Chinchillas, like any pet that lives in a cage, need their home to be cleaned regularly. This helps them remain healthy and happy while also reducing odors and mess in the cage (and the room the cage is in). This important part of chinchilla care needs to be done on a daily and weekly basis, using safe cleaning supplies. In this article, we break down all the things you need to clean a chinchilla cage and what you need to do to create a clean home for them.
How to Clean a Chinchilla Cage
For spot cleanings, you can probably do those while your chins are in the cage, but for deep cleanings and the weekly cleaning, it will be easier to take them out for playtime and then clean the cage. (Note: If you are removing shelves or other structures from the inside of the cage, you must remove your chins from the cage and not let them have access to it again until everything is back in place. Chinchillas memorize the layout of their cages and will often leap without looking to make sure their favorite ledge is there. This can lead to injury.)
Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to make sure you have the necessary supplies to safely clean your chinchilla’s cage.
Chinchilla Safe Cleaning Supplies
Paper towels and clean rags are good for wiping and cleaning the inside of the cages and other surfaces. For deep cleaning, you may want to buy a scrub brush.
As far as cleaning chemicals go, you want to avoid any commercial cleaners and use one of the following:
- White vinegar mixed with warm water (50/50 mixture, or 30/70 if you find the smell of vinegar overpowering)
- Bleach and water (1 part bleach, 10 parts water)
Note: if you are using bleach, you want to make sure to rinse the items several times to remove any residue.
The vinegar or bleach solutions can be mixed in a spray bottle for spot treatments, or used to soak shelves, toys, etc. in a sink or bucket. DO NOT use vinegar and bleach together. They will create a toxic mixture. Use one or the other, NOT BOTH.
If you are very opposed to the smell of vinegar or bleach, some exotic pet owners like to use Kaytee Clean Cage Safe Deodorizer Spray instead.
I would also recommend having a small dust pan and brush on hand to easily clean up hay and droppings from small ledges and corners in the cage. You may also want to buy a bottle brush to make it easier to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle.
Daily Chinchilla Cage Cleaning
This is a light cleaning to remove any messes and make sure food and water dishes are clean.
- Empty food dishes and water bottles and refill with fresh food and water.
- Sweep droppings off shelves.
- Sweep up any damp or discarded hay.
- Wipe down walls near cage with a rag and water if there’s any urine spray.
- Spot clean any urine or wet areas on shelves and accessories.
- Sweep or vacuum any droppings, hay, or food kicked out of the cage and onto the floor.
- Sweep up any bath dust.
Weekly Chinchilla Cage Cleaning
This weekly cleaning is to make sure your chinchilla’s cage is in tip top shape and remove dirty bedding.
- Wash water bottle and food dish with your choice of cleaning fluid.
- Dump litter pan or sweep out waste tray. Wash with cleaning fluid. Replace with fresh bedding or litter.
- Sand down or soak any shelves, houses, or toys as needed.
Note: if you have more than one chinchilla in a cage, you may need to change out the bedding or litter pan more frequently than one a week.
Deep Cleaning a Chinchilla Cage
Every few months you should give the cage a deep clean to remove any grime and germs, and also replace cage shelves and accessories as need. Everything in the cage should come out and be soaked in your preferred cleaning fluid, then rinsed in clean water. (Remember, if you’re using bleach, everything needs to be rinsed multiple times before you return it to the cage.) The inside of the cage, including the cage bars, should be wiped down with your cleaning fluid and then again with a clean damp rag to remove any residue.
Shelves, toys, and other wooden accessories that are excessively dirty or chewed should be replaced.
Your chinchilla should not be in the cage while you are deep cleaning it. Removing or relocating items from the cage will stress out the chinchilla and they may injure themselves. Take them out to play in another area, like a chinchilla playpen, and only return them to the cage when all items have been replaced and are dry. If you need to dry the items more quickly, set them out in the sun.