Water bottles are very important for chinchillas as it’s their only way to consume the fluid they need to keep hydrated.
For this reason, it’s highly important that as an owner, you learn how to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle so they can drink both clean and fresh water daily.
In this post, we will show you step by step, how to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle and even provide a handy video so you can see how this is done visually.
We will also answer some other important questions regarding the cleaning of your chinchilla’s water bottle.
Before we tackle this in detail, let’s give a brief overview of how to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle.
So how do you clean a chinchilla’s water bottle?
- Unscrew the nozzle from the main bottle
- Empty any old water from the bottle into the sink
- Rinse the inside of the bottle with warm water
- Scrub the inside of the water bottle with a bottle brush
- Scrub the outside area of the bottle that screws onto the nozzle
- Rinse the inside of the bottle with cold water
- Rinse the nozzle with warm water
- Scrub the shaft of the nozzle with a bottle brush
- Scrub the inside of the nozzle with a cue tip
- Rinse the nozzle with cold water
- Fill the bottle with filtered water
- Fix the water bottle back together
- Check the bottle for leaks
How to Clean a Chinchilla Water Bottle (Step By Step)
Above, we gave a brief overview of how to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle.
In this section, we would like to expand on this same method so you know exactly how to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle in the fastest and easiest way.
Let’s now take a look at the process again in more detail…
Unscrew the Nozzle From the Main Bottle – The step of the process is pretty straight forward. Before you can begin cleaning your chinchilla’s bottle, you need to separate the main bottle container from the nozzle so you can clean them separately.
Empty the Old Water From the Bottle Into Your Sink – the next step in the process is to empty out all the old water from your chinchilla’s bottle. Even if this water looks clean, it can often contain saliva and other forms of bacteria that need to be removed from the bottle.
Rinse the Inside of The Water Bottle With Warm Water – Now it’s time to rinse the water bottle with some warm water. We like to fill the bottle around half full and shake it a number of times while capping the end so that the water stays in.
We recommend filling the bottle with warm water, shaking it and then emptying the water out around 3-4 times.
You may notice that we haven’t used any soap when cleaning to bottle. Some owners choose to use soap but we don’t actually think this is necessary if you are cleaning the bottle regularly enough.
(We will talk later in the post about if you can use soap or other detergents and how to do this)
Scrub the Water Bottle With a Bottle Brush – It’s also important that you scrub the inside of the bottle with a bottle brush. If you keep up to this routine on a regular basis then this won’t take you long as there won’t be much if any bacteria build-up.
It’s important that you scrub all the way down into the bottom corners but the main 2 areas where the majority of bacteria builds up is where the nozzle screws onto the bottle.
To demonstrate this, we have included a diagram that shows these areas where you need to pay most attention…
The reason why these 2 areas hold more bacteria is that any small pieces of food or other impurities that find their way into the bottle as your chinchilla is drinking will naturally sink to this area.
Then, as they breakdown, they will stick to the plastic or glass and form bacteria.
This means it’s important to pat extra attention to these areas and you may even need to use a second, smaller bottle brush to get into these tight corners depending on the bottle design you have.
You can see the bottle brushes we recommend and also find out the cheapest places to get them from on our recommended cleaning equipment page here…
Scrub the Outside Of the Bottle That Screws Onto the Nozzle – Ok, so we asked you to pay extra attention to cleaning the inside of the neck of the bottle as this can contain higher amounts of bacteria, and we also would like you to pay attention to cleaning the outside of this area too.
This area screws onto the nozzle and often holds stagnant water so it needs to be scrubbed with either your bottle brush or a toothbrush and warm water.
Rinse the inside Of the Water Bottle With Cold Water – The last step the cleaning the main container of the water bottle is to simply rinse the bottle with cold water. This will make sure that the bottle isn’t hot when you fix it back onto your chinchilla’s cage and the water will also be nice and cold.
Rinse the Nozzle Through With Warm Water – The next step in the process is to give the nozzle a rinse through with warm water. This should be both the inside and outside of the nozzle.
Scrub the Shaft of the Nozzle With a Small Bottle Brush – Next, you need to scrub the inside of the nozzle as this area is prone to bacteria build-ups.
The nozzle of the bottle will usually be very tiny inside and a regular-sized bottle brush won’t fit inside it.
For this reason, it’s vital that you have different sized brushes and having an extra small brush will allow you to be able to scrub inside the nozzle.
Again, we have shared our recommendations for bottle brushes in our list of recommended cleaning equipment for chinchillas right here…
Scrub the Inside of the Nozzle With a Cue Tip/Cotton Bud – We have found that the best way to clean the inside of the nozzle or the ‘cap’ area that screws on to the main bottle is to use a cue tip or cotton bud as it’s sometimes called.
This method is quick and easy and will get into those little crevices with ease and is often better than using a bottle brush for this particular part of this bottle.
Rinse the Nozzle With Some Cold Water – This step is important because you don’t want hot water to be sitting in the nozzle and potentially burning the mouth of your chinchilla when they drink the first sip from their bottle.
Fill the Bottle With Some Filtered Water – Now you’ve completed the cleaning process and you can finally fill your chinchilla’s bottle with some fresh filtered water.
Fix the Water Bottle Back Together Again – Now it’s time to fix the bottle back together and compliment yourself on a job well done!
Check the Water Bottle for Leaks – The last step is to check for leaks. Ensuring the nozzle is screwed on correctly and the water is flowing correctly too is also important as you want to be sure your chinchilla can actually get water out of the bottle.
Videos Of How to Clean Your Chinchillas Water Bottle
We hope you loved our step by step guide to cleaning your chinchilla’s water bottle, however, we understand that some people love to learn visually.
For this reason, we have included 2 videos from other small pet owners that share how they clean their pets water bottles.
It’s important to know that both these videos have slightly different methods to us and to each other but the core principles are the same.
Check out these 2 videos and see how other pet owners clean their pets water bottles…
How Often Should I Clean My Chinchillas Water Bottle?
Another important question that needs answering is, how often you should clear your chinchilla’s water bottle?
This is important because water bottles, although better than bowls, can harbour lots of bacteria.
This, in turn, can leave your chinchilla to become ill if they aren’t drinking dress water from a fresh source.
So how often should you clean your chinchilla’s water bottle? We recommend that you clean your chinchilla’s water bottle daily. If you stick to a daily cleaning routine you will find that the process will be short as bacteria never has the chance to build up.
Dr. Brian Chow (infectious disease physician), also recommends that water bottles should be washed daily. Even though his advice is geared towards humans drinking from water bottles, the same if not more bacteria will build up so we think it’s safe to say that the same advice applies.
If you don’t clean your chins bottle daily, it can be easy to forget about it and before you know it, a couple of weeks have passed and bacteria has built up and is even clogging the spout of the bottle.
When Should I Clean My Chinchillas Water Bottle?
At first, this may seem like an odd question, however, it’s actually quite a valid one.
The time of day that you clean your chinchilla’s water bottle is actually important.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to clean the bottle at the same time of day if possible so you can make this part of your daily routine.
Secondly, we feel that the best time to clean your chinchilla’s water bottle is when your chinchilla is less active so they are less likely to be needing a drink when the bottle has been taken for cleaning.
This means that we recommend cleaning the bottle through the day time as chinchillas are crepuscular/nocturnal so will be more active and wanting to drink more around dawn to dusk.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Clean My Chinchillas Water Bottle?
We’ve touched on this slightly in previous sections, but it’s important to know what can happen if you don’t clean your chinchilla’s water bottle.
The more you use the water bottle for your chinchilla without washing it, the more bacteria will build up inside the bottle.
This bacteria will continually build up on a daily basis and continue to grow in numbers until you wash the bottle.
Backwash in one of the main ways that bacteria makes its way into the bottle.
Every time your chinchilla drinks from the bottle there will be small particles of food and even poop sucked back into the bottle.
Obviously, if the bottle is cleaned daily then there isn’t a problem but if you leave this for a number of days or even weeks then the bacteria could be harmful and make your chin ill to some degree.
Can I Clean My Chinchilla’s Water Bottle With Soaps?
For the most part, you can clean your chinchilla’s water bottle with hot water and a bottle brush just fine as long as it’s on a daily basis.
Some owners do use soap or washing up liquid, this isn’t always recommended as it can get stuck in hard to rinse areas.
Some major outlets including Lixit, recommend that if you need to give your bottle a deep clean then you soak the bottle in a bleach solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach.
They also go on to say that you can ask your local vet for a disinfectant solution if you need one.
This is what we would recommend if you really need to soak the water bottle, but as we mentioned before, daily cleaning is the best way to keep on top of the situation and should prevent a bottle from even becoming dirty.
Are Plastic And Glass Water Bottle Different to Clean?
Some owners will prefer plastic water bottles and some will prefer glass.
When it comes to cleaning both plastic and glass water bottles, the only difference is that glass bottles can usually be put in a dishwasher, as where plastic can’t.
Having said this, if you stick to the daily cleaning routine we have outlined in this post, it is likely to be more convenient than putting a glass bottle in the dishwasher.
This is because the bottle will only take a couple of minutes to clean as where in the dishwasher it can take a long time depending on the length of the cycle.
This means that your chinchilla has to go without water in their cage for a longer period of time.
What Are The Easiest Chinchillas Water Bottles to Clean?
If we are going to be honest, there aren’t any water bottles that are the easiest to clean nor the hardest.
On the flip side of this, you really need to pick a water bottle that is high quality, doesn’t leak and offers the best drinking experience for your chinchilla.
If you pick a water bottle with these qualities then you will also be picking a water bottle that is easy to clean as well.
We have actually shared a guide that lists our recommended water bottles for chinchillas along with the best place to get them from.