Rabbits are a popular pet and are often kept in cages. The cages must be cleaned regularly to prevent the animals from becoming sick or dirty. There are a few different ways to clean a rabbit cage.As part of my job at the rescue center, I am responsible for cleaning out all of the rabbit and small animal enclosures. Because there are often a couple of handfuls of hutches that need cleaning, I've developed a streamlined approach to deep cleaning a rabbit enclosure.The frequency will vary depending on the cleanliness of your rabbit and the type of enclosure you use; specific tasks, such as cleaning the litter box, should be completed daily to avoid odor buildup.
One way is to use a vacuum cleaner. Make sure the power is off before cleaning the cage, as the noise may scare the rabbit. Clean the cage floor and walls first with a brush and then vacuum. Make sure to remove any droppings and food particles.
Another way to clean a rabbit cage is to use a bucket and water. Fill the bucket with water and place it in the cage. Soak a cloth in the water and wring it out. Place the cloth on the floor of the cage and let the rabbit dry off.
Depending on your rabbit habitat, I've divided my cleaning routines into three categories: the ex-pen, the covered cage, and the cage with a removable top. The cleaning tasks are generally the same for all three, but the approach is slightly different, so feel free to skip to the section with the type of enclosure you use.
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Cleaning tasks for all enclosure types on a daily basis
Whatever type of enclosure you have for your rabbit, some simple daily tasks will make it much easier to keep a clean home, as well as limit any odor from building up in your rabbit's area and prevent potential insect infestations.
The daily cleaning tasks include:
- Remove uneaten food. You should discard any uneaten fresh foods or soiled dried foods on a daily basis.This includes any urinated-on hay or uneaten pellets that have gotten wet. You should remove any uneaten fresh foods or soiled dried foods daily. This includes any hay that’s been urinated on or uneaten pellets that managed to get wet.
- Refill water bowl. Every day, empty and refill the water bowl with fresh water.This step will help prevent bacteria buildup and encourage better hydration in rabbits. Clean the dish or water bottle with soap and water once a week. Empty and refill the water bowl with fresh water every day. This step will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and encourage better hydration in rabbits. Once a week you should clean the dish or water bottle with soap and water.
- Every day, scoop out your rabbit's poop and the soiled parts of their litter box.You don't have to scrub it, but this basic cleaning is necessary to prevent odor buildup from your rabbit's urine. Scoop out your rabbit’s poop and the soiled parts of their litter box every day. You don’t need to scrub it down, but this basic cleaning is essential for preventing a build-up of smell from your rabbit’s urine.
- Do a quick sweep of any hay or fur that is causing a mess in and around your rabbit's enclosure.Do a quick sweep of any hay and fur that are making a mess in and around your rabbit’s enclosure.
I always recommend using a pet exercise pen for your rabbit's enclosure because it provides more space and is easier to clean.
Enclosure 1: Pet exercise pen
My preferred rabbit enclosure setup is to use a pet playpen rather than a traditional rabbit cage because the pens are less expensive and much easier to clean.You can usually find these in the dog section of pet stores or online, and you'll want to get a cheap area rug to put underneath the pen to protect the flooring.
If your rabbit has not yet been litter trained, you can purchase large puppy pee pads to wash and reuse, making it easy to keep your floor clean while your rabbit learns better potty habits.
- Remove everything from the enclosure, including food bowls, toys, the litter box, and any hiding places your rabbit uses.Fold up the pen and set it aside to make cleaning easier, and while you're at it, check to see if any of the toys are soiled or all chewed up.You can get rid of anything that your rabbit is no longer using.This includes all the food bowls, toys, the litter box, and any hiding houses your rabbit uses. You also want to fold up the pen and move it aside to make cleaning easier. As you’re moving everything,
check to see if any of the toys are soiled, or all chewed up. You can throw out anything that your rabbit can’t use anymore.
- Sweep. After you've removed everything, use a dustbin to sweep up any large piles of hay, poop, or fur to avoid clogging the vacuum machine.After you remove everything, you’ll want to use a dustbin and sweep up any large piles of hay, poop, and fur to prevent any clogs in the vacuum machine.
- After you've done a quick sweep, all you have to do is vacuum the area to remove the hay dust and fur. After you’ve done a quick sweep-up, all you have to do is vacuum the area to clean the hay dust and fur.
- Now that the enclosure has been cleaned, you should wash the rabbits' supplies and accessories.Clean out any food and water dishes, and thoroughly clean out the litter box, emptying it into the garbage and spraying it with a pet-safe all-purpose cleaner.Warm water can be used to wash any fabric bedding (including towels and blankets). Now that the enclosure is clean, you want to wash their supplies and accessories as well. Clean out any food and water dishes and take the time to clean out the litter box thoroughly. Empty it into the garbage and spray the litter box with a pet-safe all-purpose cleaner. Any fabric bedding (like towels and blankets) can be run through the washing machine with warm water.
- Replace everything in the enclosure, and now all you have to do is re-arrange everything to your rabbit's liking. Now all you have to do is set everything
back up the way your rabbit likes it.
Fully enclosed rabbit cages with a tray on the bottom are inefficient and difficult to clean.
Enclosure 2: Fully covered hutch
Fully covered hutches, where the only access is through a small door, are my least favorite to clean.They are designed to be nearly impossible to clean on the inside, with a sliding tray at the bottom that the manufacturers expect to catch any rabbit mess.The plan was for you to simply clean out this tray and be done with it, but that tray is useless.
Why is the slide-out tray ineffective?
Because of your rabbit's feet, you cannot use the tray underneath these rabbit hutches; instead, the enclosure must have a wired or perforated bottom to allow debris to fall through.
Because of the way the rabbit needs to sit, this type of flooring causes injured rabbit feet with sore hocks, and it can lead to back problems later on. If you have this type of hutch for your rabbit, you must cover the wire bottom with towels or mats to protect your rabbit's feet.
Even if you want to use the tray to catch anything that falls through the holes, it usually doesn't work because hay pieces are too large to fall through the holes and urine that escapes the litter box rusts the wire flooring.Essentially, even if this type of enclosure is not harmful to your rabbit's feet, it is ineffective and difficult to clean.
Cleaning a fully covered hutch
- Take everything out of the hutch, including the food and water dishes, toys, and litter box.Remove any soiled or chewed-up toys, as well as the towels and mats you use as bedding.Before putting the bedding in the washer, shake it off into the garbage.This includes the food and water dishes, toys, and litter box. Throw away any toys that are soiled or all chewed up. You’ll also want to remove the towels and mats you use as bedding. Shake off the bedding into the garbage before putting it in the wash.
- Sweep up any remaining hay and poop, and try to remove any hay and poop that has become stuck in the wire floor.To remove all of the hay, fur, and debris, you may need to remove the tray and turn the cage upside down. Try to sweep up any hay and poop stuck in the wire floor. You may have to remove the tray and turn the cage upside down to remove all the hay, fur, and
- Spray the enclosure with a pet-safe cleaning solution to disinfect the floor and walls.Scrub any areas where there are urine stains to prevent bacteria buildup. Use a pet-safe cleaning spray to disinfect the enclosure floor and walls. If there are any areas with urine stains, try to scrub them to prevent bacteria buildup.
- Once the cage has been cleaned, place clean towels or mats along the bottom as bedding.Avoid buying bedding in pet stores because it is unnecessary and will only make cleaning more difficult. Once the cage is clean, put clean towels or mats along the bottom as bedding. Avoid the actual product called bedding in pet stores since that is unnecessary and will only make cleaning more difficult.
- Clean out your rabbit's food and water dishes before replacing them in the enclosure.You should also empty and scrub the litter tray to prevent bacterial buildup.Clean out your rabbit’s food and water dishes before replacing them in the enclosure. You’ll also need to empty the litter tray and scrub it to prevent a bacterial buildup.
- Return everything to the enclosure. Once everything is clean, return everything to the enclosure in the manner that your rabbit prefers.Once everything is clean, arrange everything back in the enclosure how your rabbit likes it.
- Sweep and vacuum the area around the cage; now that the hutch is clean, there will most likely be a mess in the surrounding area.To finish cleaning, sweep up any large hay chunks and vacuum the area.Now that the hutch is clean, you’ll probably have a mess in the surrounding area. Sweep up
any large hay chunks and vacuum the area to finish cleaning.
Because the inside is more accessible, enclosures with a fully removable top or wide doors are easier to clean.
Hutch with removable top, enclosure 3
Hutches with a removable top typically have plastic flooring and fencing that can be unclipped from the sides, similar to how many dog crates (commonly used as rabbit enclosures) are set up.In this category, I also include hutches that open entirely from one of the sides and have a removable plastic tray lining the bottom; these enclosures are not difficult to clean because you can comfortably get in and scrub soiled spots.
- Remove the hutch's wire top, then unclip the enclosure's top and set it aside to allow easy access to the bottom.nbsp; Unclip the top of the enclosure and put it aside to give you easy access to the bottom.
- Take out any food dishes, toys, litter box, and hiding places your rabbit has.Throw away dirty or chewed-up toys, and remove the mat or towel that serves as your rabbit's flooring, shaking off the bedding into the garbage before placing it in the washer.Take out any food dishes, toys, litter box and any hiding houses your rabbit has. Throw away dirty toys or toys that are chewed up, and remove the mat or towel you have as flooring for your rabbit.
Shake off the bedding into the garbage before placing it into the wash.
- Sweep up any remaining hay, poop, and fur from the bottom of the enclosure using a dustpan or lifting the tray and dumping it into the garbage.nbsp; Either lift the tray and dump it into the garbage or use a dustpan to sweep up any remaining hay, poop, and fur from the bottom of the enclosure.
- Wipe down the bottom tray and use a cleaning spray to clean the hutch's plastic base.Remove any urine stains and clean any areas where your rabbit may have missed the litter box.You’ll want to use a cleaning spray to wipe down the hutch’s plastic base. Scrub any urine stains and areas where your rabbit might have missed the litter box.
- Before putting everything back where it belongs, clean and sanitize the supplies.This includes cleaning the food and water dishes as well as the litter box.Before placing everything back where it belongs, you’ll want to clean and sanitize the supplies. This includes the food and water dishes and giving the litter box a deep clean.
- Replace all of your rabbit's supplies in the enclosure and replace clean bedding (towels or mats) on the bottom of the enclosure floor. Replace clean bedding (towels or mats) on the bottom of the enclosure floor and add in all of your rabbit’s supplies.
- Sweep and vacuum around the cage, as you will most likely have a mess in the room now that the enclosure is clean.Sweep up the hay chunks and vacuum to finish cleaning. Now that the enclosure is clean, you will likely have a
mess in the room. Sweep up the chunks of hay and then vacuum to finish cleaning.
How frequently should you clean your rabbit cage?
If your rabbit is litter trained, you should only need to deep clean their enclosure every other week, and if your rabbit is exceptionally clean, you may be able to go a month without deep cleaning the rabbit pen.Your rabbit's area should not become too dirty as long as you clean the litter box every day and perform those simple daily tasks.
If your rabbit hasn't been litter trained, you'll have a lot of work ahead of you because you'll need to clean out their enclosure every day, or at least every other day.Consistent cleaning will be required to ensure that your rabbit is not living in filthy conditions, preventing urine scald along their legs and underside, and to encourage better potty habits when litter training your rabbit.
Finding rabbit-safe cleaning products
Many rabbits enjoy licking everything they come across, so it's critical to use a cleaning product that doesn't contain harmful chemicals so that your rabbit doesn't lick and ingest anything they shouldn't.
Many pet-safe cleaning products are available online and in pet stores; these are non-toxic formulas that are safe to use in a home with babies and curious pets.Puracy is a well-known brand of one of these all-purpose cleaners, with a plant-based formula that uses the natural cleaning power of citrus and other plants to keep things clean.(Check out the Amazon price)
You can also make your own pet-safe cleaning solution by combining one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle (1 cup water + 1 cup vinegar).In addition to being inexpensive, vinegar is excellent at removing odors left by rabbit urine. Because I dislike the smell of vinegar, I add a few drops of lemon essential oil to make my homemade cleaner smell better.I've also used this vinegar solution to remove urine stains from the carpet.
You can make a cleaning solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach for deep cleaning, but this is not pet safe.Because many rabbits lick a lot, keep your rabbit away from any area where you used bleach for at least a few hours.
How to Easily Clean a Rabbit Cage
It doesn't take much effort to keep your rabbit's area clean if you are consistent with their cleaning routine; however, there are some ways you can make the task easier.
- Purchase an easy-to-clean enclosure. I recommend a pet playpen for your rabbit's enclosure because it is much easier to clean.It's usually less expensive and larger than traditional rabbit cages, so I think this is the best option for house rabbits. (check the current price) I recommend getting a pet
playpen for your rabbit’s enclosure since this is much easier to clean. It’s typically less expensive and larger than traditional rabbit cages too, so overall I find this to be the best option for house rabbits. (check out the current price)
- Towels can be used as bedding; bedding is not necessary for house rabbits.It only complicates cleaning; instead, use towels or newspaper along the bottom of the enclosure to provide traction for your rabbit's feet.Towels also make cleaning much easier if your rabbit is not yet litter trained. Using the product called bedding is
unnecessary for house rabbits. All it does is make cleaning a lot more complicated. Instead, use towels or newspaper along the bottom of the enclosure to give your rabbit’s feet some traction. Towels also make it much easier to clean if your rabbit is not litter trained yet.
- Allow your rabbit to explore while you clean; some rabbits become upset when their home is cleaned.It's best if you can allow them to exercise and explore while you finish the task so you don't have to worry about an angry rabbit snapping at your hands. Some rabbits get upset when you try to clean their home. It’s best if you can give them time out to exercise and explore while you get the task done so
that you don’t have to worry about an angry rabbit snapping at your hands.
When cleaning the hay out of your rabbit's enclosure, be cautious because hay is notorious for clogging any drains or pipes it enters.If you try to clean hay out of a bathtub, your drains will become clogged.
Instead, sweep up the hay with a dustbin first, then vacuum any remaining small hay pieces and dust.Use a vacuum cleaner with detachable tubes and a clear container to detect when the vacuum is clogged.Then you can easily remove the tube and unclog it; I use this vacuum cleaner, and it's still working after five years!
If you use towels in your rabbit enclosure, make sure to shake off any hay before washing them to avoid a clog in the washing machine drain.It will also keep the trash can from filling up as quickly.
Disposing of rabbit waste
Typically, you will need to dispose of your rabbit's waste with the rest of your trash, sending it to a landfill; some people will try to flush it down the toilet, but this is not recommended because it will clog the drains.Instead, use a trash bag that will not rip easily.
Simply put your rabbit's poop and soiled litter in a plastic bag and throw it away; I have a small, lidded trash can that I use to try to use less plastic in my rabbit care routine.I can cover it with the lid to keep the odor from spreading, and I'll use a plastic bag every week instead of every day.
If you have your own garden or compost heap, you can use your rabbit's litter box droppings as fertilizer because they do not carry diseases like cat or dog poop.It's a safe and nutrient-dense fertilizer to use in a garden; simply sprinkle it on the soil or add it to your own compost bin.However, most commercial composting companies will not accept any kind of animal waste due to the risk of disease transmission from other animals, so this is only an option if you have your own garden at home.
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