor coming from the cage. So, wiping everything down on a regular basis so that no pee or poop is left sitting around.
When performing your daily cage cleaning, sniff the fleece lining and hammocks a quick sniff to make sure they do not smell really bad. Sometimes rats decide to use the bathroom in their hanging hammocks and the material gets really stinky. When this occurs, you can pop them into the washer even before you do a deep cleaning later on.
It’s also rather easy to tell whether or not the rats have recently been laying around in their pee by smelling the rats themselves. When a rat hasn’t been sleeping in their bathroom waste, males tend to smell naturally musky like sandalwood. Females smell sweet like fruit-flavored candy. Once they start smelling like urine, it’s time to clean up the fabric materials within the cage. Also, consider bathing your rats either in the sink/bathtub or using wipes made specifically for cleaning rats.
Ultimately, it’s most important that you perform the sniff test and wipe the cage using baby wipes. Some people use products like vinegar or cleaning chemicals. But the odor isn’t pleasant for the rats to breathe in. Baby wipes come in unscented and easy on the sensitive snoot of a rat. But they’re designed for cleaning urine and poop from babies and are effective for cleaning a cage as well. It shouldn’t take too long to perform a daily spot cage cleaning. I perform my cage cleanings when I wake up before giving my rats their breakfast.
Weekly Cleanings for Your Rat Cage
It’s important to occasionally fully clean the cage including wiping down all of the bars, the floors, the ramps, and every other cage surface. You don’t always have to go so far as to take the cage apart and rinse everything off unless you want to completely diminish the cage odors, but this is recommended to do at least monthly.
When doing a deep cleaning, you should take the rats out of the cage first. You can use some diluted bleach or vinegar, a sponge or a rag, and some gloves to clean everything from top to bottom, inside and outside. You can rinse the cleaning solution with a wet rag and dry it with a towel. This is the best time to clean all of the toys, litter boxes, bowls, hammocks, and fleece linings.
You can clean things like toys and litter boxes by soaking them in diluted bleach for at least 10 minutes. The soft materials like fleece linings and scraps and the hammocks can be washed in the laundry after being shaken off outside to remove any bits of food or litter stuck to them. Deep cleaning is kind of time-consuming, and you can expect it to take at least one hour depending on the size of the cage.