How to keep your guinea pig cage clean

Sharing all of the tools you need to keep your guinea pig cage clean and keep it smelling fresh, tips on fleece bedding, and setting up a guinea pig cage.

Ok, I know, this is probably the most random post ever. BUT I know many of you have kiddos who want guinea pigs, or even have guinea pigs of your own since they seem to be a pretty popular pet right now. 

I mentioned before that we got two guinea pigs as an incentive for Liv to stay in her room at night. It totally worked and before we knew it, it was finally “guinea pig day.” The girls were PUMPED. i planned to get everything ready while they were at school, so when we picked them up, we could head straight to PetSmart.

The day we got the guinea pigs, I went and bought the biggest cage they had. (It was this one!) After researching a bit more, I learned that guinea pigs need a much bigger cage and that 7 square feet is the minimum requirement. They don’t sell cages this big in pet stores, so they I needed to clean it frequently, which was kind of a pain, but our children were sleeping through the night… the things you do for sleep, I tell ya.

Tips on keeping your guinea pig cage clean and smell-free, plus how to use fleece bedding and set up a guinea pig cage.

I didn’t mind purchasing said guinea pigs, or the fact that I’d be responsible for feeding and keeping two more creatures alive in our house, but the thing that did worry me was the potential smell. I DID NOT want our house to smell like a barn, especially since we have carpet upstairs. That was a hard no for me, so I researched as much as possible and found some awesome solutions I thought I’d share.

Tips on keeping your guinea pig cage clean and smell-free, plus how to use fleece bedding and set up a guinea pig cage.

How to keep your guinea pig cage clean and smelling fresh:

1) Get a large cage. This makes a HUGE difference, and they have more room to roam around, which is better for their health anyways. We noticed a huge difference in their behavior and happiness when we transferred them to their new house. I highly recommend the C&C cage from this website. You can customize them by color and size, depending on how many guineas you have. We got the two-story one, and the base is 2×4 grids. This goes along with the next crucial step:

2) Litter train them. Our guinea pigs are probably 98% potty trained and do most of their business in the litter area. This is kind of gross, but they “go” where they eat. If you have a large litter tray/kitchen area you can remove, this makes it so much easier to keep clean. I ordered the kitchen from this site, and it goes under the second level so they feel protected while they’re eating. (Note: guinea pigs like to hide since they’re prey animals, so definitely have a few hidey huts for them. We have a wooden house, this giraffe from Amazon, this pineapple, and this little sleeping bag thing. I rotate them to change things up.)


3) Use fleece. The thought of using the fluffy cotton things all over the cage grossed me out, especially since it would feel wasteful to change it out as much as I would like. Fleece bedding is kind of the new thing. It feels good on their little paws, and they’re more likely to go in their litter area to do their business. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I used this tutorial to make their fleece bedding. We have four sets (you really only need two) and I switch out the fleece and anything cloth once a week. I put a disposable pad underneath the fleece, but nothing makes it through with the cloth pad “sewn” in between and they use their litter box most of the time anyway. The fleece stays remarkably clean!! You can brush it off outside and wash in the washing machine. 

IMG 2272

I also add an extra fleece pad under their wooden house, which I swap out every couple of days or so. 

4) Line everything with adult incontinence pads. These are less expensive than the doggie pee pads and do the same thing.

5) Here’s how I set everything up:

The disposable pad on the bottom with the fleece liners or bedding on top. This is the perfect size to cover the bottom of the cage EXACTLY, and the remaining spot is covered by their litter box/kicthen. Rocks from the backyard go in the corners, just to make sure they can’t lift up the edges and hide underneath.

I line the litter box with a disposable pad and then put Care Fresh on top, and hay on top of that. This is also where I put their bowl of pellets and their fresh greens/veggies. Pretty much everything stays in the litter box! Every 2-3 days, I completely empty the litter box, spray it down with white vinegar and water, wipe with paper towels, and add a new disposable pad, fresh Care Fresh, and hay. (I also give them fresh hay and veggies/greens twice a day. They constantly have food and water, and eat a lot!)

Tips on keeping your guinea pig cage clean and smell-free, plus how to use fleece bedding and set up a guinea pig cage.

(The kitchen is under the upper level of their cage which gives them a little bit of shelter. You can also get a hay rack for the hay but I find that flat in the kitchen makes less of a mess!) 

That’s it! This has made it super easy to keep clean and smell-free. I just clean the cage every 2-3 days and the entire thing once a week with fresh bedding (which takes maybe 10 minutes). Daily spot cleanings make a huge difference, too. 

The guineas have been a fun new addition to our family. We all love watching them eat and “popcorn” around – they do this cute little jump when they’re happy – and thankfully, they don’t smell like a barn.

Some great video resources:

How much cage space do guinea pigs really need

5 mistakes guinea pig owners make

How much food to feed guinea pigs

How to use fleece in your guinea pig cage

What’s the most random pet you’ve had in your family? When I was in elementary school, I had a white mouse named Bubba. 



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  1. Nicole Kump on October 8, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I’m glad you’ve found your pocket pet experience to be fun and not too difficult. I’m actually thinking about getting a couple pet rats because I want something to take care of that’s less work than a dog right now….rats are actually super awesome pets despite the sewer rat stigma (we had one when I was younger). Hopefully we get them….the hubby seems on board, I think, haha.

    • Fitnessista on October 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      rats creep me out! but they are cute 🙂

  2. Liz on October 8, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I had russian dwarf hamsters as a kid. They were tiny and super adorable.

    • Fitnessista on October 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      oh my gosh, so cute!

  3. Katie on October 8, 2019 at 9:12 am

    It sounds like you have the most well-kept guinea pigs in all of North America. If your daughters’ progress with sleeping through the night ever backslides, you can always take a South American approach and threaten to make cuy for dinner 😉 That wouldn’t be completely traumatic or anything, right?

    • Fitnessista on October 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      this made me LOL

  4. Crystal on October 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Guinea pigs are so cute (and their yip yip sounds are adorable) but I don’t think I could handle all the maintenance! I already have to clean cats’ litter boxes though, so maybe that’s why.
    My most random pet ever was some pet snails!

    • Fitnessista on October 9, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      snails! liv loves snails haha

  5. Shayna on October 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    These guinea pigs are living the high life! When I was little, ours were in a kiddie pool lined with newspaper and wood chips in our basement, and yes it smelled terrible – this seems way comfier. The best thing ever was when we realized one was pregnant (oops) – came down one morning to six little furballs running around! We also used to have newts and salamanders – pretty random.

    • Fitnessista on October 9, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      newts and salamanders! i love it
      hilarious that the guinea got pregnant

  6. Rebecca on October 10, 2019 at 3:14 am

    I had a raccoon,pet skunk, coyote, mamma opossum and 2 babies and2 flying squirrels and of course sea monkeys a teddy bear hamster and cat, dog and a pony.

    • Fitnessista on October 13, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      you win! hahah!
      please tell me how you had a coyote!

  7. Sarah on October 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Ok Gina. Straight up! This was the answer to my piggy poop prayers. Not EVEN kidding!!!

    • Fitnessista on October 13, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      ha! so glad it was helpful!

  8. Amanda on December 29, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Do you make these fleece liners with the sides to sell?! Ohhh I need these in my life so bad. I will pay fairly if you make me some for my two boys!

    • Jonni on January 12, 2020 at 9:13 pm

      My guinea pigs have not potty trained like yours I keep a “kitchen tray” like you do, with Aspen or hemp bedding. Their hay and pellets are also kept in the kitchen. They poo and pee everywhere and mostly on the fleece. It gets pretty messy in only 1 day. I have 4 piggies in a double stacked cage and it is sooo much to keep up with them.

  9. Lori on January 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I love this post…thank you so much for all the info! I am planning to order the exact same cage, but am having difficulty figuring out the size of pad I need to put between fleece…do you mind sharing what pads you get and the dimensions? Thank you!

  10. Mariah C on February 6, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    My two piggies have a “litter box”.. but they like to pee on the outside of it at the end of their ramp.. and poop everywhere. I have seen that some people are able to potty train their piggies but mine just.. a no go.. But i also did not get my piggies as babies.. They were over a year old and had been living in a tiny cage prior to me getting them. Which could be why they just don’t care.. but I also know not all piggies are really potty trainable since they don’t have super great control over their internals. Mine now have a nice 5×2 C&C with a second story as well. But over all i still find it hard to keep up on their messiness. they are able to get under the fleece… eat the puppy pads and have eaten all the seams off of the washable pee pads as well haha. No complaints though.. I love their happy popcorning and squeeking they do on the regular!

  11. Jenny on February 16, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Can you tell me where you got your littler box? Thank you much for all the info!!

    • Fitnessista on February 17, 2020 at 12:26 am

      i got it with the cage! it’s from guinea pig cages (i’m pretty sure that’s the name of the site)

  12. Julia Brouwer on April 23, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for this blog! My most weird animal is my duck that I have for quarantine (also the best pet ever) and now I have 2 skinny pigs, which are naked guinea pigs 🙂 I ordered these grids to build such a similar cage 🙂

  13. Allison on October 16, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for this quick + helpful post! The only thing I would add here is that there are guinea pig rescues and shelters with lots of surrendered pigs in need of homes. I’d love to see that added to your article so people don’t think the pet store is the only place to adopt piggies. Thanks for your helpful article!

    • Fitnessista on October 21, 2020 at 1:03 am

      i love that you mentioned this. i can absolutely update the post! i wish i would have known that was an option when we got our guineas but didn’t even think about checking the humane society or seeking out a local rescue

  14. Kim on October 20, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I actually bought the same cage and it’s been great. I ordered some fleece liners from Guinea Dad and they work really well. I wish our piggies would keep their poop in the “kitchen” but… it’s okay.

    Thanks again!

  15. Ashley Patterson on November 3, 2020 at 6:41 am

    Hi! I found this so helpful! What do you have the cage on, a small table? or did you purchase the stand they make to go with the cage?

    • Charlotte r on June 2, 2021 at 12:11 am

      Thist types of cages fit great on a ikea table

  16. Sara on December 1, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you!! I received a pig and cage from a friend, and followed all of her tips for taking care of the fleece. But it’s getting so gross. How can one pig poop so much?! I realize now that my mistake is giving him his carrots and apples when he’s in his hidey house. That’s why he isn’t using the litterbox corner. I’m definitely moving all of the food over to his litter box to see if I can keep the rest of the cage cleaner. Thank you!!

  17. Jean Silva on March 28, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for a very clear and helpful article on guinea pigs. Our rescue BUNS (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter) has a monthly newsletter.(We also rehome guinea pigs – its a long story) I would love to share your article on our newsletter. May I have permission to do so?

  18. Donna on May 7, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for all your tips on your Guinea house! I’m making the purchases you suggested but I’m wondering where I can get a ramp. I want our kitchen to be the top floor. Thanks!!

    • Fitnessista on May 11, 2022 at 1:01 am

      i got the ramp with our cage and kitchen!

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