No one likes to clean their rabbit's cage but making this job as easy as possible and sticking to a schedule will make it less of a chore. There are no set rules for how often to clean your rabbit's cage but by doing a small amount of cleaning every day you will make things easier on yourself. As a general rule, plan on doing a thorough cleaning of your rabbit's cage at least once a week but your rabbit's cage may need this deep cleaning more often depending on the size of the cage and how well your rabbit is litter trained. If you have more than one rabbit you will also find that it will need to be cleaned more often.
Daily Rabbit Cage Cleaning
- Remove any uneaten fresh foods (fruit, vegetables, etc.) from the cage daily. Ideally this is even done twice daily, once in the morning and again at night.
- Wash out the food bowl(s).
- Wash and refill the water bottle. A bottle brush will make this task easier.
- Spot clean small messes such as water spills and urine clumps that are outside the litter box. Replace these areas with fresh hay/bedding if necessary.
- Scoop the litter box and add more litter or change out the litter as needed.
Weekly Rabbit Cage Cleaning
- Perform daily cleaning tasks.
- Remove all accessories and toys from the cage. Wash and scrub them clean using water and dish soap.
- Remove and wash all fabric bedding from the cage. Replace with clean bedding. You should have two sets of bedding/blankets for each rabbit cage to make this easy for yourself.
- Wipe down the cage with hot water and use vinegar to help remove stubborn urine deposits. If you have a smaller cage, you may want to take it apart and rinse it with water in the bathtub or with a hose outside.
It is a good idea to periodically disinfect your cage but any disinfectant needs to be rinsed really well. Disinfectant cleaners are not good options for wood cages though, since they may soak up the chemicals if they wood isn't properly sealed. A bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) can be used to disinfect the cage and other supplies. Allow the cage and other items to soak in this solution for about 30 minutes and then rinse everything extremely well.
Cleaning Rabbit Litter Boxes
As mentioned, litter boxes should be checked and spot cleaned daily. This is not only helpful for cleanliness reasons but it is also important because it gives you a chance to monitor your rabbit's urine and feces output. Monitoring these things will alert you to any changes that could indicate a health problem in your rabbit.
The frequency of complete litter box changes and cleaning will depend a lot on the type and amount of litter you use. If you use a shallow layer of litter you may want to clean out the litter box daily. If you use more litter to make a deeper layer you should be able to simply scoop out messes and completely change the litter less frequently.
Tips for Cleaning Rabbit Cages
- Vinegar is an excellent tool for cleaning rabbit cages and especially litter boxes. Calcium salts tend to precipitate out of rabbit urine and form a hard material that really sticks to cages and litter boxes. However, vinegar dissolves these calcium salts wonderfully well. Keep some vinegar in a spray bottle for quick cleaning of litter pans and to spray down soiled parts of the cage. If your litter box has more stubborn deposits, simply soak them with vinegar for 10-20 minutes and you should be able to wipe them away.
- Litter trabbit raining your (and choosing a quality litter) will make cage cleaning chores easier for you.
- Choosing an absorbent bedding will help to make cage cleaning easier.
- Choosing the right cage is important. A large cage is best for any rabbit but look for one that is easy to clean. Exposed wood surfaces soak up urine and other messes and are difficult to clean.
- Spaying or neutering your rabbit will also help keep the cage cleaner by reducing the incidence of territorial marking and spraying.
- Don't clean items soiled with feces in the kitchen sink. Instead, use the bathroom sink, bathtub, or laundry sink to clean litter boxes and then sanitize the sink or tub and surrounding areas afterwards. Hosing items down avoids this extra step though.
- Schedule a weekly cleaning day on your calendar so that you don't forget to clean your rabbit's cage.
Edited by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT