Cleaning Your Pet Rats’ Cage

Why pet rat cage cleaning is so important

#pet rat cage #pet rat cage cleaning #pet rats #rats #fancy rats #pet rat care #about pet ratsIf you smell any odors coming from your rats’ cage, it means you waited too long to clean it. Just think, whatever you can smell is 100X stronger (and more damaging) for your rats. Rats’ sense of smell is so refined they can detect the scent of land mines and tuberculosis.  Not only that but rats can smell in stereo!

If feces are not disposed of daily, the resulting bacterial growth may be harmful if inhaled or ingested. Urine build-up over time produces ammonia fumes which can trigger respiratory disease. Any damp bedding, litter or cloth can harbor fungal growth. It’s highly recommended that you litter box train your rats. Using litter boxes makes it much easier to keep your rats’ home in pristine condition.

By keeping their cage clean, you’ll help your pet rats live longer, healthier lives. Diseases (such as mycoplasma) and parasites (such as mites) can be prevented or at least lessened by regular cleaning.

Cleaning Routines


  • Replace all soiled bedding and litter with fresh bedding and litter
  • Besides a visual inspection, perform a sniff test for all cloth items – A sniff test is just like it sounds….Put your nose right up to the cloth and if it smells anything other than fresh, remove and replace it.
  • Empty water bottles and refill with fresh water
  • Remove any food not eaten

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  • Clean the room in which your rats’ cage is located.
    • While dusting, place a cover over the cage so dust gets doesn’t get inside.
    • If the room is carpeted, place your rats in their travel carrier and take them to another room so the loud vacuuming sounds don’t disturb them.
  • Thoroughly clean all water bottles using a bottle brush and dish detergent. Rinse fully. Water bottles and sipper tubes can also be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher for “double cleaning”. Again, be sure to rinse completely even after they’ve been washed in the dishwasher.
  • Empty, wash and disinfect entire cage

How to Clean & Disinfect

This video shows how to clean and disinfect your pet rats’ cage:

If you prefer written instructions, continue reading below:


For washing and cleaning the cage:#pet rat cage cleaning scrub brushes #pet rat cage cleaning #pet rats #rats

  • Scrub brushes (assorted sizes), toothbrushes for smallest areas
  • Two empty spray bottles. Fill them with:
    • Dishwashing detergent (diluted with water) –  Dawn works exceptionally well due to it’s grease cleaning capabilities
    • Oxyfresh Cleansing Gelé (diluted with water) – Oxyfresh Cleansing Gelé is a disinfectant that contains stabilized chlorine dioxide and has bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal properties. Despite being so powerful, it’s not toxic like bleach or ammonia. It’s so safe, it’s used by many bird owners for disinfecting bird cages. There are other disinfectants you can use, but I believe Oxyfresh is both the most powerful and the safest.
  • Bath towels for drying

For machine washing cloth items:

  • Free & Clear Laundry Detergent (unscented and hypoallergenic)
  • White vinegar (add one cup to washer to help cut through odors)

#pet rat carrier #pet rats #rats #pet rat care #pet rat cage cleaningPreparation

  • Take everything out of the cage including your rats.
  • Place your rats in a travel carrier. A good carrier to use is one that’s designed for cats….which works out perfectly for rats, too.
  • Use free & clear laundry detergent in your washing machine to clean all cloth items. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to your wash. (The vinegar helps cut through residual urine odors.)
  • Throw away anything that can’t be cleaned such as cardboard boxes or items made of wood.
  • Clean hard plastic items such as sputniks, other types of hideouts and toys the same way you clean and disinfect the cage.
  • Decide where you want to clean your pet rats’ cage – The best place is outdoors. If this isn’t an option for you, smaller or medium size cages can easily be cleaned in a bathtub or shower stall. If you have a larger cage and are unable to clean it outdoors, you can still clean it in the room where it’s located. Place a large plastic tarp underneath and around your cage to avoid getting water on your floor. To rinse, use rags or washcloths soaked in a bucket or large bowl of clean water.

STEP 1 – Clean

Spray the entire cage using your spray bottle filled with dish detergent diluted with water. Use your scrub brushes to scrub in each direction to loosen up and get rid of all dirt and debris. Start at the top of your cage and work your way down so you won’t knock any dirt onto an area you’ve already cleaned. It’s very important to get rid of all dirt particles before using your disinfectant. If you skip using detergent first to get rid of all the dirt, the disinfectant won’t be effective on the actual surfaces of the cage. If your cage has a bottom tray, remember to spray and scrub it as well.

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Oxyfresh Cleansing Gelé is a powerful yet very safe disinfectant. It contains stabilized chlorine dioxide and has bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal properties.

STEP 2 – Rinse

Rinse off the detergent thoroughly. If you’re able to clean your cage outdoors, a garden hose works perfectly for rinsing. If you’re cleaning your cage indoors, turn on the shower to rinse. A detachable shower head with a hose is helpful.

STEP 3 – Disinfect

Spray the disinfectant onto all surfaces including the bottom tray.

Leave the disinfectant on for at least 10 minutes.

STEP 4 – Rinse

Rinse all surfaces thoroughly.

STEP 5 – Dry

Towel dry.

If you’re cleaning your cage outside, (and if it’s a warm, sunny day,) leave your cage out in the sun for an hour or so after towel drying.

For extra thoroughness, you can use the same methods above to clean the walls surrounding your rats’ cage.

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Once your cage is back in its normal spot, fill it with new boxes, freshly washed bedding and hammocks and clean litter boxes. All that’s left is to return your rats to their home. They’ll love checking out their redecorated digs!




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