How To Make Reptile Containers Not Smell

Is your reptile container starting to smell bad?

Are you having difficulties keeping your terrarium clean?

Reptiles are wonderful pets, but the containers they live in often start to smell unless adequately maintained and cleaned.

You may ask yourself, “how do I make my reptiles containers not smell?”

To prevent your reptile containers from smelling, regularly inspect the tank, deep clean on a schedule, and replace tank parts when needed. A well-maintained reptile container will be near odorless.

how to make reptile containers not smell

Why does my reptile container smell in the first place?

First, the container does not smell because the reptile itself smells since it does not emit any odor.

Reptiles are cold-blooded, which means they do not produce sweat.

When your pet reptile starts to smell, it is mostly caused by an unclean environment.

The reptile will absorb the smell of its setting, which may seem like the odor is coming from your animal.

There are several reasons your pet’s container has a foul odor.

First, just like in your home, if food is left out, it will begin to rot and smell.

It is the same with the food reptiles eat.

Any crickets or worms leftover may start to decompose and release an unpleasant smell.

Another common reason for a smelly container is simply an unclean container.

If the tank is not cleaned regularly and adequately, bacteria starts to grow.

You may find it growing on the walls, under furniture, or in the flooring/substrate.

This puts your reptile at risk of getting sick and makes for an unclean scent.

There is an additional risk for bacteria growth if the tank is too humid.

Humidity traps in moisture, which breeds bacteria.

While reptiles do not emit any odor, their feces and urine do.

When there is a build-up of these two things, containers begin to smell.

How do I remove the smell from my reptile’s container?

Depending on the cause of the smell, there are several options for dealing with it.

Check the tank for any forgotten or leftover feeders.

Remove any dead worms or crickets.

This may help alleviate the odor.

Check the tank for any droppings of feces.

Remove any waste you find immediately.

Many reptile owners choose to line the bottom of their pet’s tanks with newspaper, reptile carpet, or other substrates to mimic the desert, such as sand. If the flooring is left unattended, bacteria may grow.

Clean or replace the flooring to help remove any odor.

Cheaper floorings might have a distinct “pet store” smell, which cannot be removed by cleaning.

Check the humidity of the room the tank is in. In general, most reptiles do not do well with high humidity levels as they are native to dry, desert environments.

Also, more humidity means more moisture, which causes an increased potential for smelly bacteria.

Using a dehumidifier in the same room as the tank helps to remove moisture and prevent future build-up.

Cleaning the container is the most effective method of removing the smell, especially if you are unsure of where it is coming from.

To clean your tank, do the following:

  1. Take your reptile out of the dirty tank and place it in a safe, clean container.
  2. Remove any flooring and “furniture” (rocks, logs, hammocks, etc.).
  3. Replace any floor or furniture if it has become moldy or gross.
  4. Disinfect the walls of the container thoroughly.
  5. To disinfect, you may make your homemade solution using bleach diluted with water or commercial-strength products such as the ZooMed disinfect from Amazon. 
  6. After disinfecting, wait 5-10 minutes and then rinse the walls with warm water.
  7. This removes any chemicals leftover from the disinfectant.
  8. Disinfect and rinse the flooring and furniture.
  9. Let it dry before placing it back in the tank.
  10. Make sure everything is dry before placing the reptile back in its tank.

How do I prevent my reptile’s container from smelling?

One of the best ways to deal with any unpleasant odors is to be proactive!

Proper maintenance of your reptile tank helps to prevent it from smelling in the first place.

Cleaning does an excellent job of removing the smell, but cleaning regularly will help prevent a smell.

We recommend doing a spot check 1-2 times a day.

This involves looking into the tank and removing any feces, dead or forgotten food, and any skin your reptile may have shed.

There are also deodorizers to help with regular cleaning.

We recommend No Scent Reptile, an odor eliminator and cleaner available on Amazon.

No Scent Reptile - Professional Pet Waste Odor Eliminator and Cleaner
  • NEW ADVANCED PROBIOTIC ODOR ELIMINATION solution designed to be 100% sustainable and contains ZERO harmful chemicals and uses a plant-based surfactant. Our eco-friendly based formula is designed to require less product and work longer than the competition while promoting a healthier living environment for your pets and family. While other products mask the offending odors with fragrances, ours targets the source of the odor and organically destroys the offending compounds on contact.
  • THE SCIENCE BEHIND OUR INDUSTRY LEADING PROBIOTIC DESIGN utilizes the highest concentration of 5 scientifically selected human-grade naturally occurring spore forming bacteria strains. This allows our product to continue generating enzymes that eliminate many different offending odor compounds long after application. Other enzyme based products work for a short time after spraying, targeting fewer foul odor compounds and may not completely eliminate the stench.
  • DESIGNED TO WORK OPTIMALLY FOR REPTILE waste. Reptiles, due to their diet, produce more protein in their waste. Our unique formula is designed to work with the pH level of reptile urine and contains higher concentration of protein destroying bacteria. Although targeted for reptiles, this product works just as well for ALL OTHER odor causing compounds by containing ALL 5 scientifically selected probiotic strains.
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This product is all-natural and sprayed directly into the tank without removing the reptile or food.

Every 1-2 weeks, we suggest you wipe down the tank (walls, floor, and any furniture) with a wet towel.

This helps to prevent any build-up.

Once a month, we suggest you deep clean the tank with disinfectant as outlined in the above section.

Regular deep cleaning is needed if you want to keep your reptile’s tank from getting too smelly.

Keeping the reptile’s tank up to date is another way to prevent odor.

As flooring can hold in bacteria, we recommend replacing cheaper options, such as newspapers, regularly up to once a month.

Or we recommend using a more quality and expensive type of substrate such as the Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner on Amazon.

With this type of liner, you can simply clean and reuse it. 

Whatever furniture you provide for your reptile also needs to be replaced periodically.

Keep an eye on any logs, rocks, or hammocks and disinfect them monthly during your deep clean of the tank.

If any furniture pieces start to show signs of wear after a year, go ahead and replace them.


Reptiles make excellent pets.

However, their containers sometimes become smelly.

Regular cleaning and upkeep of the tank and its parts help eliminate any odor and prevent it in the first place.

Enjoy your reptile without any stink!

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