How to Clean Reptile Cages

Reptiles are often considered exotic pets, and they have quite a popular following. After all, how often do you take a leisurely walk and spot an iguana, turtle, or snake also taking a stroll in the cool night air?

Reptiles are easy pets to care for, as long as you remember a few essential things such as feeding them a healthy diet, providing them with a living space, and cleaning the cage properly. Not only will a regularly cleaned cage help to promote a healthy pet, but also, it will help to maintain an odor-free and attractive showcase for your pet.

Routine cage maintenance is essential to the health of a reptile since they are more prone to certain types of infections including bacterial. Specifically, reptiles may develop serious skin problems if their cages are not kept sufficiently clean.

Simply cleaning up and discarding spoiled food and waste products is not enough either. The fecal matter of reptiles contains salmonella, a disease that is readily known to cause disease in humans. Therefore, the reptile’s cage, feeding dishes, accessories, and cleaning tools must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent an outbreak.

The amount and frequency of cleaning that you perform on your reptile’s cage is also determined in part by the type of reptile that you have. Adjust your cleaning schedule according to the needs of your pet. Read on for a more thorough explanation of the proper cleaning of a reptile cage.

Cleaning Tools

• Several sponges
• Paper towels
• Latex or rubber household cleaning gloves
• Protective goggles
• Unscented soap or dishwashing liquid
• Liquid chlorine bleach
• Terrarium cleaner
• Putty knife
• Small brush or toothbrush
• Sand sifter
• Back up cage

Daily Cleaning Tasks

• Put on a pair of household cleaning gloves, preferably latex or rubber.
• Wipe up any spills that have occurred.
• Discard any uneaten food. Observe how much food is eaten on a daily basis. This way, if your reptile’s eating habits change, you will be able to pick up on it quickly. A change in eating habits is usually an indication of illness.
• Remove and discard any feces and urate. Urate is the chalky substance that is eliminated with the reptile’s urine. Observe any changes in your reptile’s feces or urate to determine their state of health.
• Empty food and water dishes. Clean them thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Disinfect the dishes before replacing them to the reptile’s cage.

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

• Put on a pair of household cleaning gloves, preferably latex or rubber.
• For the utmost protection, consider wearing a pair of protective goggles.
• Remove your reptile from the cage, relocating him to a spare cage or large box.
• Empty the cage completely including toys, rocks, sticks, etc. Place them on old newspaper to avoid contaminating household surfaces.
• Remove feces, uneaten food, and other debris from the cage. Sift through any sand or gravel that you have in the cage to ensure that you get it all. Dispose of the waste properly and immediately to avoid accidental contamination with other items.
• Check for signs of parasites before you begin the washing and scrubbing of the cage.
• Using a clean sponge and hot, soapy water, clean all surfaces of the cage including the roof and walls. Also, use hot, soapy water to clean any permanent furnishings inside the cage.
• Remove all signs of dried waste from the cage. Use a terrarium cleaner that is formulated for use with reptile cages. A putty knife or toothbrush can be used for this task. Remember to keep the putty knife and toothbrush with your cleaning supplies for the reptile cage.
• Using a clean sponge and fresh water, rinse the cage free of all soap residue.
• Clean the food and water dishes thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly before drying and refilling them.
• Disinfect the entire cage, furnishings, and accessories. Make a solution of one cup of liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of water (also referred to as one part to sixteen parts). Remove your reptile to another room while disinfecting the cage since toxic fumes can create an adverse reaction in your pet.
Use a clean sponge to apply the solution to the entire cage. Allow it to sit for several minutes up to ten minutes maximum. Use a different sponge to wipe the cage and remove all traces of the bleach solution. Rinse the sponge and repeat the rinsing of the cage once more.
• Use clean paper towels to thoroughly dry the cage. Dry all accessories with clean paper towels, as well, before replacing them to the cage. It is important to ensure that the cage and accessories are dry to avoid any mold growth.
• Replace all items to the cage, including dishes, accessories, and decorations.
• Once you have returned the cage to normal and replaced the food and water dishes, it is time to return your pet to his home.
• Thoroughly wash all cleaning tools and areas with hot, soapy water. Disinfect them as well.

Occasional Cleaning Tasks

• Whenever adding a new item to your reptile’s cage, clean it first. For instance, rocks should be boiled in water for approximately thirty minutes, cooled, and air dried before placing them inside the cage.
• Sticks or branches should be washed clean with water. Additionally, they can be heated in a conventional oven for thirty minutes at a low temperature between 200 to 250 degrees for no more than thirty minutes. It is important to keep an eye on the branches as they are heating to guarantee that you do not start a fire.
• If you are placing sand in your reptile’s cage, it is essential to rinse the sand thoroughly before placing it inside the cage to remove any particulate debris.

Handy Reminder Tips

• Wear household cleaning gloves to clean a reptile’s cage.
• Avoid scented soaps to clean the cage, especially those containing pine or phenol.
• Never use a sink, bathtub, or shower to clean your reptile’s cage. Since the cage may contain elements that can infect humans with disease, it is best to clean the cage in an area that is not frequently used for human activities.
• Wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water after feeding your pet, cleaning the cage, or handling the pet. You may also use a hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
• Color coordinate the sponges that you use to clean the cage. Use a different color for cleaning, rinsing, and disinfecting. Always use the same color pattern to avoid confusion.