We all (I hope) know how important it is to keep our small pet’s living area a clean and sanitary place. Rats are no exception. Keeping your rat cage clean is essential to the health and well-being of your rats. I mean, would you want to live in a house that’s only cleaned when it starts to smell and have to sit and play in your own poo? Yeah, me either. But what’s really the BEST answer to "how to clean your rat cage?"
Obviously, the more rats you have, the more often you’ll likely have to clean. It comes with the territory. If I had ten kids (yeah… no), I’d have to clean more than if I had one. Seems pretty straightforward, right?
We should be checking for poop or even completely emptying the litter tray. Humans flush for a reason. Rats can’t do that. So they depend on you to do it for them. If bedding is soaked, remove and replace.
Give their cage a quick wipe down with something non-toxic and pet friendly. We recommend either baby wipes or a white vinegar/water solution.
Replace their food and their water… this should be a no-brainer. ALL small animals need 24/7 access to food and water, just like you.
No matter how many radical rats we have, we need to do a deeper clean. Replace all bedding, no matter what. Even if you use a high-quality, more absorbent bedding (which we highly recommend), as urine is soaked up, the cage will have higher amounts ammonia, which is dangerous for a rat’s respiratory system.
Cage accessories should be wiped down outside of the cage with a pet-safe disinfectant, rinsed thoroughly in hot water, and completely dried before re-entering the habitat.
All food/water containers should also be wiped down outside of the cage. After wipe down, make sure you’re drying, to ensure any cleaning product residue is completely removed. Even though we’re using pet-friendly products, we don’t want residue.
Every week, everything (bed, litter) should be replaced. Everything fresh. So fresh, so clean.
The deepest clean of all is the monthly clean, and it’s recommended the cage be dismantled for this process. The entire cage should be sprayed with non-toxic, pet-friendly anti-bacterial spray, and scrubbed thoroughly. Then, we’ll rinse down with hot water to make sure, again, that all residue is gone. The same process should be repeated for everything in the cage: accessories, food and water containers.
At the monthly mark, too, all bedding and litter should be replaced. And voila! A super clean rat cage!
I personally recommend writing down (and keeping, yes, keeping) a schedule for your cleanings. It’s helpful, especially at first, before you have that mental alarm clock, to let you know when you’re due for a weekly or monthly cleaning.
Clean = better. But not when you’re using toxic chemicals to clean, so stay away from those. And never use air fresheners. I beg you. They’re toxic, too.
If you do these things, I bet your rat know will know you love them even more (if that’s possible). Let’s always be thinking of them, and giving them the most comfy, safe space to live.