One of the not so glamorous jobs of being a pet owner is cleaning up after them! And let’s be honest, most of us don’t enjoy cleaning either. From my experience, rabbits require more work than a cat or dog because they tend to be messier. Most rabbits spend some part of their day in a confined space (like a cage), some find a litterbox to be more of a suggestion than a rule and some find the most pleasure in destroying, shredding, ripping and digging through anything and everything they can get their little paws on!
So here are some of my cleaning tips and tricks to make it go as quick and painless as possible!
Give your rabbit a larger home. Building your own bunny house is cheaper than buying a too-small store bought cage and is actually easier to clean! Whether it’s a bunny proofed room or a custom built bunny condo the more space your rabbit has the less mess you’ll have to clean up! I know it sounds weird but it’s true! In the beginning I had regular store bought rabbit cages my rabbits could barely move in. I didn’t do this on purpose – like many I just didn’t know any better. The cages got messy quickly and were very heavy to lug down to the laundry tub to clean out. Also I found because my buns had less room they were constantly tipping over things like their dishes and wouldn’t bother with their corner litterboxes.
Once we built their rabbit condos they instantly became tidier. They all use their litterboxes diligently and their cages are large enough that I can easily crawl in them to clean which means no lifting for me! And they’ve got lots of room to move and hop so they aren’t always hitting things in their cage or causing trouble because they’re bored.
Due to the size of the cages and because our rabbits use their litterboxes in their cages, we also no longer need bedding. The cost of bedding with four rabbits in large cages would have been astronomical and we found there was no need for it. We chose tile instead of carpet so our rabbits wouldn’t dig and ingest any of it and because it makes for easier cleanup.
Larger Litterboxes. Although the dollar store kitchen tubs I recommended work well and my rabbits loved them, they were a little small for my medium sized bunnies to move around so litter was always being kicked everywhere. Since we had the room, I upgraded them to a long storage container I bought at Wal-Mart on sale for $4 and they love them! There’s room for them to lounge, move around, and burrow (which they love to do when their boxes are fresh). This also means I can change them once or twice a week instead of daily.
One trick we also used was buying two containers and bolting one to the back of the cage. Slide the litterbox in on top of the bolted one and your rabbit can’t move the box when they jump around and it’s still easy for you to lift in and out.
Since we’re changing litter constantly I started mixing carefresh bedding with shredded newspaper to save on cost. I have family and friends saving me newspapers and bringing me large garbage bags full of shredded paper on a regular basis. Best of all it’s FREE!
Shop Vac. I’m not talking about those cute little compact ones, you need a heavy duty shopvac if you want to do some serious cleaning! I have serious back problems and one of the best things I ever did was invest in a shopvac to clean the rabbit room. They aren’t cheap but I suffered through back pain, 3 vacuum cleaners, clogged hoses and lots of money before figuring this one out. Rabbits poop, they get hay everywhere and they’re constantly chewing, shredding and ripping things. I tried the shopvac with a smaller hose but it jammed instantly. The ends were smaller than the hose so it became useless after that. Once I’ve cleaned out the litterboxes I shopvac the mess in all four cages which only takes me a matter of minutes, then spray the flooring with cleanser and wipe down.
Cleaning Solutions & Washcloths. This is a good place to save some money! I buy washcloths at the dollar store so I don’t feel guilty about tossing them when they’ve worn down. Using a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water, you can make your own safe and all natural cleaning solution to wipe their cages down with. Spray bottles to keep the solution in can also be picked up at your local dollar store.
I also love wet naps! You can also find these at the dollar store and they’re great for those quick wipe-ups you may need to do now and again.
After a few years of trying out different things I’ve finally got a great routine down! It’s still a lot of work but with these tips I’ve got cleaning down to approximately 8 minutes per cage! Of course this doesn’t include extended bunny snuggle time! *wink* *wink*