A Complete Guide to guinea pig fleece bedding.
Fleece has become an incredibly popular option to use in guinea pig cages over the past few years. It’s soft, reusable, and cute – what’s not to love? However, fleece is not the best option for every owner. Let’s talk about how to use fleece bedding for guinea pigs in the proper way to keep your pets happy and healthy!
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How Does Fleece Bedding Work?
So first up, let’s talk about how fleece bedding works.
Fleece bedding works for guinea pigs because it allows liquid to pass through without soaking in. Usually, people say you want the fleece to “wick” meaning it allows the liquid through. When using fleece in a guinea pig cage, you want the urine to be able to pass through the layer of fleece so your guinea pig is not laying in wet spots.
You may be wondering, where the liquid is supposed to go if it passes THROUGH the fleece. To use fleece bedding properly, you actually need two layers.
The first layer is the fleece – wicking properly.
The second layer goes under the fleece. This layer needs to be absorbent because this is the layer that is going to be soaking up the liquid. There are multiple options you can use for this absorbent layer. Common ones are towels, puppy pads, and Uhaul furniture pads. I don’t know who figured out that Uhaul pads or absorbent, but they work fantastic as the bottom layer in guinea pig cages.
Some owners cover the bottom of their cages in towels (or other absorbent material) and then put down a layer of fleece over the towels. This method works great and is relatively inexpensive.
Other owners purchase or make cage liners. These liners have two layers of fleece sewed together with the absorbent layer in the middle. You can use either side of the fleece. These work well and are super easy to clean, but they can be expensive.
So to recap, guinea pig fleece works by letting liquid flow through the fleece layer into an absorbent layer underneath.
How to Use Fleece Bedding Properly
Next, let’s talk about how to actually use fleece bedding properly.
First, you do need that absorbent layer. I’ve seen some cages that are just a layer of fleece with nothing underneath them. This is not going to keep your guinea pig dry or clean! You need something underneath or there’s nowhere for the liquid to go.
Next, your fleece does need to be properly prepared. A lot of fleece comes with a chemical layer that keeps liquid from flowing through. You have to put the fleece through a “wicking” process to get it to work properly. This is usually done by running it through the washing machine on hot water a few times.
Wash your fleece, take it out, and test it by dripping some water on it. If the water flows soaks through within a few seconds, then it’s ready to be used in your cage.
The most important thing to know when using fleece – and why it’s not for everyone – is that you HAVE to spot clean your cages every day. If you aren’t cleaning up the poop and hay from your fleece every day it can get very dirty and unhealthy very quickly. You also need to check your fleece for wet areas and change the fleece as needed.
How to Keep Cages Clean Using Fleece
A lot of owners that use fleece, myself included, also have a lot of smaller pads in addition to cage liners. These pads go under water bottles and hay racks, and under hides, and in corners where the pigs like to use the bathroom the most. It keeps your cage cleaner and smelling better when you are able to replace these pads more often than the entire cage.
When you do clean out your cage, take all the fleece and your absorbent layer out and make sure to shake or vacuum off all the poop and hay off them before putting them in the washing machine.
Wash your fleece in hot water using an unscented, free and clear laundry detergent. This is important – guinea pigs have sensitive respiratory systems, so scented products can irritate them. You can also add some white vinegar to get it extra clean.
Once the fleece is done washing, you can either hang it out to dry or put it in the dryer. I personally have found that if I put my liners in the dryer on anything higher than the low heat setting, it will remove the wicking properties, so that is something to keep in mind out and to try out in your own machine.
Pros and Cons of Fleece Bedding For Guinea Pigs
So, we have now covered the basics of how to use fleece, so let’s run through the pros and cons of using fleece bedding for your guinea pigs.
Cons of Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs
- It can be expensive up front. Fleece liners go for between $50-100 each, which is pretty expensive for a lot of owners. However, you do only have to buy liners once and then they can be reused many times. You also can’t really find them in pet stores – you have to have them custom made or find them on Etsy.
- You have to spot clean every day. This is why fleece bedding is not for everyone – not everyone wants to spot clean their cages every day, especially if they have a lot of pets.
- It can add a little bit to your water bill to be doing fleece laundry, especially if you have multiple cages. You do also have to buy special free and clear laundry detergent to wash your fleece.
Pros of Using Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs
- I love that fleece is reusable. Since I have three cages, it would add up very quickly to constantly be rebuying paper bedding or shavings.
- It’s totally possible to make fleece liners yourself if you have a sewing machine. This is much cheaper than ordering premade liners and they are pretty simple.
- It’s easy to do cage cleans – I personally think it’s much easier to keep clean and smell free cages when using fleece since smaller pads can be changed regularly.
- They are cute! Fleece gives you the option of matching your cage to your home décor or doing cage themes.
Final Thoughts on Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs
Overall, fleece bedding is a great option for guinea pig cages if you are willing to do a little bit of daily maintenance. I hope this helped you understand fleece bedding and how to use it a little bit better!