Fleece cage liners have become increasingly popular among guinea pig owners who want to provide their animals with a comfortable and healthy environment.
Unlike traditional bedding, such as paper bedding or wood shavings, fleece liners provide comfort without all of the mess or dust.
Using fleece liners also reduces the risk of bacterial and upper respiratory tract infections caused by inhaling potentially toxic dust and chemicals.
But how long do guinea pig fleece liners last?
Fleece liners for guinea pigs will last at least one or two years with proper maintenance. Keeping your washing machine clean, air-drying the fleece liners, and not changing them too often helps to prolong their usability.
Having two or three fleece liners on hand is recommended, so you always have one handy while the others are being washed.
You may need time to adjust to using fleece liners for your guinea pigs, but they are effortless to use once you’ve established a regular cleaning and rotation schedule.
Read on to learn how to use guinea pig fleece liners and make them last longer.
What Are Guinea Pig Fleece Liners?
Guinea pig fleece liners consist of several layers of fabric.
There are two types of fleece bedding available.
In padded liners, the top layer of the liner is made of soft fleece, and then several layers of absorbent material are added with a bottom fleece layer to make the liners reversible.
Since fleece does not hold moisture, urine and other liquids will soak through it and become trapped in the more absorbent layer of materials.
There are also waterproof liners with fleece for the top layer and waterproof materials on the bottom layers.
Waterproof fleece cage liners are better at keeping the bottom tray of the cage dry, but they are more challenging to keep clean.
Waterproof liners may also harbor odors from guinea pig urine, which are not reversible like the padded fleece liners.
Fleece liners for guinea pigs are available from several manufacturers, or you may find online tutorials for making your own.
Are Fleece Liners a Good Choice for a Guinea Pig?
Fleece liners are an excellent choice for guinea pigs because they are easy to clean and provide the animals with a soft and comfortable surface.
Fleece liners are also cost-effective and eco-friendly since they are good to be washed and reused.
Other types of bedding, like wood shavings, are very messy and create a lot of dust.
Guinea pigs have very sensitive skin and a keen sense of smell, so the dust from their bedding may cause skin irritation or upper respiratory issues over time.
Fleece liners do not create dust, and using them avoids these issues with your cavies.
If you have long-haired guinea pigs, you will appreciate fleece liners because there is no debris to get caught in your pet’s fur.
If you’re going with one of these, my favorite is a Guinea Dad liner on Amazon like this one.
These are safe to use, super durable, and clean easily.
How To Use Fleece Liners for a Guinea Pig
When you start using fleece liners for your guinea pig, it is good to purchase at least two or three from the beginning.
More than one fleece liner is recommended, so you have a fresh one ready when another one needs to be washed.
Before using fleece for guinea pig bedding for the first time, you will need to wash it.
Washing the fleece liner removes any water-repellant coatings and improves the wicking ability of the fabric.
Wicking allows guinea pig urine to flow through the fleece and into the absorbent layers underneath.
Avoid any harsh detergents and use a laundry soap formulated for sensitive skin.
Unscented detergent for sensitive skin does not contain harsh dyes or perfumes, so it is safe for a guinea pig’s sensitive skin and nose.
Less is more when it comes to the amount of detergent you will use to wash the fleece liner.
White vinegar may also be added to the wash, as it will disinfect and soften the fleece.
The temperature of the wash cycle should be about 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C).
This temperature ensures the fleece is thoroughly clean without causing shrinkage or pilling.
Do not tumble dry or iron the fleece after washing it; instead, line-dry it.
Depending on the cage size, how many guinea pigs you own, and their diet, you will have to change the fleece liners every two to four days, on average.
To extend the usage of the fleece liner, remove it while your guinea pigs are outside the cage for floor time and allow it to dry for a little bit.
You also need to do some spot cleaning to remove poop or soiled hay with a small broom and dustpan.
Read more on how to clean a guinea pig cage step by step.
For even more absorbency, place a puppy pad in frequented areas near the food bowls and water bottles, and change them regularly.
Tips for Making Guinea Pig Fleece Liners Last Longer
To get the most usage from your guinea pig fleece liners, there are a few steps to keep them clean and fresh.
A detergent build-up in the fleece liners will cause them to lose some moisture-wicking capabilities over time.
Below are a couple of tips for preventing this from happening so your fleece liners stay looking new.
Keep Your Washing Machine Clean
Aside from the dirt and grime of a dirty fleece liner, your washing machine may also develop a detergent build-up.
The detergent will also build up on the fleece liner and leave a lingering odor even after being washed.
To avoid this build-up, run a rinse cycle on your empty washing machine every once in a while.
A wash cycle with vinegar and hot water solution will also sanitize the machine and reduce odors.
Air Dry Your Fleece Liners
Excessive heat will cause your fleece liners to shrink, so it is best to allow them to air dry.
Be sure to place the fleece cage liner in an area without a lot of sun or heat.
If you are in a pinch and need to put the fleece liner in the dryer, use the lowest heat setting possible and avoid using any dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets may clog the fleece liner and reduce its absorbent properties.
If the waterproof liner is still damp after one dryer cycle, place the liner in front of a fan so it finishes drying out.
Do Not Change the Fleece Liners Too Often
Keeping the cage clean is vital to your guinea pig’s health.
Remove poop and air dry your liner for a bit every day.
Changing the fleece too often may cause your guinea pigs to mark their scent in the cage.
Only change the fleece as often as necessary to prevent this from happening.
If you use disposable puppy pads, keep some of them in the cage so the scent is still familiar to your guinea pigs.
Commonly Asked Questions
Are fleece liners too hot in the summer?
Fleece liners do not typically cause your guinea pig to overheat, but lighter fleece fabrics are available if you are concerned about this.
To help keep your guinea pig cool in the summer, place a fan pointed away from the cage in the room.
The room temperature where your guinea pigs are located should not exceed 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C).
It is also best to place the cage away from windows where sunlight frequently shines.
How do I remove hair and hay on my liners before washing?
Use a vacuum cleaner or shake the fleece liner outside to remove most hair, hay, and other debris.
A stiff brush is also helpful in removing stuck-on bits of hay and hair.
Always remove any significant amounts of debris from the fleece liner before placing it in your washing machine.
Not only will the debris make your washing machine dirty, but it will be more difficult for the fleece to get clean in the wash cycle.
To prevent hair and other particles from building up in your machine, place the fleece liners in a mesh wash bag for delicate clothing articles.
How often should I wash my guinea pig’s fleece?
While you need to spot clean the fleece liner every day, you must wash it in a washing machine every five to seven days.
A fleece liner with absorbent padding will only hold so much liquid before foul odors develop.
Guinea pigs are very small but produce a lot of urine and feces throughout the day.
For more on how much guinea pigs pee and poop, check out our detailed article.
If the top layer of your fleece is not wicking moisture away as it should, and there are a lot of wet spots, you are likely not changing it out and washing it often enough.
Run an additional rinse cycle in your washing machine to help keep it cleaner after washing your guinea pig fleece.
Can I use fleece liners for outdoor guinea pig hutches?
Fleece bedding for guinea pigs is not recommended in an outdoor guinea pig cage.
The liners may become wet from rain and get cold at night.
A damp and cold environment puts your cavy at a higher risk for developing an upper respiratory infection, which could lead to pneumonia, which is very dangerous for a guinea pig.
Pine or aspen shavings are a more suitable bedding material for an outdoor guinea pig enclosure.