What's one of the most challenging things about keeping a reptile as a pet? Yup, cleaning its carpet. You don't have to deal with this daunting task alone because we are here to tell you everything you need to know.
We'll be taking you through the list of things you need beforehand as well as the step-by-step guide on how to clean reptile carpet thoroughly. Make sure to read till the end before getting started!
Table of Contents
Why Is It Important To Keep Reptile Habitat Clean?
- Urine and faeces that reptiles leave contain harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses that can threaten the life of your pet if exposed to them for a prolonged period.
- The carpet absorbs the urine, and over time, it can get increasingly difficult to clean. It can also affect your own health, so regularly cleaning the carpet becomes necessary.
- The longer the carpet stays dirty, the harder it'll be to get the stains out later on. The built-up filth will lower its lifespan, and you'll have to get a new carpet sooner than you may have planned.
Methods To Clean A Reptile Carpet
Method 1: Use A Vinegar Solution
If you are going for a stain-only cleanup, you can follow these steps for a quick cleaning session.
Take a large bowl and make a vinegar and water solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 2 cups of water.
Pour this liquid into a spray bottle. It will act as a cleaning solution for the reptile carpet.
Take your pet out of the cage to access the carpet.
Take out the carpet and remove droppings and dead bugs using a paper towel.
Once you have removed the solid bits, place the carpet on the floor in front of you and spray some solution on the dirty spots. Use a paper towel to rub the area clean or utilize a sponge as an alternative.
The only downside of using this method is that the smell of vinegar will stick around for a day or two.
Method 2: Use A Scrub Brush
For some of the more stubborn stains, you can opt for a scrub made for reptile carpets. You can also use this method if the stains don’t go away after cleaning the carpet with vinegar solution.
Just like in the previous step, you can use paper towels or a sponge to scrub off the stains.
Let the carpet air dry and put it back in the cage.
Wash your hands with hot water and soap once you're done.
Method 3: Clean The Carpet Thoroughly
This method will focus on giving your carpet a full, thorough wash.
Things you’ll need
- Dish Soap/Detergent
- Sponge/Scrub brush
- Paper Towels
- Garbage bag
First thing first, take your pet out of the terrarium and let it stay in a different cage for the time being.
Place a garbage bag next to the cage and ensure that its opening is easily accessible. Put on gloves and a mask. The mask is to avoid any droplets of dirty water from reaching your face. It even helps in decreasing the intensity of the odour so that it doesn't get unbearable.
Take out the carpet and use a paper towel to get rid of any faeces and leftover food. Dispose of the tissues in the garbage bag and take out fresh paper towels to clean the urine. Press the towel down on urine spots until it soaks it up. Throw these tissues away as well and seal the garbage bag.
Before getting into the cleaning part, you need to set up the surface to place your cleaning supplies. Take your items to an area without any objects in the surroundings so that the dirty water won't splash on any of your belongings and leave germs.
Place a clean garbage bag on the surface. This is where you'll place the carpet to wash it up.
Place your bucket on the surface and fill it with hot water. Put in a teaspoon of dish soap or a mild detergent in a gallon of water. Don't use a fabric softener because the chemicals inside will stay in the carpet.
Reptile carpets are very absorbent, so the chemicals can damage the fibres and deteriorate your pet's health over time.
Now that there are no more droppings or bugs on the carpet, you can let it soak up the soapy water. Dump it inside the bucket and wait for at least 20 minutes before taking it out.
Use the scrub brush to clean the carpet thoroughly and give extra attention to stains, dirt and mould. Use light pressure with gentle hand motions to avoid damaging the fibre. These carpets won’t be able to maintain their best shape with all the scrubbing, so don't pull or use harsh bristles.
Soft-bristled scrub brushes are best-suited for reptile carpets. If you don’t have one of these, use a sponge instead.
Once you are done, put it on the surface of the garbage bag for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, take the bucket and dump the dirty water in the toilet. Flush it and refill the bucket with clean, hot water.
Place the carpet in the bucket and rinse it off to get the soap out. You can repeat step 6 - step 8 if you still see stains.
Use a paper towel to soak up leftover soapy residue. If you can't see any of that on the surface, gently press the tissue against the carpet to squeeze the soapsuds out.
Don't put on any more dish soap once you have worked away at the soapy water. Instead, use hot water to rinse the carpet once again.
The bucket you used needs a proper cleansing, so wash it with hot water and use diluted bleach to remove the germs.
You can use a disinfectant to make sure that there are no more germs on the fibres. Wait until the carpet is completely dried up before placing it back in the cage. Your pet may accidentally lick up the harmful chemicals on the carpet.
Don't use bleach to disinfect. It will damage your carpet, and the toxins inside can harm your reptile.
Let the carpet air dry for a few hours because mould can grow if you put it back when it's still wet. Don't forget to dispose of the gloves, mask and garbage bag you used as a cleaning station.
Also, wash your hands properly with hot water and soap or use an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer to get rid of any germs.
Place the clean carpet back in the cage and let your reptile in to enjoy its clean, odour-free habitat!
How Often Should You Clean A Reptile Carpet
The answer to this question depends on the following factors:
- The number of reptiles you have
- Whether they have laid eggs
- Their feeding schedules
The basic rule is to clean out fresh droppings and uneaten food every day. You can use the vinegar solution method for minor stains or dirt and use the bucket method once a week to clean the carpet properly.
Can You Wash A Reptile Carpet?
Yes, washing a reptile carpet is the easiest way to remove stains and to ensure a safe and fresh environment for your reptile.
Can You Put A Reptile Carpet In The Washing Machine?
Yes, but this is a messy method, and you probably won't be able to get the stains out as effectively as the bucket technique.
When Do You Change The Reptile Carpet?
Change the carpet once it starts getting impossible to remove the stains and when the odour doesn't go away.
You should also look for any rips or tears on the fabric. Replace the liner when it's damaged, and your reptile can't use it anymore.
To conclude, you can remove minor stains within a few minutes using a vinegar solution, or you can thoroughly wash the carpet for better results. Here is a simple outline of the steps you need to follow.
- Take your pet out of the cage.
- Prepare the surface to put your cleaning supplies on.
- Pick up droppings and uneaten food from the carpet using paper towels.
- Fill a bucket with hot water and let the carpet soak inside for a few minutes.
- Scrub the carpet with either a sponge or a scrub brush.
- Drain the dirty water from the bucket and fill it with clean water.
- Rinse the carpet in water and use paper towels to soak soapy residue.
- Wash it with hot water one last time and disinfect it.
- Leave the carpet out to air dry and place it back in the cage.
Hopefully, now cleaning a reptile carpet would be a piece of cake! Let us know if this was an effective method, and leave your questions in the comments!