As you know it’s highly important to clean your hedgehog’s cage to give them a clean living environment
With this being said, it can be confusing as to exactly how often you need to clean your hedgehog’s cage? And how often you need to clean all the other parts of their cage such as your hedgehog’s bedding?
In this post, we will look at exactly how often you should clean your hedgehog’s cage as well as breakdown how often it’s recommended to clean their cage bedding and accessories too.
This will allow you to keep a good and regular cleaning schedule and ensure your hedgie always has a clean and fresh enclosure.
So how often should you clean a hedgehog cage? It’s recommended that you clean your hedgehog cage and cage accessories within the following time frames…
- Exercise Wheel – Daily
- Food/Water Bowl – Daily
- Water Bottle – Daily
- Feces – Daily
- Cage Full Clean) – Weekly
- Bedding (Spot Clean – Daily
- Bedding (Full Change) – Weekly
- Liners – Weekly
- Cage Toys/Igloo – Weekly
Read on to find out…
How Often to Clean a Hedgehog Cage? (More Info)
It’s a good idea to have a keep to a schedule when it comes to cleaning your hedgehog’s cage and cage accessories.
This will help you to get into good habits and keep the cage clean at all times.
A full clean of your hedgehog’s cage once per week is what we recommend and a helpful tip is to stick to the same day each week as this will help you to form a regular routine.
Having said this, it’s important to note that if your hedgies cage needs cleaning before the day you set as your ‘cleaning day’ then cleaning early may be the best option as ensuring your hedgehog’s living space is hygienic is ultimately more important.
Below is a table that gives a full break down of how often to clean your hedgehog’s cage and accessories…
How Often to Clean Hedgehog Cage & Accessories
|Item||How Often to Clean|
|Cage Full Clean)||Once Per Week|
|Bedding (Spot Clean)||Daily|
|Bedding (Full Change)||Once Per Week|
|Liners||Once Per Week|
|Cage Toys/Igloo||Once Per Week|
Now let’s take a closer look at each part of the cage that needs cleaning and how to do it…
Full Weekly Hedgehog Cage Clean
As we mentioned above, it’s recommended that once per week you do a full and thorough clean of your hedgehogs cage.
This will be the most time-consuming part of the cleaning process so it’s a good idea to pick a day where you have some free time.
Usually, this will be your day off from work or a night where you have nothing planned.
Below is a step by step guide that shows a simple method for cleaning your hedgehog’s cage…
Step 1 – Remove your hedgehog from the cage. It’s a good idea to invest in a playpen so you can keep your hedgie safe in the pen while you are cleaning. If you don’t have a playpen or somewhere safe to keep your hedgehog then check out our recommended playpen in our guide here.
Step 2 – Take all toys and accessories out of the tank. This includes water and food bowls. All that should be left in the cage after this step is the bedding and liners.
If you use any accessories such as tunnels, snuggle blankets and igloos that are made of a material that needs to be washed in a washing machine then put them in the machine now ready to wash.
Any other accessories such as bowls and exercise wheels should be placed in a bowl of hot soapy water, soaked and ready to wash shortly.
Step 3 – Use a dustpan to remove all the bedding from the cage and empty it into the bin.
Step 4 – Remove the cage liner and add it to the washing machine. Then wash all the items in the machine together in one wash.
Step 5 – Now it’s time to clean your hedgehog’s cage. You should use a cleaning spray such a ‘simple solution’ that’s formulated for cleaning animal cages or alternatively you can use a home-based solution that’s safe.
Spray all areas of the cage, then wipe and clean with a paper towel. You then need to repeat the process with water to remove chemicals on the cage depending on what solution you are using.
Step 6 – Clean all the items you have left to soak in hot soapy water, such as the water and food bowls and exercise wheel.
It’s important that you thoroughly wash off all of the soap suds from all the items you clean.
Step 7 – Put everything back into the cage. Start with the cage liner, then bedding followed by all the other accessories.
It’s handy to have spares for cage liners and any other items that need to be machine washed, as this will allow you to put clean and dry items straight back in the cage without having to wait for them to be washed and dried.
Step 8 – Put your hedgie back in it’s fresh and clean cage whilst patting yourself on the back for a job well done!
Alternatively, you can watch a video that shows how to clean s hedgehog cage below…
It’s typically suggested that you should spot check your hedgehog’s bedding on a daily basis as this will ensure that the cage is kept as clean as possible and also stop any unwanted smells.
This is also backed up by Veteriankey, who also recommends that spot-checking bedding daily is the best option.
Taking out the dirty parts of the bedding daily will usually mean that a full bedding change once a week is also needed.
This will usually happen when you do your weekly full cage clean and doing your full clean and bedding changes at the same time will help to cut down on overall cleaning time.
Having said this, if the bedding gets too dirty and needs changing before your weekly cage clean day arrives then you will need to change the bedding before it’s due day.
How often you need to change the bedding will also depend on what bedding you are using.
We recommend you use Carefresh as we believe this is overall the best choice for hedgehogs that like to burrow.
You can find out more about Carefresh right here and why we recommend it in our guide breaks down the top bedding & liners and where to get them at the lowest prices.
This might be a pain but keeping a clean living environment for your hedgie is the main thing.
There’s something you can do to help keep the bedding a little cleaner, the cage smelling nicer and make your cleaning job much easier…
And that’s to litter box train your hedgie!
Litter Box Training Your Hedgrhog
Litter box training is a great way to train your hedgehog to poop in the same place in the cage so you can catch their poop in disposable litter trays.
This stops their poop getting on food bowls and accessories as well as only needing to change a small amount of bedding each time they poop as it’s always in the same area.
Here’s a step by step guide to litter box training your hedgehog…
Step 1 – The first step is to find out where your hedgie likes to regularly poop. Most hedgehogs will poop in or around the same area of the cage.
Step 2 – Take a box, roughly the size of a shoebox and only use the bottom of the box to act as a tray.
You will also need to completely cut off one of the smallest sides so your hedgehogs can walk into the tray.
Step 3 – Place a small amount of ‘non-clumping’ litter in the tray and also some of your hedgehog’s poop.
This is actually important as it will help them to understand that pooping in the tray is ok.
Step 4 – Place the tray in the location where your hedgehog likes to poop and they should then start to use the litter box.
You can then empty the litter box along with the litter and replace it as needed.
Note – Litter box training can take some time as some hedgehogs take longer than others to warm to this method.
Other hedgies don’t take to litter box training at all so don’t get frustrated if they are still refusing to use their tray after a number of weeks.
The main thing is to give this method a go because if your hedgehog does embrace the method then it will make changing the bedding and cleaning much easier for you as an owner.
Cleaning/Changing Cage Liners
If you are using cage liners under your bedding then the liners should be changed once per week at the same time as you fully change the bedding.
Even though this is a good general rule to follow, if you feel that they should be changed more frequently than that then you will need to use your judgement.
Every hedgehog is different as things such as the bedding you use, diet, how often they poop can all affect how often the liners need changing.
As most liners are fleece, you will need to machine wash them before they are ready to be used again.
As we mentioned in the step by step cage cleaning guide, it’s always best to have spare cage liners so while you are washing the one you’ve just used and waited for it to dry, you have at least one spare that you can put straight back in the cage.
Cleaning The Exercise Wheel
When cleaning your hedgies exercise wheel, it’s advised to do it on a daily basis.
Hedgehogs tend to either poop or urinate while running on their wheel and it can get dirty and unhygienic very quickly.
To wash the wheel you can let it soak in some hot soapy water for 10 minutes to make the process easier.
Afterwards, you can use a simple scrubbing brush combined with the soap to fully clean the wheel.
You don’t need to do anything fancy and good old fashioned cleaning is what’s needed.
Some wheels are easier to clean than others depending on how they are built.
You can see the exercise wheel we recommend you use your hedgehog in our ultimate list of cage accessories here.
The exercise wheel we have picked out is both easy to clean and runs silently so it won’t keep you up at night either.
Cleaning The Food/Water Bowl
If you are using plastic or ceramic food & water bowls, you will need to wash all bowls daily before adding fresh food and water to them.
Hedgehogs along with other small animals are notorious for getting bedding, poop and urine in their bowls as they explore and burrow throughout the day.
This can lead the bowls to easily become unhygienic and contaminated even if they look clean to the eye.
It’s good to get into the habit of scrubbing them daily with hot soapy water before you add your hedgies new food and water for the day.
This only takes a minute or so and will give you peace of mind that no unwanted nasties have made their way into your hedgies bowls that you don’t know about.
One thing to note is that you will need to rinse thoroughly to get rid of all soap residue as your hedgehog will obviously be eating and drinking from these bowls.
Heavy ceramic bowls are the best options to use as they are far less likely to get tipped over and get contaminated with dirty bedding, urine and more.
The bowls we have handpicked on our cage accessories page here are a great option and are really affordable too.
Cleaning A Water Bottle
Some owners prefer to use a water bottle rather than a bowl. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to using both so it really is down to your personal preference.
We have recently written a guide that tells you all you need to know about water bottles and does a direct comparison between bottles and bowls so you can see which is better for you and your hedgie.
If you choose to use a water bottle then this will also need to be cleaned daily.
Because water bottles hold the water in a confined cylinder, they can cause a lot of bacteria if they aren’t cleaned regularly.
They also get clogged up and it becomes hard for your hedgie to pull any water through the spout.
This is usually the main source of problems associated with water bottles and it can be highly reduced by daily cleaning.
The best way to clean a water bottle is to use a bottle brush as there’s really no other way to clean inside the bottle.
Again, a quick daily clean in hot soapy water will save you lots of problems in the long run.
As with water bowls you will need to rinse thoroughly and make sure there’s no soap left in the cylinder.
We highly recommend that you spot clean and remove poop daily. Experts such as Pet-MD also recommend that this is done on a daily basis.
As we mentioned earlier in the post, it’s a great idea to train your hedgie to use a litter box tray if they will adapt and learn to use it.
This will save you a lot of time and effort cleaning up poop as well as being much more hygienic.
If you don’t use a litter box tray then poop can be removed with a dustpan along with a layer of the bedding.