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How to disinfect your small animal enclosure

Updated on July 21, 2014

Why disinfect?

Cleaning the inside of your animals enclosure will help with the spread of disease as well as prevent the area they are in from giving off a foul smell. A good time to do this is when it is time to change of substrate. At this time it is good advice to disinfect everything in the tank as well. That way everyone stays happy and healthy! Here are some tips to follow on how to make sure your animal has a clean safe home.

Tools needed

  1. Water
  2. Chlorine
  3. Spray or squirt bottle
  4. Holding container
  5. 2-5 gal bucket
  6. For safety you can use gloves, mask, goggles

Follow these steps


  1. You will need to make a 10% bleach solution (1.9 ratio) to use to wash down the inside of the tanks. Both in spray bottle and some in bucket to soak items
  2. Remove all animals and place them in a secure holding container. Including a water bowl and maybe hiding to reduce the stress of the animals while cleaning
  3. Remove all items from inside tank
  4. Scrub off any fecal or debris from decor, bowls, and hiding places that are not make of cork
  5. Soak those items in the bucket of chlorine for about 5 minutes
  6. Rinse the items in fresh water and set aside to dry, ensuring the chlorine evaporates
  7. Items that can not be soaked such as moss, bedding, cork board should be replaced or rinsed thoroughly
  8. Now that everything is removed spray down inside of empty tank with the 10% bleach solution and then rinse out with fresh water-if the tank was not rinse well you should be able to smell the chlorine in the tank
  9. Let the tank dry out
  10. Add all items back and refill water bowl with de-chlorinated water
  11. Add animals back into container
  12. Chlorinate smaller holding containers when the animals are returned to their home
  13. Store cleaning tools and dispose of water
  14. Wash area around tank as well as your hands making sure not to spread bacteria


Just a note

Taking the time to chlorinate everything can sometimes be hard to do on a regular basis. To keep things as clean as possible with out cleaning the entire tank the items like bowls, plants, huts etc should be soaked if there is fecal or algae growth on them. There may be pet safe sprays sold at your local pet store that you can purchase, but I find that most homes use bleach regularly as well as it be less expensive to purchase the bleach than sprays

Do you disinfect your animals tank?

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    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      wow I can learn so much from you...:)

    • Ariel-Cal profile image
      Author

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 3 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Keep reading!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      I will :)

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 3 years ago

      very useful arl

    • profile image

      Teena Vasvick 2 years ago

      Is it really that important cuz I rarely disinfect it cuz im afraid to harm my pets, just curious

    • Ariel-Cal profile image
      Author

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 2 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Teena , first thanks for reading my hub. I belive it ia a good practice to do on a semi regular basis more as a preventative to keep bacteria from growing and keeps the oder down. If you are concerned about chlorine there are cleaners available that you can purchase at your local petstores. If you haven't experienced any troubles or not having issues with the smells then do what works best for you.

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