what to clean gerbil cage with

What can be used to clean a gerbil cage?

Gerbils have a high demand for a clean environment. They choose a specific spot in their cage for toileting, while other areas are reserved for sleeping and storing food. Gerbils dislike living in dirty conditions, and if the cage becomes too unclean, they may become anxious, unsettled, and even exhibit aggressive or self-harming behaviors. To ensure the comfort and safety of gerbils, it’s crucial to regularly clean their cage and maintain a clean and tidy living space.

So, how should we clean a gerbil cage? What is the recommended frequency, methods, tools, and materials for cleaning? What preparations are needed after cleaning? Are there any precautions to be aware of during the process? This article will address these questions one by one, guiding you to become a professional gerbil cage cleaner.

Frequency of Gerbil Cage Cleaning

The cleaning frequency depends on the number of gerbils and the size of the cage. Generally, gerbil cages can be classified into two types: wire cages and plastic tanks. Wire cages provide good ventilation, and gerbil waste falls into a tray at the bottom, requiring daily cleaning of the tray. Plastic tanks, which are more enclosed, necessitate changing some bedding daily and a thorough cleaning once a week.

For a single gerbil, weekly cage cleaning is sufficient, but daily checks are necessary to promptly clean the toilet and remove food remnants. If you have two or more gerbils, cleaning every three days is recommended due to increased waste production, making the cage more prone to dirtiness. Regardless of the number of gerbils, monthly cleaning of toys, food bowls, and water bottles is essential to prevent bacterial growth.

Regular cage cleaning significantly impacts the health of gerbils. It eliminates waste and urine, reduces odor and bacterial growth, and helps prevent skin, respiratory, and digestive issues. Moreover, a clean cage ensures the gerbils’ comfort and happiness, providing them with a tidy and comfortable living space, enhancing trust, and fostering closeness.

Correct Method for Gerbil Cage Cleaning

Remove the gerbil from the cage
Before cleaning the gerbil cage, carefully move the gerbil to a safe and comfortable place. You can use a small cage, a plastic container, or a cardboard box to temporarily house the gerbil. Ensure the container is escape-proof and protects the gerbil from other pets or children. Include some gerbil toys, food, and water in the container for entertainment and comfort. Complete the cleaning quickly to prevent the gerbil from feeling lonely or fearful.

Remove waste and old bedding from the cage
After relocating the gerbil, begin cleaning the cage by discarding waste and old bedding. Use a plastic bag or trash bin to collect gerbil waste, urine, and any chewed-up bedding materials like wood shavings, tissues, or cotton. Thoroughly clean every corner of the cage, especially focusing on the gerbil’s toilet and food storage areas, as these tend to accumulate more dirt and bacteria. Check for any damage or rust on the cage, replacing or repairing as needed.

Tools and materials for gerbil cage cleaning
Pet-safe disinfectant: This is a crucial material for cleaning the gerbil cage, killing bacteria and germs to protect the gerbil’s health. Choose a disinfectant specifically designed for pets, free from harmful chemicals and non-irritating odors. Purchase this disinfectant at a pet store or online, or create a natural disinfectant by mixing white vinegar and water in a 1:4 ratio.

Cleaning tools: Various cleaning tools are needed to assist in cleaning the gerbil cage, such as brushes, sponges, and paper towels. Opt for soft and durable cleaning tools that effectively remove dirt and residues without scratching or damaging the cage surface. Ensure proper hygiene by rinsing and air-drying the cleaning tools after each use, preventing bacteria growth and spread.

New bedding: After cleaning the gerbil cage, provide fresh bedding to ensure the gerbil has a comfortable and warm sleeping area. Choose natural bedding materials like wood shavings, tissues, cotton, or hay that absorb urine, keep the cage dry, and satisfy the gerbil’s natural instincts for biting and digging. Avoid harmful bedding materials like pine or cedar shavings and scented tissues, as they release toxic substances that can irritate the gerbil’s respiratory system and skin.

Steps for gerbil cage cleaning
Step 1: Place the gerbil cage in a well-ventilated area and rinse every part of the cage with clean water, removing residual dirt and dust.

Step 2: Dilute the pet-safe disinfectant according to the instructions, dip a brush or sponge into the solution, and wipe every part of the cage. Pay extra attention to the gerbil’s toilet and food storage areas to eliminate bacteria and germs.

Step 3: Rinse every part of the cage again with clean water to remove any remaining disinfectant. Use paper towels to dry every part of the cage or place the cage in sunlight to air-dry and prevent bacterial growth.

Step 4: Clean the gerbil’s toys, food bowl, and water bottle using the same method. Wipe or air-dry them after rinsing. If any signs of damage or contamination are present, promptly replace or clean them.

Step 5: Inspect every part of the gerbil cage for damage or rust. Replace or repair any compromised areas. Check the cage doors and locks to ensure proper functioning, preventing the gerbil from escaping or getting injured.

Post-cleaning Preparations for the Gerbil Cage

Step 1: Lay a new layer of bedding about 5 cm thick at the bottom of the cage, providing the gerbil with a soft and warm sleeping place. Add extra bedding around the gerbil’s toilet area to absorb urine and maintain cage dryness.

Step 2: Place some gerbil toys in the cage, such as wooden sticks, paper rolls, stones, plastic balls, etc., offering the gerbil opportunities for entertainment and exercise. Position toys in different areas of the cage to encourage exploration and discovery. Include some of the gerbil’s favorite foods, such as dried fruits, seeds, and vegetables, as treats and surprises.

Step 3: Put food bowls and water bottles in the cage, ensuring the gerbil has an ample supply of food and water. Choose bowls and bottles suitable for gerbils, securely fixing them to the cage to prevent tipping or chewing. Regularly check the hygiene of food bowls and water bottles, replacing or refilling as needed.

Step 4: Return the gerbil to the cage, allowing it to acclimate to the new environment. Gently pick up the gerbil with your hands or use a small container to transfer it into the cage. Avoid grabbing or shaking the gerbil forcefully to prevent fear or injury. Observe the gerbil’s reaction, adjusting the cage layout or providing comfort and encouragement if the gerbil appears uneasy or dissatisfied.

Cleaning a gerbil cage can be a stressful process for the gerbil, as they are temporarily removed from their familiar surroundings, and adjusting to a new environment may cause discomfort. Therefore, it’s essential to minimize stress during the cleaning process. Consider the following measures:

Play with the gerbil before cleaning to help them relax and build trust. Allow the gerbil to become accustomed to your scent and voice.

Speak to the gerbil during the cleaning process, offering treats to create a sense of security and satisfaction.

After cleaning, give the gerbil some time to adapt to the new environment. Avoid forcing interaction, allowing the gerbil to explore and discover on their own. Provide praise and gentle petting, expressing love and care.

Precautions for Gerbil Cage Cleaning

Use non-toxic, unscented cleaning products to avoid chemicals that may harm gerbils, such as bleach, alcohol, or perfumes. These substances can irritate the gerbil’s respiratory system and skin, potentially causing poisoning or death.

Wear gloves during gerbil cage cleaning to prevent transferring gerbil bacteria or parasites to your hands and to protect against bites or scratches. Wash your hands after cleaning to prevent bacteria spread.

Maintain a calm and peaceful atmosphere during gerbil cage cleaning, avoiding loud or harsh noises like vacuum cleaners, TVs, or music, which can cause gerbils to feel frightened or anxious, affecting their psychological state.

Pay attention to the gerbil’s reaction during cage cleaning. If the gerbil exhibits signs of discomfort or resistance, consider stopping the cleaning process or reducing the frequency and intensity. Allow the gerbil to gradually acclimate to the cleaning process, avoiding forcing or punishing the gerbil to prevent fear or hostility.


Cleaning a gerbil cage is a crucial aspect of gerbil care, ensuring the health and happiness of gerbils and strengthening the bond between you and your pets. Through this article, you have gained insights into the importance of gerbil cage cleaning, the correct methods, tools and materials, steps, preparations, and precautions. Follow the guidance provided in this article to provide a clean and comfortable living environment for your gerbils. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding gerbil cage cleaning, feel free to leave a comment in the section below, and I will respond promptly. Thank you for reading, and best wishes for a joyful life with your gerbils!

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