How to Clean Reptile Carpet

By Irene A. Blake

Like any pet, reptiles or "herps" require clean habitats for continued overall good health. Reptile urine and fecal matter often contain bacteria, fungi and viruses that, with prolonged exposure, can harm your reptile or even negatively impact human health. The carpet in the bottom of your reptile's terrarium is a breeding ground for health hazards as carpets readily absorb urine and carpet fibers hold on to fecal matter. Cleaning your reptile's carpet requires that you keep urine and fecal matter levels in the cage down daily and that you thoroughly wash and disinfect the carpet weekly.

Clean fresh waste materials and food from the carpet daily. Put on your mask and gloves. Pull feces and uneaten food from the carpet with paper towels and soak up any fresh urine spots. Dispose of all materials in a garbage bag along with the gloves, seal tightly and throw in an outside trash.

Transfer your herp to another cage or area once a week to clean the terrarium and carpet.

Prep your cleaning area. Cut a large garbage bag open and lay it on a floor. Add 1 tbsp. of mild detergent to 1 gallon of hot water in a bucket.

Clean the carpet. Put the carpet in the hot, soapy water and soak it for at least 15 minutes. Remove the carpet, squeeze out the excess water into the bucket, lay the carpet on a piece of the cut garbage bag and begin scrubbing one side gently in a circular motion with your soft-bristled brush. Dunk the carpet in the water again and repeat the process for the other side.

Rinse the carpet. Place the carpet on the garbage bag. Flush the dirty soap water down the toilet drain and rinse the bucket with hot tap water. Put the carpet back in the bucket and then rinse with hot tap water. Repeat water disposal and rinsing until you have removed all soap residues from the carpet—no soap bubbles/suds come out of the carpet and water appears clear.

Disinfect the carpet. Apply a herp-safe disinfectant to both sides of the carpet and the interior of the bucket to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses that soap and water alone can't remove. Follow the directions on the bottle for product application and rinsing. As with soapy water, rinse the carpet completely to remove all of the disinfectant.

Set the carpet aside to air-dry completely. When completely dry, return it to the terrarium.