ocp chameleon guide tablet mockup (1)

Get Your FREE Owner's Guide For Chameleons And Help Your Special Friend Live its Best Life.

How To Clean A Chameleon Cage

Are you new to chameleon ownership and want to provide your pet with the best, cleanest home?

Do you have questions about how to clean a chameleon’s cage?

Keeping your chameleon’s cage clean will not only keep them happy, but it will help prevent a variety of diseases.

To ensure your chameleon is cared for properly, you must know how to properly clean a chameleon cage.

This article will break down everything you need to know about keeping your pet chameleon’s cage clean, guaranteeing the animal stays healthy and happy.

how to clean a chameleon cage

Supplies You Will Need For Cleaning A Chameleon Cage

Sponges/Paper Towels/Damp Cloths— These items are effective at cleaning the walls of the enclosure, cleaning poop off of leaves, and wiping other stubborn areas.

Use them to pick up poop in the cage.

Buckets— Large buckets will be useful to soak any accessories you have placed in the tank.

Soaking will help you any caked on and stubborn grime on the accessories.

Antibacterial Soap/Disinfectant—Use this in the bucket to disinfect the removed accessories and for general cleaning.

The disinfectant will kill bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

There are chameleon safe disinfectants on the market or contact your pet’s vet with any questions you might have.  

Scraper/Putty Knife—Use the scraper or a putty knife if you have anything stuck to the walls, flooring or any accessories in the tank

Toothbrush— A toothbrush can help you get in the corners or hard to clean areas of the cage.

Backup Cage—Deep cleaning can take time, and having a safe, clean environment for your chameleon is a good idea.

A backup cage is optional but a good idea.

Rubber Gloves—Whether you are squeamish or not, rubber or latex gloves are a good idea to help reduce the bacteria you could come in contact with.

How To Clean A Chameleon Cage

1. Remove The Chameleon

The first step to the cleaning process is to remove the chameleon from its cage.

This is where the backup cage will come in handy.

Place him on a plant outside of a cage, but if you are worried about losing him or anything happening, a cage is going to be the best option.

It is best to put the chameleon in another room, separate from where you are cleaning, to ensure they do not inhale any fumes.

2. Remove And Clean All Decorations In The Cage

If you have filled your chameleon’s cage with any decorations or accessories, now is the time to remove and disinfect them.

This also includes any plastic vines as well as live plants or trees you might have added to the habitat.

The bucket will help you soak the items to help remove any built-up or caked-on bits.

Be sure to soak these items in warm water with a disinfectant.

After they have soaked, wash all the accessories with hot, foamy water, using a scraper or brush to remove any tough buildups.

Thoroughly rinse these items after using the disinfectant and soapy water to remove any residue before they go back to the chameleon’s cage.

Allow them to dry completely, or mold could form on the items, especially with the humidity levels in the cage.

If you have any live plants or trees, wet them down completely using clean water.

Once they are wet, gently wipe the leaves of the plants or trees to remove any buildup and remove any dead leaves.

When you are finished, place the plants in the sun to dry fully.

3. Remove The Substrate

Even though most chameleons are arboreal and spend most of their lives in trees, many owners still add a substrate into the environment.

At this stage of the cleaning process, remove the substrate from the cage for cleaning.

You might have used paper towels or newspapers to line the bottom of the cage.

If you have done this, simply remove the now soiled towels or newspapers and throw them away in the trash.

Others might choose a substrate like stones, sand, or other organic material.

Remove any substrate you might be using in the cage.

If you have a nondisposable substrate, scour with hot foamy water using brushes to remove dried fluids or any other grime.

Thoroughly rinse your nondisposable substrate and allow it to dry fully.

Further reading: What’s the best substrate for chameleons?

4. Clean The Surface Of The Cage

Clean the walls and floor of the cage with warm water and soap, rinsing completely afterward.

For tough spots in the cage, use a putty knife or scraper to remove them, ensuring a completely clean tank.

Use the toothbrush to get in the corners or other hard to reach areas of your chameleon’s tank for effective cleaning.

For this step,o use an animal safe terrarium cleanser for extreme spots.

Once the enclosure has been scrubbed and is completely dry, spray with a pet-safe disinfectant.

5. Replace The Substrate And Accessories

With everything clean and disinfected, begin to place everything back into your chameleon’s cage.

Begin with the substrate, then any plastic vines, trees, plants, and other accessories you might have.

Remember, to prevent the possibility of mold forming, the tank, as well as all plants and accessories, should be completely dry before you return them to the enclosure.

6. Return Your Chameleon To The Cage

Once you have reassembled your chameleon’s habitat, wash your hands completely and bring your chameleon back into the room.

Remove them from the back-up enclosure and place them back into their regular habitat.

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your chameleon.

Disinfect all the equipment you used for cleaning and put it away.

How Often Should I Clean The Cage?

Cleaning a chameleon’s cage is not difficult, but it should be done regularly.

Spot clean your chameleon’s cage daily to help maintain the cage.

When you spot clean, remove uneaten, dead food, waste your chameleon produces, and any leaves or branches on the bottom of the cage.

Wear gloves to remove any feces from the cage.

This will also help guarantee you don’t get too overwhelmed when it comes to weekly or deep cleaning.

Weekly cleaning should involve removing the substrate and a general wipe down and disinfecting of the surfaces in their habitat.

A very deep clean should occur at least once a year but twice is better.

For this deep clean, you will empty the entire cage and clean every aspect.

These cleanings can just be seen as part of your regular daily routine of caring for your pet.

If you do happen to miss a day of daily cleans or a weekly clean now and then, don’t panic.

Just be sure to pick cleaning back up, and don’t let it become a habit.

Choosing The Right Disinfectant

Zoo Med Wipe Out Disinfectant, 32 oz
  • Terrarium and small animal cage disinfectant, cleaner and deodorizer
  • Ideal for cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing terrariums and other animal enclosures
  • Wipe out 1 can reduce the spread of bacterial infections in your animals.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Any disinfectant you use should remove bacteria causing infections, parasites, and other microscopic organisms, but it cannot hurt your pet.

It might sound difficult to find something so powerful, but also safe.

You might find a safe option at your veterinarian’s office.

They commonly keep options available for purchase in their office to help you select an effective and safe option.

There are plenty of options available on the market today and are easily available from online stores or local pet stores.

Use some items you already have in your home, like vinegar.

Why Do I Need To Clean My Chameleon’s Cage

Keeping your pet’s cage clean is simply something you should be doing as a pet owner.

There are some valid reasons you should be keeping your chameleon’s cage clean and doing so regularly.

When your chameleon is living in captivity, there is no natural break down of their waste, like there would be in the wild.

If not removed, a pile-up of waste would make a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, as well as parasites.

Chameleons are not the most hearty of reptiles, and a dirty cage can lead to sickness and a shortened lifespan.

Besides, chameleons are very tidy animals.

They like a clean area and designate one area for sleep, another for eating, a separate space for basking, and another for going to the bathroom.

If you know anyone who likes things clean and tidy, you know how stressed they can get when everything is not in its place.

Your chameleon is similar and will get stressed out if their cage is dirty, leading to a loss of appetite and inactivity.

Keeping their area clean is a great way to reduce stress and sickness.


After reading this piece, we hope you are feeling more confident in how to clean your chameleon’s cage.

Cleaning your pet chameleon’s cage isn’t difficult, but it does require a little time and regular maintenance.

Keeping the cage clean will provide a good home for your chameleon and help them live a healthier life.

Leave a Comment