Guinea pigs are a joy to own and many people love to have them, but there are some downsides – and one of the biggest ones is the cleanup.
Although guinea pig droppings are made exclusively of vegetable matter and are therefore fairly inoffensive, cleaning up after them is never fun and it’s an ongoing chore that many pet owners gradually come to dislike, especially when they have owned guinea pigs for a while.
If you are in this position, you may be wondering about a guinea pig poop vacuum – and whether it’s okay to vacuum up guinea pig poop.
A vacuum cleaner is a great way of making guinea pig poop disappear, and if you are already using a vacuum cleaner in the room where your guinea pigs are housed, you might be very tempted to try sucking the poop up with this tool – but is it okay to do so, or could this cause problems?
It’s important to check before you go ahead and do it!
It’s important to think about the happiness of your guinea pig before you use a vacuum cleaner near it, too, because if your guinea pig is frightened of the vacuum cleaner, you may need to be cautious about using one or even avoid doing it entirely.
Some guinea pigs are very alarmed by the sound a vacuum cleaner makes, while others are less concerned. Check which is true for your pig before trying this.
Can I Use A Vacuum To Clean Guinea Pig Poop?
You can use a vacuum to clean up guinea pig poop as long as your guinea pigs are either in another room or are not afraid of your vacuum cleaner; some guinea pigs are less concerned than others.
If you are going to use a vacuum cleaner in the room at all, whether or not you are sucking up the droppings, you need to make sure that your guinea pigs are not afraid of the vacuum cleaner.
You should do a test of this by turning it on in the furthest corner of the room or outside the door and seeing how your guinea pigs respond; if they seem to get used to the noise, you may be able to clean up around them.
You should only do this with a relatively low powdered vacuum cleaner, as high powered ones could hurt your guinea pigs’ ears and cause major distress, so they should be avoided.
If you have a suitable vacuum that is not so loud it will upset your guinea pigs, you can put an attachment on it and suck out the inside of its house. Don’t do this when you first get your guinea pigs.
A vacuum cleaner is often one of the best ways to clean up guinea pig poop, as it will quickly collect it up and get rid of it.
However, it does have the disadvantage of putting the waste into a landfill site, rather than letting you compost it, so it’s not as eco-friendly.
How Do You Clean Up Guinea Pig Poop With A Vacuum?
If you want to clean up guinea pig poop with a vacuum cleaner, the first thing you should do is transfer the guinea pigs to another space, unless they are unafraid of the vacuum cleaner – in which case you can simply leave them where they are.
Do make sure that they are out of the way of the vacuum before you start. You should also remove the food and water bowls so that they don’t get knocked over, and put them out of the way.
Next, plug in the vacuum and use it to suck out the poop from the cage, removing it from all the corners of the cage.
If your guinea pigs start to behave in a way that suggests you are frightening them, turn the vacuum cleaner off and stop before you upset them further. If they don’t mind, you can keep cleaning, sucking up all of the waste to leave the cage clean.
It’s worth noting that guinea pigs will often get more relaxed about a vacuum cleaner over time, as long as you expose them to it gradually and you avoid frightening them.
They will get acclimatized to the noise and will learn to ignore it, especially once they are firmly established in their home.
You can increase their chances of being calm around the vacuum cleaner by giving them treats and creating a positive association with it, and never using it to frighten them.
What Type Of Vacuum Should You Use To Clean Guinea Pig Poop?
You can’t use just any kind of vacuum cleaner if you want to clean up guinea pig poop, for a number of reasons; the first is that the poop is likely to be damp, and it may cause problems inside the vacuum cleaner, especially if it goes moldy.
You don’t want to be vacuuming up anything that is wet unless you have a wet and dry vacuum that has been designed to deal with this.
You may want to get a shop vac, as this is likely to be able to cope with a good amount of droppings, hair, and even straw, and it should not get clogged up too easily.
Other vacuum cleaners may work reasonably well, but there’s a higher risk of them getting clogged up, and needing to be cleaned out between every use.
If you don’t have a shop vac, you could try your ordinary vacuum cleaner, but this may not work as well, and you will likely need to clean the pipe out more frequently. If it clogs up, consider getting a shop vac, especially if you have a lot of guinea pigs to clean up after.
Will Guinea Pig Poop Block A Vacuum Cleaner?
Guinea pig poop often will block a vacuum cleaner, especially if you are using an ordinary handheld vacuum, which may not have been designed for damp guinea pig waste.
You may find that the droppings get mushed up inside, coat the tube and innards, and stop up the pipe, preventing it from sucking properly and clogging it up.
It is particularly important to avoid this if you can’t easily take the vacuum cleaner apart to clean the insides out.
You might also find that your vacuum cleaner is more likely to get clogged up if you regularly suck up the straw and hay, as this will get stuck in the poop and will create a dense mat that may prove hard to remove.
It will stop the vacuum from sucking properly, which will prevent it from clearing itself, and you will probably need to take it apart and clean it instead.
Guinea pig poop is pretty likely to block a standard vacuum cleaner if you use one, particularly if you use it often or you have a lot of guinea pigs. Be aware of this, and only use a vacuum cleaner if you can take it apart and clean it easily.
How Can You Clean Guinea Pig Poop Without A Vacuum Cleaner?
There are many other options for cleaning up guinea pig poop, but the easiest and most straightforward is to take a brush and dustpan and simply sweep out the corners of the guinea pig hutch and pen with these.
You should remove the food and water bowls first, as this will make it easier to sweep the whole area efficiently. You can then simply tip the guinea pig waste, including any straw, into a compost bucket and add it to your compost heap, and it should decompose beautifully.
Alternatively, if you have a lot of guinea pigs, you may want to use a scoop of some sort and try to encourage them to just poop in one corner of the cage.
This is not a particularly efficient method, but can work well when it comes to spot cleaning, and you can then sweep the area later. It isn’t ideal for cleaning a whole guinea pig pen, however, so it’s best to use a sweeping brush when you can, unless you just want to clean one spot out.
You can also simply pick up guinea pig poop with your hands – which isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, as guinea pig droppings are usually small, reasonably dry, and made mostly of grass.
They don’t smell bad, and it can be much quicker to collect up the poop like this, even if it doesn’t initially seem like it. However, you will need to wash your hands very thoroughly afterward.
A guinea pig poop vacuum can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to clear up poop from your guinea pig cage, and it is a good option for owners who have a lot of guinea pigs and are limited on cleanup time. You should always make sure that your guinea pigs are okay with the noise before you start, and turn it off or remove the guinea pigs if they start to seem stressed by the noise.