Pet Sort-Out


How Often Should You Clean Your Rat’s Cage? (+Steps & Tips)

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Welcoming home to a pet is not an easy task. Cleanliness is the basic lifestyle habit that we must develop for ourselves and our pets as well. Keeping in mind our busy work life, we can create a weekly routine to clean the rat cage.

So, how often should you clean your pet rat’s cage? You need to clean your pet rat’s cage of solid ratty waste every day. However, deep cleaning of the dirty bedding could be done once every week. You can use a mixture of liquid soap or detergent and water to thoroughly clean the rat cage. 

When we add a new member to our family, it is our duty to be responsible parents and take care of our pet rat. If you are a pet rat owner, you must understand that overcleaning their living space is not appreciated. Their living space must be cozy yet adequately free of solid waste. Like humans, every pet animal has distinct habits that they develop over time.

Proper observation and understanding of your rat’s habit will help you know about how often their cage needs a proper cleaning. Every pet deserves a clean and healthy space to live in, play, and do all the things they love to. An unclean cage or rat aquarium can result in severe health and respiratory hazards that can affect our little friend in the long run.

The process of cleaning a rat cage could be a daunting task to many pet rat owners. However, you can rest assured now, as we have got you covered!

In the article below, we will discuss how exactly you can clean your pet rat’s cage and every other related detail. I encourage you to have a thorough read to understand the process of cage cleaning at best.

Before diving into the deep, I would like to share my personal experience on rat cage cleaning as it was very unique. When I welcomed Goofy home, she was pretty good with me and her living space. I used to clean the pee and soil feces daily with soap water and DIY vinegar solutions sometimes.

Let me be honest, I am one of those hyper-protective pet parents who did not want to settle for any readily available market cleanser that may affect my pet’s health. Being a pet parent you have to be selective and cautious about the products you use. However, taking small risks and trying out less chemical-laden, and natural cage cleansing solutions I gained confidence. 

I have a daily, weekly, and monthly routine to clean Goofy’s cage that I follow religiously.

However, my rat cage cleaning routine also differs from season to season and my pet’s health needs. I would advise you to observe and know your pet friend well and then design a cage cleaning routine that suits your schedule too. All sorts of varied research work and reviews on the internet may scare you at first, but it gets better once you start getting your hands dirty. Cleaning Goofy’s cage is my child’s play now. There is more detailed information that I’m gonna share in the article as you read forward. I hope all my lessons will help you to take quality care of your small pet friend at best.

FrequencyYour Task 
Daily-Remove leftover food and refill the water bowl.
-Clean poop & disinfect the urine tray.
-Replace soaked pee bedding.
-Wipe cage wire.
Weekly-Clean and sanitize play accessories, food tray, and water bowl.
-Throw away or clean and sanitize dirty bedding.
-Clean and disinfect the cage.
Monthly-Deep cleansing and rearrangement of the cage.
Rat Cage Cleaning Routine Chart

How To Safely Clean A Rat’s Cage?

Pet rats are also known to many as fancy rats are often welcomed home by owners in groups. Furry cute rats are small animals, and their body and organ system is extremely sensitive. Cage cleaning by pet rat owners is tricky because one needs to be very careful about using odor-free cleansers and proper bedding. Rats love to chew on anything and almost everything. If they end up chewing the cage wires cleaned with synthetic cleaners, chances are their health will be affected.

Synthetic cleaners often leave behind a thin film of residue and can bother our pet friends. Though there are several pet-friendly cage cleaners available in the market today, I opt for homemade ones. They are not only pet friendly but also are easy to make and saves you money. I would always suggest you a natural homemade cleanser that works wonders in cleaning rat cages. 

You can make a mixture of plain white vinegar and water for cleansing purposes. Add a capful of white vinegar into five hundred milliliters of water and transfer it into a spray bottle. Now, slowly spray the mixture all over the cage wires and other pet rat accessories inside or around the cage. Vinegar is a good agent to eliminate the foul smell of rat feces and pee. Soak wipes or old clean cloth pieces in the mixture. Use these wipes to reach tough corners of the rat cage and clean your furry friend’s home thoroughly. If you choose to use baby wipes for rat care and cage cleaning, make sure that you buy the fragrance-free ones, which are also laden with fewer chemicals.

You need to keep your living space healthy, clean, and odorless. An unclean cage will influence your living space strongly. Thus, it becomes very important to take the right care and practice adequate steps to clean a rat cage. A wet rat cage bedding with urine will develop fungus and the feces mostly turns into ammonia. Both of these can severely affect the sensitive respiratory tract of your pet rat and can cost them their lives as well. 

Step Wise Rat Cage Cleaning Guidance

Rats are naturally skilled to keep themselves clean. But, being a pet parent, further grooming and cleaning responsibility lies with you. Here is how you can clean a rat cage step by step.

Step 1: Cleaning

The very first step starts with dry hand cleaning the rat cage. Remove the old bedding, soil feces, and other cage accessories. Once done, spray a detergent mix to wet and soak the cage wires or box. Soaking makes the cleaning process easier. You can put the wooden, plastic accessories in a bucket full of liquid soap water mixture and leave it for a minimum of 30 minutes. Take the help of a scrubber or brush to clean tough debris that may have accumulated over time in the cage. 

Step 2: Sanitizing

Wet bedding, accumulated urine, and solid ratty waste when leftover time can grow fungus and release ammonia. This becomes highly toxic for the rat and our home as well. Disinfecting or sanitizing the cage thus plays the second crucial role in cage cleaning. I often use a good medical antibacterial and antifungal sanitizer to free the cage of any bacterial growth. If that does not work for you try using a virucide to disinfect your pet rat’s cage. You can also use the same to clean a sick rat’s cage.

Step 3: Washing 

Washing the rat cage thoroughly with soap water or other chemical solutions is the third step in the cage cleaning process. Liquid soap mix, detergent solutions are the basic, cheap, and easy homemade solutions that most pet owners use. However, I have discussed using cage cleansing solutions in the article. Read on to learn more about cage cleaning solutions.

Step 4: Drying

Once you have nicely washed the cage and all other rat cage accessories with soap and water, it is time for drying. Do not ever put the accessories or rat back into the cage when it is wet. This may irritate the pet rats and lead to further fungal growth. I use a clean dry cloth to wipe all the wet accessories and cage. If you want and in case clothes do not work for you, try air drying the cage or you may keep the cage and the accessories in direct sunlight for a day or two to dry nicely.

Step 5: Rearranging

The last and final step in rat cage cleaning is rearranging the cage back to its actual design. Arrange all the pet rat toys and accessories in place. Keep the rat feeder or food tray and water bowl back to their actual place. Place the litter collecting tray beneath the cage and make cozy warm bedding. Finally, put your small furry friend back into his/her favorite home and enjoy.

Widely Used Cage Cleansing Solutions

It is not always possible to make and use a DIY cage cleaner. The medical and market-bought cleaners and wipes come handier and save us time and effort. The cage cleaners can be used all around the cage and floor to disinfect and clean your pet rat’s living space thoroughly.

I also use medically approved and anti-bacterial sprays to ensure maximum hygiene for my pet rat Goofy. Here are some of the most commonly used solutions that I have tried for my rat cage cleaning. Again, all of these are tried and tested and I advise you to give any of them a try.

  • A mixture of liquid soap and water.
  • A mixture of cloth washing detergent and water.
  • Antibacterial soap mix for sanitizing.
  • Hydroperoxide solution.
  • Spectrosol or Parvosol sanitizing spray.

Regular Cleaning Activities

Here are some final daily rat cage cleaning tips which I have personally tried and tested. I believe sharing these might help all my lovely fellow rat parents.

  1. It is always better to have extra rat cages to use simultaneously. Put your rat/rats in a separate cage while cleaning one.
  2. On the weekly cleaning day, try to keep the rats in a separate room to avoid bothering their sensitive noses with harsh cleansers smell.
  3. Allow ample air and sunlight inside the room to keep things more fresh and clean. 
  4. Remove leftover food and refill the water bowl of your pet rat daily.
  5. If you are parenting a sick rat, please be extra careful and disinfect the cage with medicated sanitizers after you are done with thorough cleaning and drying.
  6. For daily cleaning, try to wash and disinfect the tray beneath the cage that collects daily urine and feces of your rat.
  7. Sanitize the play accessories, food tray, water bowl, bedding, and everything else that you have inside the rat cage. Make sure to wash them with soap water and dry each item nicely before putting them in. 
  8. If possible, use homemade or baby wipes for a quick daily cage wire cleaning.
  9. If your pet rat plays with any wooden toy, use detergent water to clean the items and place them in bright sunlight for a day or two before putting them back in place. Sunlight is great to kill bacteria, soaks excess moisture, and gives a refreshing and new feel back to rat accessories.

If you have male rats, the frequency of cleaning the rat cage may be faster than otherwise. However, with a step-wise thorough cleaning and these quick daily cleaning tips, it is easily possible to attain a healthy living space for both your rat and you. 

I agree that thorough cleaning of a pet rat cage requires time and effort. But, our little furry friends are all worth it. We love them and then shower us with unconditional love and cuddles too. Daily cleaning habits have indeed saved me from making an extra effort on my monthly cleaning days. I suggest trying quick daily cleaning, as the basics keep our rats healthy and make the rat cage cleaning process easy as well.