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 an acid 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.
These instructions are intended for rodent, cat, or dog cages. If you need to clean a bird cage, use the guide How to Clean a Bird Cage. If you need to clean a reptile cage, use the guide How to Clean a Terrarium.
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- Commercial cage cleaner
- Scrub brush
- Paper towels
Steps to Remove the Urine Scale:
- First, remove any bedding or other items from the cage.
- Once the cage is cleared out, spray the floor and walls with your selected cleaner. For a cheap homemade solution, you can use white vinegar in a spray bottle, which will cut through the urine scale and also is able to kill 99% of bacteria. If you would prefer to buy a cleaner, there are several available at pet stores and supermarkets that are made specifically for cleaning cages, such as Nature’s Miracle Cage Cleaner. If using a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions on the label of your selected product.
- Let the vinegar sit on the cage for 10-15 minutes.
- Wipe off the surfaces with a paper towel. The scale should easily wipe off. If it does not, spray on more vinegar and wait another 10 minutes.
- If the scale is stubborn, scrub it with a stiff scrub brush.
- Wipe off all of the vinegar, then rinse the cage with plain water. If the cage can be taken outside, it can be sprayed with a garden hose. If not, simply wipe each section of the cage with a damp paper towel to remove any vinegar residue.
- Dry the cage with a towel to prevent any metal parts from rusting and to prevent any bedding you put in afterward from getting moldy.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Wire crates can easily by cleaned at a self-serve car wash where the high pressure water can be blasted through the wires.
- Steam-cleaning a crate is also an effective sanitizer, and the heat can help to release stuck-on urine scale, dirt or poop.
- For larger cages or for cleaning many cages at once, there are industrial sizes of cage cleaner available, such as Urid or Cage-Klenz.
- Natural Green Home Cleaning for Beginners by R. Kishore
- Pet Clean-Up Made Easy by Don Aslett
- Cleaning Plain & Simple by Donna Smallin