When you adopt a chinchilla, you sign up for more than just fun and cuddles. You need to give your furball a clean and comfortable environment, which means keeping his home tidy. No poop piles, no pee stains, and no old food.
Erm, I’m new to this. I don’t know how to clean a chinchilla cage.
It’s okay, human! We all start somewhere. If you’ve never cleaned a chinny cage, we have a step-by-step guide for you. From the list of supplies to cleaning tips, we’ll help you keep your pet chinchilla’s cage squeaky clean!
Move your chinchilla to a temporary dig. Remove waste and disinfect the cage with a chinchilla-safe cleaner. Wash all the cage accessories, dry them all, and put everything together again. For a stink-free and bacteria-less home, spot-clean daily, partial-clean weekly, and deep-clean monthly.
How to maintain the cage’s cleanliness? And how to lure my chinny out of his home?
Coming up next, we’ll answer all your chinchilla cage cleaning queries – just stick with us.
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Cleaning Chinchilla Cage Step By Step Instructions
Chinchillas aren’t only furry and adorable; they are also naturally stink-less.
Yep, no bad body odors and no poop smells.
Then why clean the chinchilla cage?
Your chinny doesn't stink, but the rotten food in his cage can. Plus, chinchillas spray urine when stressed. Pee-pee in chinchilla bedding has a nasty stench. More importantly, a dirty cage is a bacteria playground, and chinchillas are sensitive. A grimy habitat can lead to respiratory issues and other unwanted problems in your chubby hopper.
So, if you don’t want your house to start smelling like a funky fur salon and your fluff ball to get sick, get to some chinny clean-up action!
Coming up next, we’ll learn how to clean a chinchilla cage in easy-to-follow steps. Let’s get to action.
Step 1: Keep Your Chinchilla Cage Cleaning Supplies Ready
We understand that chinchilla cage cleaning might not be the most exciting task, but it’s much easier when you have everything on hand! So, before diving into cleaning, ensure you’ve got your supplies ready to roll. You’ll find everything you need at your regular grocery run.
What do I need to clean a chinchilla cage?
Chinchilla cages require more than warm water and dish soap to look and smell like new. You’ll need a few chinchilla-friendly cleaning supplies. Here’s a list for you:
- Chinchilla-Safe Cleaner: Use a gentle, natural cleaner specifically for chinchillas. It should be free from toxic chemicals and dyes. You can also make a cleaner yourself. More on it in a bit.
- Paper Towels, Rags, and Sponges: Whether you’re going the eco-friendly route with laundered rags or reaching for trusty paper towels, these will be your cleaning sidekicks.
- Toothbrush: If you have a Critter Nation Cage with half-inch bar spacing, you’ll definitely need a toothbrush.
- Gloves: Wet, dirty cages aren’t the most pleasant to handle. Plus, gloves will prevent you from exposing your skin to any bacteria around.
- Buckets: Two buckets – one with soapy water for washing items and another for rinsing them off.
- Bleach: The germ-busting champion! As long as you give everything a good rinse after cleaning with bleach, it’s safe to use.
Step 2: Relocate Your Pet Chinchilla
It’s important to remove your chinchilla from the cage before you begin cleaning. Place them in a safe, enclosed area like a playpen, ensuring they have plenty of water and hay to keep them happy and entertained.
Chinchillas are sensitive to heat, so make sure the playpen is in a comfortable area away from direct sunlight.
Tip: If you and your chin are in a no-touchy relationship phase, use treats to lure your chinchilla out.
Step 3: Remove Waste From Your Chinchilla’s Cage
Now that your chinny is out of the cage, it’ll be a lot easier to clean his home. Start by removing the waste. Scoop out all the soiled bedding, food remains, droppings, and debris from your chinchilla’s home.
Tip: Throw away all the disposable items like uneaten hay and old bedding in a secure trash can.
What about the dust from the dust bath?
Yep, that needs to go, too. If it’s clumping and looking gross, it’s time to bin the dust and give your chin a fresh batch.
Step 4: Spritz The Cage With a Disinfectant
Got everything out? Great! Now, it’s show time!
However, before you invest some elbow grease in scrubbing and bleaching, cover the entire cage with a disinfectant. Spray your chinchilla-safe cleaner all over the cage – inside and out. Let it sit for a few minutes before you move on to step 5.
This way, you’ll remove any grime or bacteria that’s stuck around without putting your chinny in harm’s way.
Tip: Open the windows to let out any fumes and odors. Chinchillas are prone to respiratory issues, and any lingering chemical can irritate their sensitive lungs.
Step 5: Wash All Accessories & Cage Parts Separately
All this cleaning can be intimidating, but don’t worry. We’ll break it down into smaller tasks to make everything easier.
- Wash all small accessories like food dishes, hidey huts, tunnels, ladders, and toys individually with soapy water.
- Scrub the bars with a soapy sponge. If you can’t reach the gunk in between the bars, get your toothbrush to do some deep cleaning.
- Dust the upholstered furniture like hammocks and beds with a damp cloth.
- Empty out the water bottle and wash it in soapy water. Rinse well and let it dry before refilling it.
Step 6: Rinse and Dry The Entire Cage Thoroughly
Once all the accessories are squeaky clean, it’s time to rinse the entire cage. Hose it down with lukewarm water from top to bottom, and let your chinchilla’s home drip dry before you put everything back in place.
Yes, this is a slow process, but hosing down the cage ensures that all the soap and germs are washed away.
Step 7: Reassemble Your Chin’s Cage
Now that the entire cage is clean and dry, it’s time to put the accessories back in. Replace the bedding, toys, platforms, food dishes, hay rack, and water bottle, making sure everything is securely in place.
Tip: Rotate your chinchilla's toys and rearrange the cage layout every once in a while to keep things interesting for him.
Step 8: Bring Your Chinny Back Home
Finally, it’s time to reunite your chinchilla with his sparkling-clean home. Give the little guy some treats (and plenty of love talk) for being such a good sport during the cleaning process.
DIY Chinchilla Cage Cleaner
Why DIY? Isn’t bleach safe? What about other store-bought disinfectants?
Here’s the deal: if you’ll use your chosen cleaner around your kids, it’s probably A-OK for your chinchilla’s crib, too. Just remember to rinse things off properly (it’ll take a few rinses) before they go back into the chinny zone.
However, when it comes to safety, homemade cleaners take the crown. They’re easy on the pocket, safe for your fuzzy baby, and leave your chinny’s home smelling fresh. Plus, you can make enough cleaner to last a few cleaning sessions!
If you’re team DIY and want to channel your inner cleaning guru, here are two tried-and-tested cleaners you can whip up in no time:
- Vinegar Vibes: Mix vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio and shake it well. You can spritz this on the areas that need cleaning, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then scrub it with a rag or paper towel. Ta-da!
- Lemon Love: Want your cleaning game to be zesty? Go for lemons! They do the antibacterial gig just like vinegar and leave behind that oh-so-fresh scent.
How Often Do You Clean a Chinchilla Cage?
Chinchillas are clean critters with messy etiquettes. So, you’ll have to take over the cleaning duties every now and then.
Okay, but how often should a chinchilla cage be cleaned?
That depends on a few factors, including:
- Number of chinchillas in a cage: The more the chins, the more you’ll need to clean.
- Cage size: A larger cage requires more maintenance.
- Chinchilla’s poop habits: If your chinny is a regular pooper (which he likely will be), then the cage needs a bit of scooping every day.
- Chinchilla’s eating manners: Does your chinchilla like to scatter his food around? If so, you’ll need to give the cage a quick once-over from time to time.
When it comes down to it, spot-cleaning daily and partial-cleaning weekly is the way to go. A more thorough cleanse every month will keep your chinchilla’s home in tip-top shape.
We already went over the nitty-gritty of deep cleaning earlier. Now, let’s dive into the everyday and weekly cleaning game plan.
Daily Chinchilla Cage Cleaning
The most obvious step is to get rid of the leftovers in the cage. Pick up whatever food leftovers you see and dump them. You won’t need any fancy gear for this gig – just your trusty human hands (with gloves, if you feel squeamish) and detective-level sharp eyes.
However, there’s a little extra something you should do to keep future clean-ups as smooth as butter.
Clean Water Bottle and Food Bowls
The bowl-and-bottle cleaning routine is a quick task that keeps your chinchilla’s dining setup in its best shape. A little effort here goes a long way in keeping your furry friend’s space infection-free and cozy.
Hay Rack Cleaning: The hay rack usually stays pretty clean. Just give it a gentle wipe-down with a cloth to clear away any hay bits. If it’s messy, a wash with soap and water will do. Dry it before placing it back.
Snack Bowl Scrub: This might need a bit more attention, depending on what your chinchilla munched on. Treat it like your own dishes – wash it well with soap and water. Use a sponge to scrub away the stubborn spots.
Water Bottle Wisdom: Over time, the spout can collect bacteria. To prevent bacteria buildup, wash both the bottle and the spout with soapy water.
Get Rid of Poop
Chinchillas are poop champs. They drop those pellets on the floor or their litter pan while doing their daily chinchilla things – munching, moving, and exploring.
Now, here's the scoop: chinchilla droppings are pretty mild in the stink department. These little pellets are dry because chinchillas come from places with less water, so they're all about conserving it. But you can't let the poop accumulate in the cage. And so, you need a quick daily poop-sweeping ritual.
Here’s what it’ll look like:
- Daily Poop Patrol: Make it a habit to sweep up chinchilla droppings at the end of each day.
- Upper Deck Duty: Sweep the platforms and hammocks at the top of the cage.
- Sweep Strategically: Sweep those little pellets onto the fleece liners below. You can use a brush, a rag, or even a vacuum cleaner if you prefer.
- Skip the Few: If you spot just a couple of droppings, it’s totally fine to let them be. A couple won’t spell disaster or create a stink zone.
Chow time can get messy. And not because of the little bits of hay that fly around, but because of your pet’s peculiar dining manners.
Instead of munching on a single piece of hay like a sensible critter, chins grab a piece, give it a little nibble, and then toss it aside like it’s no biggie. When they’re hungry again, they strut over to the hay rack and snag a brand-new piece. Yep, royalty!
This makes the cage appear like a hay-struck battlefield. Okay, it’s still not so bad on its own, but when combined with poop and pee, it can get nasty!
To keep things in order, give the hay rack and floors a good sweep daily (or every other day). It’ll take just five minutes.
Replace Soiled Bedding
Bedding acts as a great absorber when it comes to pee. Which also means it gets pretty dirty, pretty fast.
If you’re using hay, shredded paper, or recycled wood pulp as bedding, you’ll have to replace it as soon as it’s soaked. You don’t want your chinchilla sleeping in a giant puddle of pee. It’s uncomfortable and unhealthy.
But if you’re using fleece liners, you can give them a good wash with hot water and a gentle detergent. Hang them out to dry again before replacing them in the cage.
Tip: Use gloves if you’re grossed out, and remember to wash your hands when you’re done.
Weekly Chinchilla Cage Cleaning
There are a few things in the cage that might need a good scrub once a week. If you’ve religiously followed your daily cleaning regimen, weekly cleaning will take less than an hour.
Replace the Fleece Liner
Fleece liners make excellent bedding for chinchillas. They absorb pee, keep your chinny warm, and add a cozy vibe to the cage. Plus, they are washable, so you can use them time and time again.
Use hot water and a gentle detergent to get rid of the funk, and hang them to dry. It can take a few hours for them to lose all the moisture, so make sure you have a few dry ones handy.
Clean The Litter Pan
Do chinchillas use litter boxes?
Yes, they do! A litter pan is a great way to teach your chinchilla to potty in one place and keep the cage clean.
If you’ve been regularly removing chinchilla droppings from the cage, cleaning the litter pan won’t be too difficult. Take it out and give it a scrub with hot water and soap. Rinse it well, dry it off, and put it back.
Chinchillas shed their old fur everywhere. So, their hammock, wooden shelves, and hideouts can accumulate a heck-ton of fur over time.
To keep things nice and tidy, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the extra fur from these pieces of furniture. Make sure you go around slowly to ensure that fur is caught up in your vacuum cleaner’s reach.
Tip: Keep emptying the vacuum bag to prevent the filter from clogging.
Tips For Maintaining Cage Cleanliness
Great job, chinchilla parent! You’ve tackled that smelly and messy cage situation like a pro.
But your mission isn’t quite complete yet. If you’re aiming to keep that cage clean and smelling fresh for the long haul, there are a few must-haves and some tweaks to your routine you’ll want to know about.
How to keep a chinchilla cage clean?
Check out the lowdown below:
Use Hay Racks
If you’re using a food dish or a bowl for hay, it’s time to hit pause! Placing hay in a food bowl on the ground means giving your chinchilla a free pass to spread it everywhere and create a mess. Plus, your chinchilla might do his business in there, ruining the food.
Yikes! What do I do?
Ditch the food bowls and get a hay rack – that’s what you do. Hang it a few inches above the cage floor to thwart your mischievous furball’s attempts at hay acrobatics.
But I need a food dish for my pet’s pellets and treats.
No worries! You can still keep those. Attach them securely to the cage’s sides, ideally near a platform. This way, your chinchilla can chow down on his goodies without creating a pellets-strewn disaster.
Get a Urine Guard
Chinchillas aren’t naturally stinky critters. The only major smell that’s associated with them is that of pee.
Is it really bad?
Well, if it’s only limited to their litter pan, it’s not so bad. But if your chinny decides to take a leak on his bedding or toys, the smell will linger and keep getting worse. And don’t even get us started on the spread of germs. They’ll find a way to your chinchilla’s fur and make him sick.
So, install a urine guard in your chinchilla’s cage. It’ll ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste and that your chinny stays healthy.
Urine guards go under the cage to collect any liquid that ends up on the cage floor. This way, your chinchilla won’t have to wade through his own mess, helping to keep its fur all spiffy.
Plus, you can easily swap them out and empty them whenever necessary.
Keep Up With Vet Visits
When it comes to chinchilla smells, illness can be a culprit, too. Two main troublemakers to watch out for include:
- Giardiasis: This is a waterborne tummy bug for chinchillas. It causes severe diarrhea that can turn your chinny’s cage into a smelly place. The infection also brings friends like loss of appetite, weight loss, and a less-than-glam fur situation. The fix? Time for a vet visit.
- Dental Issues: A chinchilla’s teeth are like weeds – they just keep growing. Overgrown teeth cause excessive drooling, appetite loss, weight loss, cut-up cheek and tongue, and bad breath. You’ll also observe a slight change in poop consistency (runny and stinky).
Give Your Chinchilla Out-of-Cage Play Time
Chinchillas spend almost 96% of their day cooped up in a cage. That’s a lot of time indoors, and it can stress them out. And you know what they say: a stressed chinchilla isn’t a happy or healthy one.
So, to keep your furball in tip-top shape, give him 30-60 minutes of out-of-cage freedom every day. While he’s out and about, take a quick peek at his crib for any signs of mess. If you spot something funky, just clean it up real quick. Easy-peasy!
A Clean Cage = A Healthy, Happy Chinchilla
Chinchillas, the pro-jumpers, are naturally stink-free. But their mess-making habits can turn even the most spic and span cage into a smelly one in no time.
So, if you’ve been looking for answers to “How to clean a chinchilla cage?” and “How often should you clean a chinchilla cage?”, here’s a quick recap.
Spot-clean your chin’s cage daily, switch up fleece liners weekly, and deep-clean his home with all the accessories once a month.
Just remember to use mild soaps and non-toxic cleaners. Your furry friend has sensitive lungs. You can also make your own cleaners using vinegar or lemons.
Did you find this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we strive to provide curious chinchilla parents with all the information they need about their furry friends. If you want to learn more about chinchillas, our website has a collection of articles. Do check them out.
Enjoy cleaning, folks!