How to Remove Urine Scale from a Pet’s Cage


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)
    • Cage-Klenz
    • 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
  • Goggles
  • Hot water (at least 180° F)

Steps to Remove the Urine Scale:

**These are general instructions and guidelines. Always follow the instructions provided with the chosen cleaning product for the safest and most effective scale removal.

  1. Fill a large tub or basin with the acid cleaner.
  2. 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.
  3. Place the bottom of the cage into the remover and allow it to soak.
  4. Use a scrub brush to scrub away the urine scale.
  5. In more severe cases, a metal brush may work better, but beware that it can scratch plastic surfaces.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. If rinsing the acid away, rinse with hot water for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure all of the acidic product is removed.
  9. 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.


  1. Guinea Pig & Rabbit Owner says:

    Vinegar works perfectly to clean up a rabbit or guinea pig cage. Pour it on, and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse with water – and PRESTO CLEAN-O!

  2. I use the product Quick N Brite to clean my pet cage and it works great! It is eco-safe and there are no fumes or chemicals, which is nice for me and my rabbit. I empty everything out of the cage, then wet it down in the shower with hot water and use a scrubbing bristle brush with Quick N Brite on it and it works wonders to cut through the urination and smell. If the cage is really bad, I let the cleaner sit for 15 minutes so I don’t have to scrub! I highly recommend Quick N Brite for anyone looking for a great pet cage cleaner. I also just found out it removes 99.9% of germs!

  3. I agree vinegar works great. For the really thick spots, I lay a Clorox wipe over it in the vinegar and leave it for about 10 minutes. It causes just enough chemical reaction to break it up so it will just wipe away.

  4. Vinegar is brilliant! Thanks so much for the tip. We had a buck rabbit that literally covered his indoor run with urine. The smell was awful. After he left, we needed to clean the run for some day-old chicks, but even jet washing didn’t remove it! I sprayed it with neat malt vinegar and bingo! You could watch it effervesce and run down the walls. A quick wipe with a wet cloth and nice clean walls. Nice clean chicks too. By the way, if you are wondering where the buck rabbit went, he is sharing an outdoor grassy pen with three turkeys!

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