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How To Clean A Bearded Dragon Cage: Quick & Easy

Are you a new bearded dragon owner who wants to care for your pet in the best way possible?

Are you unsure how to clean the bearded dragon’s enclosure?

Cleaning your pet’s enclosure is a key part of good hygiene, which prevents a whole host of diseases. Also, it’ll help you deal with your bearded dragon’s odor issues.

Doing this isn’t hard, but it is important to know how to clean a bearded dragon tank the right way.

And when you’re done, your bearded dragon will be happy and healthy.

how to clean a bearded dragon cage

Items Needed for Cleaning Bearded Dragon Tank

Sponge/Cloth – You need some cloth, rag, or sponge to scrub the walls and furniture of your beardy’s enclosure.

This doesn’t have to be anything special. Just make sure it’s clean.

Disinfectant/Cleaner – You’ll also need a spray bottle or solution to get rid of the germs.

It’s possible to go the all-natural route and use a vinegar-water mix (one part vinegar to two parts water).

This does a good job of disinfecting.

Putty Knife – If there are things stuck to the walls, flooring, or furniture in the cage, you may need something to scrape off the gunk.

Regular cleaning usually avoids this, but it still happens on occasion.

Use any regular putty knife or hard scraping tool to do this.

Flooring – Your flooring or substrate should be changed regularly (3-4 times per year up to monthly).

It’s possible to use some wood chips or even newspapers, but we like the reptile carpet we linked in the above bullet list.

More Cleaning Supplies

In addition to the basic supplies listed above, there are a few more cleaning supplies that can come in handy when it comes to maintaining a clean and healthy bearded dragon tank.

  • Steam Cleaner – Use a steam cleaner to halt the growth of bacteria and fungus in your beardy’s enclosure. This can also help with spot cleaning, especially for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Handheld Vacuum – A handheld vacuum is great for quickly picking up any loose debris or shed skin around your bearded dragon’s tank. This can save you time when it comes to deep cleaning.
  • Scraper – A scraper tool can be used to remove stubborn messes from substrate or decorations in the tank. Just make sure to use it gently and avoid scratching any surfaces.
  • Boiling Water – Dip the accessories and decorations from your bearded dragon’s tank in boiling water to disinfect them. This is especially important if you have multiple reptiles and use the same accessories for different tanks.
  • Gloves – Use gloves to protect your hands from potential bacteria or irritants while handling soiled substrate or disinfectant.

How To Clean A Bearded Dragon Tank

In this section, we’ll give you the detailed steps you need to clean your beardy’s cage.

Watch the video and follow these steps to learn how to keep your pet’s enclosure clean and healthy.

#1 Remove The Bearded Dragon

The first step to cleaning your beardy’s cage is to take the reptile out.

If you have another enclosure to put him in, this works best.

However, a plastic tub will work for this because he’s not going to be out of his home for long.

Just make sure the walls of the tub are tall enough that he can’t get out.

Remember, bearded dragons are semi-arboreal and can climb well.

Pro-tip: When you pick up your adult bearded dragon, keep him calm and scoop your hand from the front. Also, always wash your hands before and after handling your beardy.

For more details, check out our article on how to pick up a bearded dragon.

#2 Remove The Flooring And Furniture

Next, remove the furniture and flooring from the bearded dragon’s tank to disinfect it and the terrarium itself.

Furniture refers to any items in the enclosure, such as logs, hides, rocks, or hammocks.

removing furniture and accessories from bearded dragon tank

If the flooring is in good shape, disinfect it at step #6 and put it back in.

However, it would be best if you replaced it around 3-4 times a year or whenever it’s noticeably gross.

Make sure to put the furniture in a place where it’s not going to get lost.

Pro-tip: If you’ve had the furniture for over a year and it’s looking worse for wear, buy a new piece to replace it.

#3 Disinfect The Walls And Floor

Using your solution or special disinfectant, spray/wipe down the walls, floor, and the vivarium itself.

Make sure to get every inch of the bearded dragon’s cage to kill any germs gathered inside.

If there are spots with stuck-on gunk, use your putty knife or scraper tool to remove the gunk.

It may take some scrubbing and repeated spraying to get it clean, but don’t give up.

Make sure you give it one more spray after you’ve removed the gunk.

Whichever type of disinfectant you use, spray or wipe it on and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before you go on to step #4.

#4 Rinse The Walls And Floor

After you’ve let the spray sit for a time, take a moist paper towel or cloth and wipe every inch of the walls and floor again.

This step is important because it removes the chemicals from the area and makes it safe for your beardie.

Pro-tip: Ensure the cloth you’re using to rinse the disinfectant wasn’t used with the disinfectant in the first place. 

#5 Disinfect And Rinse The Furniture

Now, repeat the same steps #3 and 4 with the furniture and flooring (if you’re reusing them).

washing bearded dragon tank furniture

Spray and scrub as needed.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes, and then wipe down/rinse the chemicals off.

Pro-tip: Do this step while you’re waiting for the walls and floor chemicals to sit after step #3.

#6 Replace The Flooring And Furniture

Put your new (or newly cleaned) flooring back in, and then reset the furniture.

Make sure the furniture is dry before putting it back in.

If needed, wipe it down with a towel to dry it off.

Don’t use gravel, calcium sand, or sand substrate for your bearded dragon’s enclosure. These substrates can cause inflation in their gastrointestinal tract.

Avoid pebbles and wood shavings, too. The safest option is a solid substrate like a newspaper. It’s non-toxic and easy to switch.

#7 Return The Bearded Dragon

Finally, please pick up the dragon (in the right way) and bring it back to its enclosure.

Congratulations! Now you’ve cleaned your beardy’s cage and helped keep its home happy and healthy!

bearded dragon in cage after cleaning

How Often Should I Clean My Bearded Dragon Tank? 

There are three different ways to clean, which you need to do at different frequencies, but they’re all important for good hygiene.

Daily Spot Cleaning

A quick one-minute spot cleaning daily is a simple way to ensure your bearded dragon habitat stays in its best form.

Remove droppings, uneaten food, and scales with each cleaning.

When droppings and old food remain in the cage, they can make your pet beardy sick.

How to Clean Bearded Dragon Poop?

Luckily, bearded dragons poop solid waste. So, if you spot anything, scoop it out of the cage with a paper towel or a dust pan.

scooping bearded dragon poop

If your beardy leaves runny poop on branches and furniture, wash them with soapy water and disinfect them. You can even bake wooden items to kill any bacteria. Steam cleaning is a good option, too.

If your bearded dragon poop is discolored or has diarrhea, you may be leaving these things in their enclosure too long, and they are consuming something they shouldn’t.

And make sure to check out our post on bearded dragon poop, where we go into details on the meaning of different poop colors, what’s healthy, and what’s not.

Tip: Also rinse food bowls after dumping uneaten bits from them.

Weekly Cleaning

During your weekly cleaning, you want to take the opportunity to wipe down the furniture, decorations, and water and food bowls with your lizard outside the cage.

This is the perfect opportunity to combine with a weekly bath for your lizard.

Wash the food and water bowls with soap and maintain your bearded dragon substrate.

Depending on what substrate you’re using (i.e., loose substrate), you may need to replace it entirely or spot-clean it as needed.

While we don’t recommend using a sand substrate, if you’ve chosen to do so, take the extra time to sift through it while your reptile is outside the cage to remove any small droppings under the sand.

Any papers should be replaced entirely.

Using vinegar and water, clean up droppings on the side of the glass (happens more often from glass surfing), and if you’re using a reptile carpet, like the one we linked to at the top of this article, remove it and clean thoroughly.

cleaning reptile carpet with vinegar solution

Monthly Deep Cleaning

Every month you should complete the above steps we covered in this article.

Removing everything and disinfecting them is very important since it prevents bacteria build-up and other problems.

In a bearded dragon’s cage environment, there’s always something undesirable that will grow if left uncleaned.

Take everything that can be soaked in a mild bleach solution and allow them to soak and disinfect.

The bearded dragon carpet should be soaked in the bleach solution to break down everything that escaped you during your weekly cleanings.

Even items wiped down regularly from weekly cleanings should be soaked since bacteria can get into small crevices and build-up over time.

Don’t forget that bearded dragons are sensitive to chemicals, so use things designed specifically for cleaning reptile cages and natural low or no-odor solutions.

Keep your pet bearded dragon away while you’re cleaning, and ensure everything is thoroughly dried before being reintroduced to your pet.

I know cleaning probably isn’t your favorite thing to do, but each type of cleaning is important to your pet’s health.

Fortunately for us, bearded dragons don’t require as much cleaning as owning a dog or cat in the long run but don’t slack off on their maintenance.

Since these reptiles live in their own defined space, they don’t get your entire house dirty, and this is one of the many reasons they’re so attractive for bearded dragon owners.

Your lizard living in one spot is also a double-edged sword since it means you’ll need to clean a bit more regularly because your pet cannot escape a dirty cage.

The key is to be mindful and a responsible pet owner, and if you’re here reading this, then you’re already doing that.

Tips for Cleaning a Bearded Dragon Tank

Cleaning enclosures is one of the least attractive parts of pet parenting. But it’s important for your pet’s health.

Here are some tips that’ll help you excel at the job:

  • Gather your supplies before you start. It’ll save you the hassle of looking for them everywhere. It’s also time-effective.
  • Don’t use the same sink, tub, or bucket that you use to bathe your pet for cleaning the enclosure. This can lead to cross-contamination and potentially harm your pet.
  • Remove all the loose substrate from the tank to prevent odor issues. Check the dig boxes, too.
  • Let the vinegar solution sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing the cage.
  • Dry your reptile carpet in the sun. If it still smells, toss it out and get a new one.
  • Thoroughly rinse everything with water and wipe down all surfaces until there are no more traces of the cleaning solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Cleaning Supplies I Shouldn’t Use to Clean My Beardy’s Tank?

Yes, there are a few you should steer clear of. These include bleach, disinfecting wipes, and glass cleaners. These can all be toxic to your bearded dragon.
If you really have to use bleach (in case of bad diarrhea), dilute it with water and rinse thoroughly once done.

Can I Use Essential Oils to Deal with Bearded Dragon Smell?

Nope! Essential oils and other scented products can be harmful to your bearded dragon’s sensitive respiratory system. Just stick to natural, low, or no-odor solutions.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Regularly Clean My Bearded Dragon’s Tank?

You’ll put your pet lizard at risk of infections, diseases, and unhappy living. Dirt build-up can cause respiratory problems, skin irritations, and digestive issues in your little friend. Pests like mites can also thrive in a dirty tank and cause serious harm to your bearded dragon.

Your Bearded Dragon’s Sparkling Palace – Wrap Up!

We hope you enjoyed learning how to clean a bearded dragon tank.

It’s not hard to do if you do it right. But you do need to make sure you regularly clean to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Did you find the information in this article useful?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we want our fellow reptile lovers to have all the details they need to raise their pets.

If you want to learn more about bearded dragon care, we have a lot of other articles on our website. Don’t forget to check them out.

Thanks for your time. Happy cleaning!

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