Julie asked: How do I clean dried urine scale from a rabbit’s plastic cage? My rabbit pees in the same place, and it kind of scales over as it dries. I can’t use anything which might lick and get ill.
Urine scale is a common problem with caged pets, particularly rabbits and guinea pigs. Over time, the build-up this urine scale becomes difficult to remove and requires the use of acids to break it down. There are cleaners specially designed to remove this type of urine scale and can be found at some pet stores and on the internet. The cage can be cleaned at home, or taken to a facility that has a cage cleaning service. Either one will be effective and will make the home happier and healthier for your pet.
You Will Need:
- Cage cleaner/acid descaler such as:
- Urid (citric acid based)
- Citric acid
- Phosphoric acid
- Acid Neutralizer (available from most companies that sell the acid cleaners)
- Large tub or basin
- Scrub brush
- Soft cloths
- Rubber gloves
- Face masks
- Hot water (at least 180° F)
Steps to Remove the Urine Scale:
- Fill a large tub or basin with the acid cleaner.
- Place rubber gloves over your hands, goggles over your eyes and a face mask over your nose and mouth to protect them from the acidic liquid and fumes.
- Place the bottom of the cage into the remover and allow it to soak.
- Use a scrub brush to scrub away the urine scale.
- In more severe cases, a metal brush may work better, but beware that it can scratch plastic surfaces.
- Once all of the urine and debris is removed, it will be necessary to remove all traces of the acid to keep your pet safe and happy.
- The acid can be removed by applying an acid neutralizer or rinsing it away. If adding a neutralizer, follow the guidelines on the product to determine how much will be necessary for the amount of acid applied.
- If rinsing the acid away, rinse with hot water for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure all of the acidic product is removed.
- Dry the cage with a soft cloth.
Additional Tips and Advice
- When purchasing descaling cleaners, check the descriptions. Many products are designed for mechanical cage cleaners and will not work as effectively when used for manual cleanings.
- Neutralize the acids with an acid neutralizer prior to disposal.
- Cages can be washed more frequently with detergents and water to prevent urine scale build up. Brush with a stiff brush and rinse well.