They’re squeaky, cute, and bring joy to our lives. That is—until they pee on your brand new sofa or cushion cover or their home environment starts to smell a little whiffy. Guinea pig urine smells can build up and become pretty pungent, especially if you have males.
In some cases, all that’s required is a good, old-fashioned deep clean of your guinea pig’s home. In other instances, you’ll have to gather arms—commercial cleaning products or household products like baking soda to tackle tough stains.
In this post, we’ll share 10 ideas for getting rid of guinea pig urine smells and stains to get your home smelling fresh and clean again.
The 10 Tips for Removing Guinea Pig Odors and Stains
1. Deep Clean Your Guinea Pig’s Cage
If the smell is coming from your guinea pig’s cage or hutch, your standard cleaning procedures might not do—a deep and thorough clean is in order. Remove your guinea pig from the cage and put them somewhere safe. Take everything out—bedding, toys, food dishes, water bottles—and wash everything thoroughly with a pet-safe disinfectant, including the base of the cage.
2. Daily Checks
A few simple daily checks and spot cleans can go a long way when it comes to keeping your guinea pig’s home smelling fresh. Check for wet, soiled bedding and remove it and wipe down the area. Take out the remnants of vegetables and other spoiled foods that your guinea pig hasn’t touched.
3. Bathe Your Guinea Pig
Sometimes, it’s necessary to bathe your guinea pig, especially males. Male guinea pigs mark their territory by leaving behind a scent. Over time, this scent can build up in their fur and a good bath is in order. Guinea pigs should only be bathed if necessary, as they clean themselves pretty well.
Never use human shampoo or conditioner—bathe your guinea pig gently with a pet-safe shampoo specially designed for them. They’re likely to be pretty stressed out if you bathe them given their somewhat nervy temperaments, so go easy. Place the guinea pig at the bottom of an empty bucket or basin with a washcloth under them to stop them from slipping about.
Scoop some warm (not hot) water onto their back and gently rub in the shampoo, avoiding the face and eyes. Rinse them well, then towel dry and blow dry on the lowest heat and speed settings.
4. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar on Your Furniture
If your guinea pig has peed on your sofa or mattress, don’t panic—there’s a really easy way to get rid of the stain and smell using simple household items. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the urine spot, then cover the area with baking soda. Leave for a few hours, then vacuum up the baking soda.
5. Use a Commercial Cleaner
Another option for peed-on furniture is to buy a commercial pet enzymatic cleaner. These are specially formulated to deal with pet urine, vomit, or feces stains on your furniture and can be found in hardware stores, supermarkets, and online.
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6. Choose Appropriate Bedding
Good bedding choices for your guinea pig’s home are key when it comes to odor control. You’ll want to go for something pet-safe, absorbent, and preferably with some odor control powers. If you’re using bedding from around your home like fleece (a great choice for guinea pigs) or towels, make sure it is washable and freshen it up regularly.
Avoid using newspaper and dusty beddings, these can be harmful to your guinea pig and also don’t absorb odors well at all. Change your chosen bedding regularly—how often you do this depends on how smelly your guinea pigs tend to get and how many you have. Some people have to clean the hutch or cage every few days, while others get away with doing it once per week.
7. Invest in an Air Purifier
If guinea pig smells are a consistent problem, you might want to consider getting an air purifier. Though they won’t do much by way of tackling strong or overpowering urine smells (only deep cleaning can solve this problem), they can help to neutralize more general pet smells and control dander, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.
8. Feed a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Feeding properly is a big step towards reducing the unpleasant smells your guinea pig may produce. This helps to keep their gut in balance and providing plenty of clean water helps prevent urinary and kidney issues. For one, guinea pigs need vitamin C supplements as they can’t make vitamin C themselves.
They eat a herbivore’s diet, and in addition to their standard pellet-form food, you can substitute their diet with a range of fresh vegetables and fruits.
9. Monitor Your Guinea Pig’s Health
Guinea pigs are usually clean animals, and though their urine has a smell, it shouldn’t be foul-smelling or “fishy”. If this sounds like your guinea pig at the moment, it’s best to get them checked out by a vet for a urinary tract infection. There could be something going on that needs to be treated.
10. Groom Your Guinea Pig Regularly
In addition to occasional bathing if you have an especially stinky pig and of course, maintaining the cleanliness of their environment, grooming regularly is a good way to help keep those general guinea pig smells at bay. Groom once or twice a week to get rid of dead hair and skin and to check for parasites like mites.
Though guinea pig odors can be frustrating, you’re certainly not doomed to live with them forever. Most of the time, it’s a simple case of their environment needing a good clean and keeping up with regular cleaning routines. If your guinea pig smells especially bad, is producing fishy or foul-smelling urine, or is peeing excessively, it’s time to get them to a vet to find out what’s going on.
Featured Image Credit: EricLiu1993, Shutterstock