Sugar Glider Cage Cleaning - When & How to Tidy things up
Now that you have been a "new parent" for awhile now, you are probably wondering about what sort of cleaning "schedule" is best for your new best buddy(ies).
Well, here's a short cleaning schedule that we use here. It works great and has kept our Sugar Bears happy and healthy for YEARS. Of course, you can always "ramp this up" and clean things more often if you like - but this works well for us...
- CAGES: Give them a quick "wipe-down" about twice a week. We use UNSCENTED baby wipes, but a rag with dish soap & water works just as well. By the way, whenever we mention "dish soap" or "soap" we always use Dawn. Probably any dish soap is fine, but we've just used Dawn for years and never had a problem. Now, in addition to doing this "weekly" cleaning, about 4 times a year (more frequently if you have more animals or are sensitive to smells) we also do a "complete" cage sterilization and cleaning. This is where we take the cage and pan outside (or down to the local car wash) and REALLY give everything a good scrubbing. When you do this, get a bucket of good, hot, soapy water and really go through everything thoroughly. Then, hit it with a hose - or a pressure washer if you have one (do-it-yourself car washes work great for this) - and get into every nook & cranny - rinsing everything very well. While this is a great way to clean your basic Start-R-Cage, we do NOT recommend power washing the larger Jung-L-Gym Cage or taking it to the car wash as it can damage the finish. After you're done rinsing, give EVERYTHING a thorough spritzing with Squeak-E-Clean Sterilization Spray. This includes: - the entire cage - both sides of the poo tray, - all toys, - bowls & bottles, - artificial plants, etc..etc.. Once you've got everything coated with Squeak-E-Clean, just let it air dry - and you're all good-to-go :-)
- FOOD DISHES & WATER BOTTLES: Scrub daily with hot water and dish soap. Sterilize once every 90 days with Squeak-E-Clean. Also, since you've now had your little darling(s) for about a month now, it's always a good idea to quickly make SURE how much Glide-R-Chow, Glide-R-Gravy, and Glide-A-Mins you have on hand right now (so you don't accidentally run out) - and that everything is being stored in a cool, dry place where they will have the longest shelf life. :-)
- POUCHES AND CAGE BLANKETS: When it comes to washing your bonding pouches, cage blankets, or any other items in the cage made out of cloth, a good rule to follow is to just toss them in with all your other laundry once a week or so. Both the bonding pouches and our special cage bonding blankets are made from a "polar fleece" and washing them in a "gentle cycle, cold water with no bleach" is the best way to go. As far as drying them, "low-heat" in a normal dryer is fine. Air drying also works... In the early stages of bonding (when they tend to pee/poo more often in their pouch) you may want to wash their pouch a little more frequently - and like we said earlier, pretty much any laundry detergent that DOESN'T have bleach in it is fine. Oftentimes, people get additional pouches so each member of the family has one – or so that they always have a clean one handy. If you’d like to do that, just check out the Online Store.
- BEDDING: When it comes to ‘poop tray’ bedding, the EASY way to do it is just to use some type of non-toxic paper (generally not newspaper since many inks can be toxic). You will find that your bears are generally very clean little pets, and the amount of droppings they produce is relatively minimal - and most people generally change the poo tray liner once or twice a week. Most non-toxic paper, (like plain paper towels), is more than able to absorb whatever falls down onto it… The only problem is that paper towels can get pretty expensive over time, so to make things extra easy, we actually have custom-made cage-liners that are made of a special, glider-safe paper and are already cut to perfectly fit the poo tray in your cage. Depending on how often you change them out, a 1-2 year supply is less than $20, so it ends up saving you not only a lot of time - but money too.
- TOYS, PLANTS, WHEELS, ETC: This is pretty-much done on an "as needed" basis. Remember, our little buddies sometimes like to PEEEEE & poo indiscriminately as they frolic around their cage, so just use your best judgment when you start to see some "buildup".. We personally soak everything in hot, soapy water and give it all a good "scrubbin" every couple weeks, but you can do it as often as you like. Also, as mentioned earlier, every 90 days, sterilize all toys, (including their playwheel and EZ-Trim Nail Trimmer), with Squeak-E-Clean. As far as play wheels go, the main thing is just to take them apart every couple weeks (or as needed) and give them a good cleaning - and then lubricate the spindle with a little vegetable oil to keep it from rusting. PS: If you should ever happen to notice an "odor" coming from your cage, chances are it's coming from your play wheel - so start there :-)
One final note about the importance of sterilizing everything at least once every 90 days... While you can certainly use any sterilization agent you wish to sterilize your Sugar Bear's surroundings, we personally only ever use Squeak-E-Clean. The reason for this is simply because we have never found a cleaner that:
- is both STRONG enough to COMPLETELY dissolve the fine microscopic film and kill all the germs & bacteria that slowly accumulate naturally in a Sugar Bear's surroundings - AND
- is completely SAFE and HARMLESS to Sugar Bears. Whatever you use, the most important thing is to COMPLETELY sterilize their cage and all surroundings at least once every 90 days.
Otherwise, the microscopic film mentioned above will become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria which can accumulate in your Sugar Bear's lungs and cause serious harm. (For more information on this, see our Online Store). Lastly, if odors are a problem, the best way to eliminate them is just to use Od-R-Gone and Sprink-L-Fresh. Both products are all-natural odor-destroyers that are specifically made for Sugar Bears. To learn more about Od-R-Gone and Sprink-L-Fresh, just click on the "Supplies & Training" tab at the top of this page.