Properly cleaning a rat cage can seem like a daunting task. In this guide, we’ll cover safe cleaning products, tricks to make cleaning faster and proper cage cleaning routines. Here’s how to safely and easily clean a rat cage.
How often should I clean a rat cage?
If you read our guide to minimising smell from rats, you’ll know that over-cleaning is a bad idea. So how often should you clean? Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer to that. How often you clean will depend on the size of your group, the age of your group and your cage setup (find cage setup tips here). The right time to clean comes as you get used to your setup, and can be trial and error.
A full clean can be done as often as you think it needs it; for most people, that’s a couple of weeks.
This system saves you lots of time; a spot clean can take just a few minutes and saves the longer full cleans for only a few times a month.
What is safe to clean a rat cage with?
Remember that rats have a very sensitive respiratory system and will chew everything. It’s very important to use cleaning products that are pet safe, and don’t leave any residue or strong scents behind.
There are lots of cleaning sprays available at pet shops, but actually, the best, and cheapest, cleaning option is white vinegar. To clean plastics and cage bars, mix white vinegar and water into a spray bottle and spritz as you clean. Add a capful of white vinegar to your wash if you’re washing ropes, hammocks and other fabrics from the cage. The white vinegar cleans effectively and is the best way to kill any urine smells. It also doesn’t leave any nasties behind that might upset your rats.
Baby wipes are also a safe option and can be handy for getting into awkward corners, or doing quick spot cleans.
Quick rat cage cleaning tips
- Don’t forget to wipe down the bars. They can get surprisingly gungy, especially around sleeping areas and litter trays.
- Pull the cage out occasionally to clean underneath and around it. Substrate gets kicked everywhere, and if you keep boys, you might find they can pee further than you’d think…
- Use nail clippers to clip off cable ties. Scissors take ages and hurt your fingers.
- Wooden items can get very stinky. You can clean them with vinegar, but lots of owners swear by leaving them outside in the weather for a couple of days. Just make sure they’re properly dry before you put them back in the cage.
- If you can’t remove the base tray from your cage, you can use a scoop or a dustpan and brush to sweep out the substrate, and then use a hoover to get the rest.