If your rabbits live in a wooden hutch, or in a hutch with wooden parts, you need to take care in cleaning it to ensure your rabbits' environment is safe. Rabbits are sensitive creatures and react poorly to caustic cleaners such as bleach and most household cleaning substances, which can readily seep into wood and irritate your rabbits long after you finish cleaning their home. To keep your rabbits healthy and happy, turn to natural cleansers.
Choosing Rabbit-Safe Cleaning Products
Rabbits are sensitive to both scents and to the irritants found in many household cleaners, from bleach to concentrated citrus oils. Because of this sensitivity, even a completely natural cleaner can cause a rabbit problems. However, at some pet stores, you can find natural cleaners marked as being safe for rabbits. If you do find a cleaner marked as "rabbit-safe," check the ingredients; a rabbit-safe cleaner will be free of essential oils, which are often added to cleaners to please a human's nose, not a rabbit's nose.
Two basic cleaning products that are affordable and safe for rabbits are easy to find: white vinegar and baking soda. Rabbits can be sensitive to the scent of vinegar, but only if you use it full-strength or if you place them back in their hutch before the cleaning solution dries.
In addition to these basic cleaning supplies, you'll also need to invest in a natural unscented washing powder, such as Seventh Generation or ECOS Free & Clear, if your rabbits use towels or blankets as bedding.
Cleaning a Wooden Hutch
When it's time to clean the hutch, remove everything from the hutch so you can easily clean all of its surfaces. Mix up a solution of one part vinegar to two parts warm water, which is strong enough to clean thoroughly, but not so strong that it will leave an irritating scent behind for your rabbits. Scrub down all surfaces with a scrub brush, paying close attention to corners; rabbits prefer to urinate and defecate here, so they are likely to be the area most in need of cleaning. Allow the solution to remain on the wood for at least five minutes so the vinegar can soak into the wood and remove the odours. Rinse the vinegar off with warm water and let the hutch dry.
If you find the corners of the wooden hutch are still dirty or smell bad after you clean with a vinegar solution, you can use baking powder to neutralise odours by sprinkling it in the corners, letting it sit for a few minutes and then wiping or rinsing it away. You can also use baking soda to scrub off any debris the vinegar solution did not lift.