Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Try these ingenious hacks to keep your rabbit cage from smelling horrendous

Owning a small pet will bring numerous joys to your life: snuggles, companionship, and endless funny videos for TikTok. But it also introduces some unpleasant factors, such as a smelly cage. Your new furry friend doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so it’s up to you to keep the place clean (though they’ll likely help you out). Rabbits, hamsters, and many other creatures do prefer to designate one space as their potty and rabbits can even be trained to use a litter box. Still, you need to put time and elbow grease into keeping his home clean in order to reduce the bunny stink. Here are the best ways to keep the cage-smell at bay.

Woman folds laundry while playing with pet rabbit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to clean a rabbit cage

The first defense against smell is a sparkling clean cage. You should strive for a small cleaning every day so it doesn’t pile up and so your pet never has to live in squalor. As part of your feeding process, clean the food and water dishes and pull out any leftovers. While you’re at it, grab obviously dirty bits of hay or other bedding and replace them. Since you must attend to your rabbit every day anyway, you can make this part of a routine. However, once per week you need to take your cleaning a step further.

Pull everything out, including your rabbit! Use this as a chance to give him some extra playtime — in a separate area. If you have a bunny pen, you can set him down next to you while you work. Otherwise, assign another member of your household to rabbit duty.

Many cages come apart for easy cleaning and you’ll want to pull out every toy, bowl, and accessory during the process. When removing the accouterment from his cage, you should also discard old, soiled bedding and litter. The goal is to reach every nook and cranny of his home.

Scrub everything thoroughly. There are pet-friendly cleansers out there that help to combat the smell, especially urine, but warm water mixed with a splash of vinegar works too. The important part is to really scrub every corner, surface, and bar, top to bottom. This includes the litter box if you’re using one. The trick is to remove any leavings that stink up your house, and his. Wait for the cage to dry completely (wet hay will mold) then put everything back together. Add new material to the bottom and fresh litter to the litterbox, and voila! He’ll enjoy the house cleaning just as much as you do.

Bunny peeks out of his clean cage
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to keep a rabbit cage from smelling

While regular maintenance will keep most of the smell at bay, you may still get an unpleasant whiff now and then. There are a few more steps you can take to eliminate the odor as best you can, but remember that having an animal in the house means some amount of smell.

  • Improve ventilation. This one’s tricky because you don’t want heat or AC blowing on your rabbit constantly; he won’t like it and it might make him unable to control his body temperature. Putting him in a room with natural airflow will help because the smells won’t linger in dead air. Choose an appropriate spot before you even bring him home to nip this in the bud.
  • Change his diet. Rabbits need to eat tons of hay, some delicious greens, and commercial pellets. You may also opt for the occasional treat like a banana or carrot. If you find that his bowel movements are extra smelly or too loose, you may need to cut back on the snacks. Try to aim for a small amount of pellets and stick mostly with the super healthy (and fibrous) veggies. 
  • Go to the vet. Any sudden changes in your bunny’s eating habits can be cause for alarm. Rabbits have very sensitive tummies and these deviations may give you a clue that something else is going on. Take your cutie to the vet to find the root of the cause. Also, consider spaying/neutering your bun. An unaltered rabbit’s urine usually has a stronger smell than one that has had the procedure. In addition, male rabbits tend to scent mark when they’re ready to mate if they haven’t been neutered.

Keeping your rabbit from stinking up the place mostly means keeping his cage nice and clean, which is worth every ounce of work. Avoid any harsh chemicals both during the cleaning process and as air fresheners. Luckily, your cottontail will naturally want to live in an unsoiled environment. He’ll be working with you, not against you.

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
Can you keep pet seahorses in your home aquarium? Here’s what you need to know
How to keep seahorses as aquarium pets
Yellow seahorse in water

Good news, aquarium hobbyists: Yes, you can keep seahorses as pets. Seahorses are very entertaining fish to watch. In fact, they are one of only two fish that swim upright. Also, unlike most of the animal kingdom, male seahorses hold the eggs until they hatch. These swimmers are quite interesting creatures, and if you’re interested in having a pet seahorse, read ahead to learn about what that entails.

What is so unique about the seahorse?
As discussed, there are a few things that make these creatures stand out from the crowd. For starters, it seems like they do actually stand up because they swim vertically and lack pelvic fins. It's in part because of this that they swim so slowly and sometimes — yes we'll say it — badly.

Read more
Can guinea pigs eat apples? Yes, but there are risks involved
These are the fruits your guinea pig can eat (and the ones to avoid)
Guinea pig eats an apple

Sharing a meal brings us closer to other humans and to our pets. It's fun to break out the snacks and cut a carrot in half — half for you and half for your small creature. Many of the little guys, such as guinea pigs, rely on these foods as part of a balanced diet.

Guinea pigs are herbivores that love to munch on a variety of plants, including fruits. Too much of one thing, though, will throw off their diet, and you need to be careful not to give your rodent anything they can't digest. These guys have naturally delicate systems, so be careful before you reach for just anything in your kitchen. Can guinea pigs eat apples? Certainly, if they're prepared properly. 

Read more
Best hamster bedding: The safest options for your furry friend
Try out these hamster bedding options in the cage
Hamster in wood shavings in cage

To be healthy and happy, your hamster needs bedding that he can burrow into. Bedding absorbs urine and gives your hamster a soft, safe surface. But finding the best hamster bedding can take time, especially if you're new to owning a hamster.

Best hamster bedding
While it's sensible to look for cheap hamster bedding options, it's just as important to ensure that you're buying a product that's also safe for your little guy. The following bedding types are not only affordable but also pet-friendly and available at stores and online retailers.
Aspen shavings
Wood shavings are probably the most widely used type of small-animal bedding available. Shavings are a great, cheap hamster substrate, and when you buy a larger package, you can get even better value.

Read more