Methods of cleaning gerbil cages vary depending on which model you own. We’ve split this section up into two: the traditional cages, and the more modern options such as the Qute.
Modern Cages - The Qute
Modern cages have been designed to be stylish, easy to operate, and safe for your pet. For example, the Qute is specifically designed to provide a great environment for your gerbils, and to fit beautifully into your home. The dual-level design has a very deep burrowing compartment which is easily removable, making the whole unit extremely easy to clean.
The Qute is the perfect place to keep a pair of gerbils
To clean the Qute, first check that all the debris from the top compartment has already fallen through to the bedding area. If not, remove this waste now. Then, make sure that your gerbils are sitting safely in the top compartment, away from the mouth of the tube. Pull the orange Twist’n’Lock upwards so that it touches the top of the Qute. Twist to secure - now you can clean the bottom of the cage without worrying about your gerbils escaping.
Slide the bottom compartment out of the Qute, and empty the contents into your compost bin. Make sure that all the old bedding falls out, and then spray the tray with disinfectant. Give it a wipe with a cloth, and leave it to dry for a few minutes. Then, refill the tray with bedding and slide it back into the Qute unit. Once it’s firmly in place, you can pull the tube down to allow your gerbils access to all their lovely, fresh bedding. At this point, you can wipe clean the bars or plate of the top section, and clean all the accessories you have in the enclosure - the water bottle, the food bowl, and the wheel. Leave these to dry once disinfected, then replace them, remembering to refill the food bowl, and to refill the water bottle and check it for blockages. Now you’re done!
Traditional cage models vary, but essentially the method is the same.
Find a safe place for your gerbils
While you clean out their cage, you’ll need to find something that will serve as a good temporary enclosure for your pets. Whatever you choose, it will need to be firm enough so that during the twenty minutes or so that you’re cleaning out their cage, they cannot burrow or gnaw their way out. It will also need to have adequate bedding, ventilation, food and water, and be safe from any other pets you may have.
- Remove all the accessories from the cage
The next step is to take all of the accessories out of your pets’ cage so that they don’t get caught up as you remove the bedding. Set these aside and give them a thorough spray and wipe with a disinfectant, making sure to remove all of the food and waste out of the nooks and crannies of the plastic. Dirt and bacteria can build up easily on these things, and your gerbil will be eating out of and climbing all over them, so it’s important that they’re cleaned regularly.
- Remove the bedding from the enclosure
Once the gerbils and the accessories are safely out of the enclosure, now it’s time to remove the bedding. Empty it into your compost bin, making sure that every single piece is removed from the cage.
- Clean the cage
Thoroughly scrub the cage with disinfectant and a cloth (soap and water can also be used, but rinse and dry thoroughly). Be sure to remove every bit of dirt and bedding you can find, and pay special attention to the corners. Scrub the wires of the cage, scrub the floor and sides, and check to make sure it’s clean. Then leave it to air dry for a few minutes.
- Put in fresh bedding
Put fresh bedding in your gerbils’ enclosure. Make sure that you add enough so that your gerbil has plenty to burrow into. Six inches should be sufficient.
- Replace the accessories
Put all of the cleaned accessories back in the cage. Make sure that the wheel is attached properly, and that the water bottle is positioned correctly.
- Fill the accessories
Refill the food bowl with fresh dry food, and make sure that the water bottle is refilled with clean water. When this has been done, check to make sure that the water bottle is not blocked - run your index finger over the metal ball - you should be able to see water glinting on your finger when you’ve done so. If you can’t, the bottle is blocked and will need to be replaced immediately - your pets can’t drink until you do so!
- Put your gerbils back in their cage
Once you’re done, carefully replace your gerbils back into their cage. Some gerbils find the process of cage cleaning very stressful, as their scent is essentially removed from their home, and all their carefully crafted tunnels disappear. To make it easier on them, some owners choose to leave a bit of unsoiled bedding in the cage. This will hold some of their scent, so it doesn’t feel quite so strange for them when you move them back in.
- Leave your pets to get used to their cage
Lots of the sights and smells around their cage will have been altered, and your pets may be a little disconcerted by this. It’s for this reason that it’s best to leave them to get used to their new surroundings for a while before picking them back up again.