If you have pet rabbits at home then learning how to deep clean a rabbit cage is a must for you!
Deep cleaning is the process of thoroughly cleaning your rabbit’s cage once or twice a month. Not only can it help to maintain good hygiene in and around your rabbit’s cage, it can also make your rabbits happier!
We all know that pet rabbits can be messy animals, the mess up their cage, the litter box, the carpet, the sofa and sometimes even your bed!. Although we do clean after our pet rabbits daily, but our daily cleaning is simply not enough.
Keeping up on the cleaning of your rabbit’s cage in a timely manner will make sure that your house smells good and there is no mess in or near the bunny’s cage. Just follow these simple steps and learn how to deep clean a rabbits cage!
Step 1 - Gather Cleaning Supplies
First things first, deep cleaning is different from your normal daily or weekly cage cleaning routine. What we are trying to do go that extra mile and clean up the gunk that a normal daily cleaning just would not be able to get out.
Here are the must haves that you need for deep cleaning,
- Sponges & Rags
- Detergent / Soap
- Disinfectant Liquid / Bleach
- Vinegar Solution
- Broom & Dustpan
- Vacuum Cleaner (Optional)
- Waste Bags
- Old Newspapers
- Fresh Litter & Bedding
- Good Old Elbow Grease
Gather all of these deep cleaning supplies and start getting your rabbit’s cage nice and clean!
Step 2 - Put You Rabbits Away
Once you have gathered everything you need, it is time to keep your bunny is a safe place, away from the rabbit cage. Since our cleaning may take more than 30 minutes, we don’t want our rabbits to go in their cages while we are working on it.
Some rabbits are also known to get ticked off when people mess their cage up, in that case you may get a nip or two if you don’t restrain your rabbit while cleaning.
We also don’t want our rabbit to get near any bottles of disinfectant or bleach that we might use for the job. Fumes from these chemicals can be quite dangerous for pet rabbits.
If you do not have a separate cage or play pen for your rabbit then consider putting them in a different room, but make sure that they cannot get into any sort of trouble there.
Step 3 - Take Everything Out Of The Cage
The next step would be to clear out the cage. The best way to achieve a deep clean will be to take out everything from the rabbit cage and clean them out one by one.
This also ensures that comers as well as hard to reach nook and crannies are cleaned out. Here is everything that you should take out to clean
- Feeding Bowls
- Water Bottles
- Litter Box & Litter
- Hay Feeder & Hay
- Platforms (If Any)
- Floor Panels (If Any)
Having everything separated can really speed up the cleaning process and ultimately improves results.
Once you have everything out, discard old bedding, litter, hay and water left in their bottle. You can also get rid of any old or tattered toys if needed. Remember rabbit toys need to be safe for rabbits to chew on and therefore wear down eventually and need to be replaced.
Step 4 - Scrub Down The Walls & Floor
Up next we scrub down the walls & the floor of the cage. Cage panels are often neglected in daily cleaning and get gunked up quite easily. They are often made out of metal wires which tend to corrode over time as well.
You may also find a layer of white calcium deposit on the metal wire walls of the cage, this is the result of them coming in contact with rabbit urine.
In order to get the cage walls & floor, scrub them with the vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 1 part water). The vinegar being acidic slowly dissolves any stains or mineral deposits. It also helps to get rid of those nasty rabbit pee smells.
For tougher stains use a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Cover all the stains with this paste and let it soak for 30 minutes. Wipe of the paste thoroughly and wash everything off with water.
Let all the parts of the cage dry completely before you put them all back. Having everything bone dry helps in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus in the cage.
Step 5 - Wash Out The Food Bowls
Perhaps the most important part of deep cleaning a rabbit cage is cleaning the food bowls. Food bowls can easily become a nursery for growing harmful bacteria and molds. Which can be extremely dangerous for pet rabbits.
Your rabbit’s food bowl is dirtier than it looks. It regularly come in contact with various food items as well as your bunny’s mouth. On a microscopic level the surface of the bowl contains rabbit’s saliva, food scraps, rabbit hair etc.
I have even seen rabbits stepping on their food bowl with pee covered feet as well.
A rabbit eating from such a dirty food bowl can easily be the cause of food poisoning or other oral infections. That’s why we need to take extra care while cleaning out a rabbits food bowl and it must be cleaned once a week at least.
To deep clean your rabbit;s food bowl, first inspect it for any damage such as crack or chips. Rabbits are known to toss around their bowls so make sure that the bowl is intact.
Wash the bowls out with hot water and detergent. You can also use your dishwasher. To sterilize the bowl and get rid of all bacteria and molds, you can boil the bowl in a pot for 10 minutes.
Dry out the bowls before placing them back in the cage to prevent any further growth of microbes
Step 6 - Clean Out Their Water Bottles
Up next is the water bottle. Most rabbits these days drink from a water bottle but if your bunny prefers drinking from a bowl then follow the previous step for cleaning the water bowl as well.
If your bunny uses a bottle then open it up and separate all the parts. Once you have everything separated, wash it out with warm and soap. You can also boil it in a pot for 10 minutes to get rid of any bacteria or mold that may be growing in the bottle.
Remember not to use soaps that that have a strong smell as it may deter your rabbit from using the bottle. Rabbits have a much stronger sense of smell than us so even mild smelling soaps may be too much for them.
Dry out all the parts after cleaning to prevent any microbial growth and make sure the bottle is working without leaks before placing it back in the cage.
Step 7 - Wash Their Litter Box
Often the dirtiest part of a rabbit’s cage, the litter box definitely needs some tender love and care during our deep cleaning session.
The litter box accumulates rabbit’s urine, poop and rotting hay. Over time it can develop nasty smells as well as tough stains that are hard to get out in day to day cleaning.
First thing first, scoop out any litter or waste from the litter box and discard it. Give it a good rinse with just plain soapy water. Then soak it in a disinfectant solution (Bleach and water in 1:10 ratio).
Keep your litter box soaked in this solution for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how tough the stains are.
A chemical free alternative to using disinfectant solution in this step is to use vinegar. You can use make a home made disinfectant from equal parts of vinegar and water and soak the litter box in it.
Although not as effective bleach, vinegar is definitely the safer option for rabbits.
Step 8 - Soak Out Their Bedding
If your rabbit has blanket or cloth bedding then they need a deep clean from time to time as well. As we all know, rabbit bedding can collect a lot of dirt and stains which are hard to get out.
Once you have all the bedding out, shake out any bits of food, hay or pellets that may be stuck. Then wash them in the washing machine with an unscented detergent powder.
Strong smelling detergent can irritate a rabbits nose. It is also recommended to wash all bedding fabrics in hot water if possible. This helps to sterilize and get rid of all the germs.
Once washed out, dry all fabric items in a dryer or under the sun. Drying them out in high heat also helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria and molds.
Once dried, inspect all the items for wear and tear then place them back in.
Step 9 - Clean & Replace Toys
Rabbits love toys they can chew and toss around. They add enrichment to their life and is a great way to stimulate your bunny to play and have fun with you.
Firstly, seperate out your rabbit toys into washable and non washable. For the ones you can wash like, stuffed animals or plastic toys use hot water and unscented detergent and dry out completely.
For un-washable toys like cardboard or paper toys, just wipe them down after a spray of vinegar solution or replace them.
Make sure all of the rabbit toys are absolutely dry before you put them back in.
Step 10 - Clean Around & Below The Cage
Deep cleaning your rabbit’s cage does not end inside the cage, the area outside. This is where having a vacuum cleaner around is really handy.
Rabbits can be messy animals and any room where you keep their cage is bound to get messy over time as well. From loose hay to the occasional pellet, deep cleaning the rabbit’s cage is an easy way to keep your rabbit’s room smell free and clean.
Start with vacuuming out below the cage, use can also use a broom and dustpan here. Inspect for any stains on the floor or walls near the cage, sometime rabbits can spray urine outside the cage which can develop nasty stains if overlooked.
Wipe down any stains with a bleach solution to remove any stains on the carpet while a vinegar solution should make quick work of any stains.
Step 11 - Put Everything Back In
The final step is to give everything one last inspection and put it back where it was. Rabbits have excellent memory and can easily remember the layout of their home.
The rabbit may be hesitent at first because the smells of their cage has changed, it may also be getting foreign smells like soap, vinegar or disinfecting liquid.
If you see that your bunny that your bunny is hesitant then try placing a few treats here and there in the cage. That is sure to get most rabbits back to their cage at once.
Remember to never force your bunny in and out of their cage, let them come out on their own or lure them with a treat.
Faq On Deep Cleaning A Rabbit Cage
Here are some faq asked by our readers on how to deep clean a rabbit cage.
How Often Should I Clean A Rabbit Cage?
I would recommend doing a basic cleaning daily and deep clean monthly or every two weeks. I find this to be the perfect interval to keep up with my rabbit’s hygiene. But it all depend on you and your rabbit, how big your bunny is, how large your room is and a bunch of other circumstances.
Choose the cleaning routine that fits you while following this guideline and you should be fine.
Is It Possible To Keep A Rabbit Cage Clean Without Deep Cleaning?
Ofcourse it is, if you can put in the extra bit of time during your daily or weekly cleaning then you can definitely go without deep cleaning your rabbit cage.
You can also choose to break up the deep cleaning session in two days. Clean some of the items at a time.
Now that you have a good understanding of how to deep clean a rabbit cage, you should try to make it a part of your routine. In time your rabbits and their cages will be healthier than ever before.
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