Top 9 DIY and Alternative Bedding Ideas For Guinea Pigs

It’s important to find the right bedding for your guinea pigs. However, some people seek out DIY homemade bedding or alternative bedding to reduce their costs, whether for financial reasons or for other reasons. So, what can you use instead of guinea pig bedding?

You can use fleece instead of pine, aspen, or natural paper bedding for guinea pigs because it fulfills all of the requirements for ideal bedding. In fact, many people regard fleece to be superior to beds. Cotton cloths, shredded paper, towels, blankets, or hay are some other DIY homemade bedding options. However, when using these as bedding, you must consider their usefulness as well as the health of your guinea pig.

Keep in mind that your piggies’ bedding should not pose any health risks. It should also be soft and pleasant so that it does not damage their delicate paw when they walk.

Ideal bedding should also have strong absorbing qualities and be readily and efficiently cleanable.

Check out detail to know about the top 9 fleece bedding for guinea pigs.

In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing various DIY homemade bedding and alternative bedding for guinea pigs, as well as compare them to regular guinea pig bedding.

Best 9 Alternatives and DIY Homemade Guinea Pig’s Bedding

Best DIY homemade and Alternative Bedding For Guinea Pigs

Here are Guinea pig bedding substitutes and DIY bedding ideas:

1. Fleece

The most popular and best guinea pig bedding alternative is the fleece. Despite the fact that it is a cage liner, many people now use it as bedding. So, when it comes to guinea bedding, fleece is without a doubt among the top three.
Guinea pigs adore fleece because it is so soft. It’s gentle on their sensitive paws, and they can walk without difficulty.
Although you must clean the fleece on a regular basis to avoid odor and excessive moisture, it is rather simple to clean.
You should expect better absorption from padded fleece than from other types of bedding. The liquid will flow through the top layer and be absorbed by the absorption pad sandwiched between the outer layers.

Other bedding like wood shavings or papers are dusty and can get messy, but fleece isn’t like that. Moreover, it’s an eco-friendly and recommended product for piggies.

It can also help you save money because you won’t have to replace the entire fleece as you would with other bedding. Fleece is durable, washable, and reusable.

However, if you can’t find a suitable guinea pig fleece, it may not absorb moisture efficiently and develop a foul odor over time. So choose a reputable brand.


Soft and comfortable

Good for guinea pigs’ health

Zero dust



Good absorbent

Not messy


Washable and reusable

Not no need to keep buying like bedding

Longer lasting


A little bit high initial cost

Require poo picking every day

Need to maintain regular washing

Our recommended bedding

GuineaDad Liner – Midwest Size, Blue | Guinea Pig Fleece Cage Liners

DIY fleece bedding

Tou can also make DIY fleece bedding easily made at home.

You will need a fabric softener, scissors, and a sewing machine to make it.

First, cut the fleece into pieces that will fit your guinea pigs’ cage.

Next, sew the edges of the fleece to create quilt-like bedding.

After that, soak the bedding in fabric softener and water.

Squeeze out the excess water and let it dry completely before giving it to your guinea pigs.

2. Towel

A bath towel is an excellent DIY home bedding or an alternative to bedding for guinea pigs, as it may be cheaper than other alternatives, readily available, and good absorbent.

Moreover, it’s comfortable for guinea pigs’ feet and the like to nibble under it as it’s so soft.

Towels, which come in a variety of colors, can help you make your cage more colorful and decorative.

If your piggies enjoy chewing on the materials, you should use colorless towels.

Besides, make certain that you offer them little, unscented towels. The new towels are fantastic.

Your guinea pigs will have respiratory problems if a towel spreads a stench. Furthermore, if they decide to wrap the towel around the person, they may suffocate.

Check out my other article to know about the usage of towels for your piggies.


Good absorbent

Much cheaper

Readily available

Help make the cage colorful

Soft and comfortable

Enjoyed by guinea pigs


Not so good at controlling odor

May need to add an extra layer or liners

The product you may like:

100% Cotton Beach Towels

3. Cotton cloth

Cotton cloths can also be used to produce guinea pigs. This is a great DIY homemade bedding solution However, be sure it doesn’t have a foul odor.
Use fresh, odorless clothing whenever possible. It’s far less expensive than bedding and can be quite effective. The cotton fabric absorbs well and can be reused.
However, you should not use it for an extended period of time because it may cause issues such as unpleasant odor, damp surface, and guinea pig discomfort.
Moreover, clothes alone may not be sufficient. As a result, you may require an additional layer to make it comfortable and true bedding.
Use this when you don’t have any other options, such as purchasing decent bedding.


Very economic



Well absorbent

Comfortable and Soft


Require routine maintenance

May need an extra layer

Need daily poo picking

Produce bad smell fast

4. Blanket

Blankets, just like fleece, can be used to cover the cage’s floor. If you don’t have any other options, this can be a nice sleeping solution for your piggies.

However, you cannot have any blanket you desire. It should be made of the same materials as your fleece.

Because it can’t absorb moisture well, you’ll additionally need to utilize an absorbing layer. A bath mat or puppy pad can be used in conjunction with blankets.

Besides that, make sure the blankets aren’t dusty, as this will lead guinea pigs to have breathing problems. It’s a good idea to use new blankets with no odor.

Know more about using blankets for piggies.


Soft and cozy

May work like fleece


Average costing



Can’t absorb moisture well

Needs poo-picking frequently and every day

Produces bad smell quickly

Includes laundering cost

5. Hay

Hay is another good DIY homemade bedding for your little pigs. Though hay is mostly utilized as a major meal for guinea pigs, it can also be used to make bedding in an emergency.

This bedding has a natural feel and is also very cheap. Moreover, you don’t have to buy it separately as you already have it to feed your guinea pigs.

Only you have to do is put a liner or absorbent layer under it. You can use the newspaper for that. But, try to use paper without any ink.

You can also use inkless shredded paper as a supportive layer for the bedding.

It’s safe for guinea pigs because you’re feeding them the same hay. It’s dust-free and free of harmful chemicals.

Moreover, hay is an excellent way to keep your guinea pigs warm during the winter.

It also gives your guinea pigs nourishment when they eat it.

Besides, it provides great support for the litter areas.

Guinea pigs adore hay, tunneling through it or covering themselves in it. Choose timothy hay bedding for them as it’s great as food as well as bedding.

Know detail about the use of hay for guinea pig bedding.


Very affordable

Readily available


Loved by guinea pigs


Help keep warm

Provide nutrition to guinea pigs


Not absorb moisture well

Not good at controlling smell

Required frequent poo-picking and cleaning

May get mold

Our recommended product

Oxbow Animal Health Organic Meadow Hay

6. Shredded paper

Shredded paper is a simple, quick, and convenient guinea pig bedding solution. It is an excellent absorbent. This makes them the great DIY homemade bedding for piggies.

The floor of a guinea pig’s cage can also be lined with shredded papers. You can shred any inkless paper into small bits and scatter them across the floor.

Your piggies will be at ease in it. They like to burrow through shredded papers or nest in them. It is suitable for usage in the litter area.
However, a bath mat, towel, or puppy pads should be added to improve absorption.

Many guinea pigs, especially if they are bored, tear the paper up and decide to eat the paper.

The ink of the newspaper can be harmful to them if they ingest too much. So, avoid papers containing ink and other chemicals. Also, make sure it’s not so dusty.

Learn detail about shredded paper for guinea pig bedding.



Good absorbent

Easy to use

Soft and comfortable

Work well as bedding


Get wet quickly

May contain dust

Too messy

May not control odor well

Need frequent cleaning

7. Bath mat

Soft bath mats, like towels or fleece, can be used as a bedding alternative. It might help you if you are unable to purchase a suitable bedding item for some reason.

But, you shouldn’t use it for a very long time. The bath mats will cost you very little money.

They are very soft, comfy, dust-free, convenient, and safe to use. Furthermore, the same mats can be used repeatedly. You only need to wash it on a regular basis.

You should clean the mat on a daily basis and replace it once a week.

However, they aren’t very absorbent and may struggle to manage odor.

Learn more about using bath mats for little pigs.


Very cheap

Reusable and washable


Soft and comfortable

Available in different colors


Not work great as bedding

Not good at absorbency and odor-controlling

Need more frequent cleaning

9. DIY paper bedding

Some guinea pig owners produce their own DIY paper bedding at home. You can do the same.

Simply take plain, inkless paper and convert it to paper pellets using a procedure similar to that seen in pet stores.

However, the issue is that you will have to put in a lot of effort.

Moreover, preparing so many papers on a regular basis is really difficult for you.

But, you can do that in an urgent situation to help your little piggies.

9. Shredded cardboard

You may use an old piece of cardboard to make bedding for your guinea pigs, just like shredded paper.

Instead of using scissors, do it by hand, as this may result in sharp edges. So, get some old cardboard or similar shipping boxes, clean them up, shred them, and use them as bedding.

However, be certain it is free of dangerous chemicals and inks. To get rid of the ink, remove the labels or top layer before tearing it.

Factors to be considered before using alternatives to guinea pigs bedding

There are many criteria that ensure good bedding for your guinea pigs. But, you should at least ensure the following factors before choosing an alternative to guinea pig’s bedding.

Ensure absorbency and odor-controlling

The main criteria of the guinea pig’s bedding are it should be good at controlling odor and absorbing moisture. You have to make sure of this while choosing an alternative.

Safe for guinea pigs health

Make sure that the substitute you use for the bedding isn’t harmful to the guinea pig’s health. It shouldn’t contain any chemicals, dust, or added scent. It should not also cause any skin infection or allergy.

Allow proper cage cleaning

It shouldn’t prevent you from maintaining hygiene. You should be able to spot cleaning easily.

Soft and cozy

It should be comfortable and soft for guinea pig’s feet as well and shouldn’t hurt their feet while walking.


As you are using an alternative, it must be much cheaper than any other traditional bedding product.

Fleece is the only alternative that works similarly or better in many cases as bedding. You can only invest in that. But, you shouldn’t pay a high price for another alternative.


Some alternatives can cause allergies to your guinea pigs as well as the family members. Try to avoid it if you or your piggies. are allergic to any alternative.

Can guinea pigs live without bedding?

Guinea pigs are unable to survive without bedding. They won’t die if you leave them for a few days without bedding, but they will become sick after a few days. The piggie’s temperament and eating habits will also be affected. Moreover, people may dislike you for this.

So, if you don’t have any bedding because the goods was delivered late or you ran out of it unexpectedly, consider using alternate bedding as I indicated before.

Which alternatives you shouldn’t use as guinea pig bedding?


When we speak about alternatives, we immediately think of DIY stuff like newspapers. So, you might wonder, ” Can I use newspapers for guinea pig bedding?”

Because newspaper includes ink, do not use it directly as guinea pig bedding. Many guinea pigs chew or eat paper pieces.

As a result, the ink may be hazardous to the health of the guinea pig. Even if you use newspaper, use it as the liner and cover it with other bedding materials.


Corncob isn’t suitable for guinea pigs, though it’s used for other pets. The reason is it will cause digestive problems if they eat it.

Guinea pigs can’t digest it and it will cause impaction and serious complications. Another drawback mold grows very fast on a corncob.

Cedar shavings

Because it contains a lot of aromatic oils, cedar is probably the worst choice for guinea pig bedding. Aromatic oil cause major respiratory difficulties, allergies, and liver diseases in the guinea pigs. It might also put their lives in danger.


Straw and hay may look similar but they are different. You should never use straw as a guinea pig’s bedding. Hard stalks of straw will poke your guinea pig’s eye and cause serious injury. Moreover, it can’t absorb moisture from poor urine.

Paper Towels

Paper towel is a poor choice as an alternative to guinea pigs’ bedding. It’s very weak absorbent and gets wet fast.

Cat litter

Cat litter isn’t suitable to make guinea pig’s bedding. It contains chemicals, odors, and dust that are harmful to guinea pigs’ health.

Moreover, it’s rough and hard. It can’t even work well to absorb moisture and do other things as an alternative to bedding for a day.

Softwood and unprocessed pine shavings

If you’re going to use wood shavings instead of bedding, be sure they’re from hardwood. The volatile oil is a hazardous substance for the health of your guinea pigs. This oil is found in softwoods such as pine shavings. As a result, you must avoid it.

You can use aspen bedding as it’s made from hardwood or pine shaving that’s kiln-dried and specially prepared for guinea pigs.

Which alternative bedding should you use for guinea pigs?

Fleece is the best and only alternative to bedding for guinea pigs that fulfills all of the requirements and performs admirably as bedding.

Moreover, many owners believe it’s better bedding than regular guinea pigs’ bedding such as wood and paper bedding. So, you can choose a high-quality fleece that’s made especially for guinea pig bedding.

If you can’t afford expensive bedding or a substitute, or if you only need it for a few days, you can use the other DIY options indicated above.


Is there any true alternative to guinea pig bedding? The fleece liner is the best alternative for guinea pig’s bedding whereas other options like shredded papers, blankets, hay, towels, and cotton cloths can be good substitutes for temporary use.

Only fleece, out of all of these, functions similarly to other bedding materials. It’s also cost-effective, easy to clean, absorbent, soft, and cozy.

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