Guinea Pig Fleece Bedding Odor: How To Control, Causes

Though fleece is the most popular material to be used as guinea pig bedding, you may want to know, Does fleece bedding for guinea pigs smell?

One of the common issues that a guinea pig owner faces is the smell of fleece bedding. But, it may be due to a simple cause such as not knowing how to use and clean the fleece properly. Other common reasons are fleece not wicking liquid or not absorbing moisture and staying wet for long period.

In this article, I will be explaining to you all the reasons why fleece bedding produces odor and how to control that with quick and simple tricks.

But, wait!

What about other bedding materials?

Here, you will also know if other bedding such as wood shavings and paper pellets cause the smell and get a solution for that.

Why does fleece bedding for guinea pigs smell?

Let’s look at the causes of guinea pig’s fleece bedding smell:

1. Not absorbing moisture

When the fleece doesn’t have a good absorbing ability, it produces a smell.

The moisture from the guinea pig’s body and urine is not absorbed by a bad quality fleece.

These remain on the surface and start to rot, and that’s how bad smell is produced.

2. Staying wet for a long time

If the fleece isn’t wicking liquid or not absorbing moisture and staying wet for long periods. Over time, it will produce a smell. A similar problem may happen with a good fleece.

This will occur if you don’t dry the fleece properly after washing it or you are late to make them dry.

If you are taking much more than 30 mins to dry it, you might face the odor-controlling issue.

3. Unwicked fleece

New unwicked fleeces form a bad odor because they create puddles of urine or liquid on top. This is due to don’t allowing liquid to pass through it and go underneath to the absorbent layer. This lead to the growth of bacteria and a bad smell.

Wicking is the process of drawing the liquid from one place to another. A good fleece should be able to do that.

The fleece with a good wicking ability will quickly pull the moisture from a guinea pig’s body and spread it to the surface. And, that surface will get dry quickly.

But, if the fleece is not good at wicking, it will produce a smell because the moisture will remain on the guinea pig’s body and start to rot.

4. Not washing properly

If the fleece is not being rinsed and washed properly, it will remain sweaty and produce a bad smell.

5. Mixing with other bedding materials

When you mix the fleece with other bedding materials such as wood shavings or paper pellets, the fleece will absorb the smell of those materials and produce a bad fragrance.

7. Poor quality fleece

The quality of some fleece isn’t good. Some don’t have the good absorbing capability and others don’t possess those properties to be an ideal fleece for guinea pigs.

8. Not cleaning the fleece regularly

If you don’t clean the fleece regularly, it will start to cause a bad odor.

The guinea pigs urinate and defecate in their bedding. If you don’t clean it regularly, it will start to rot and cause a bad smell.

9. Bacteria and other microorganisms getting accumulated on the fleece

The fleece may also start to smell bad if there is a growth of bacteria and other microorganisms on it.

This usually happens when the fleece is not being cleaned properly or on a regular basis.

10. Urine and fecal matter getting accumulated on the fleece

Another reason for the bad smell of fleece is the accumulation of urine and fecal matter on it.

This happens when the guinea pigs urinate and defecate in their bedding and it is not being cleaned properly.

The urine and feces start to rot and cause a foul smell.

This may be a problem if your little pigs don’t use the litter box correctly.

11. Storing the fleece in a humid place

If you keep the fleece in a humid environment, it will stink. The fleece will collect moisture from the air and produce a foul odor as a result.

12. Washing with the wrong detergent

If you wash the fleece with the wrong detergent, it will not clean the fleece properly and leave a bad smell.

13. Not changing the bedding regularly

If you don’t change the bedding regularly and if you use old and soiled bedding, it will become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms. This will cause a bad odor.

14. Not knowing how to use and clean the fleece properly

If you don’t know how to use and clean the fleece properly, it will cause a bad odor. Maybe you are using the wrong detergent or scented product or not drying the fleece after washing correctly.

15. Food and water spillage not being cleaned properly

If there is food and water spillage on the fleece and it is not being cleaned properly, it will rot and produce a bad smell.

16. The guinea pig being in heat

Another possible cause is if the animal is in heat. During this time, a guinea pig will produce more urine, which will make the bedding smell bad.

If you notice that your guinea pig’s bedding is smelling bad and the animal is in heat, you can try using a liner to absorb the urine.

17. The guinea pig being sick

Another reason for a guinea pig’s fleece bedding to smell bad is if the animal is sick such as having diarrhea.

18. The guinea pig living in a dirty environment

Guinea pig fleece bedding odor is caused by the animal living in an unclean environment. Just like us, guinea pigs need a clean and hygienic place to live in order to stay healthy.

One of the reasons for a guinea pig’s fleece bedding to produce an odor is if the cage or the hutch is not cleaned properly and frequently.

If there is any leftover food, water, or urine in the cage, it will begin to rot and produce a bad smell.

19. Hormonal changes in the guinea pig

Another reason for the fleece bedding to produce an odor is if your guinea pig is going through hormonal changes.

A guinea pig’s body starts to produce more hormones during puberty. These hormones are responsible for the development of sexual characteristics.

As a result, a guinea pig might start to urinate more often and in larger amounts.

The increase in hormone production can also cause changes in the guinea pig’s behavior. They might become more aggressive or territorial.

20. Not using a liner with the fleece bedding

If you are not using a liner with your fleece bedding, it will produce more odor because the urine and other liquids will seep into the fleece and will be difficult to clean.

A liner is a must when using fleece bedding for guinea pigs because it will make it easier to clean the fleece and will also prevent any liquid from seeping in.

21. Pregnancy or giving birth

Another reason is pregnancy or giving birth. When a guinea pig is pregnant, she might urinate more frequently and produce more feces.

This will make the bedding smell bad if it is not cleaned properly. The same may go for when they give birth.

Check out my other article about guinea pig fleece burrowing.

How to keep guinea pig fleece from smelling?

Guinea pig fleece bedding odor control tips:

Wick the new fleece.

Wicking the new fleece is the most important process before you start using them for your guinea pig. This helps absorb moisture, keep the bedding dry, and eliminates odor.

As new fleece has a barrier that prevents water or liquid pass through its surface, you have to remove this layer and enable its absorbing ability.

Learn the techniques of fleece wicking.

Get fleece with absorbing capability.

Always choose a fleece that has a good absorbing ability. In fact, it’s quite hard to find a fleece that absorbs moisture properly.

You can choose one fleece from this listing – the best fleece for guinea pigs.

Our recommendation:

GuineaDad Fleece liners

Keep fleece dry.

Try to keep your fleece dry as much as possible to prevent producing a foul smell.

So, use a dryer to dry it after every wash. Keep in mind that you have to make it dry within half an hour after washing it. 

Use an absorbent layer.

If you don’t want to replace your old fleece now, you can use this technique.

However, if the quality of the fleece isn’t so good, even adding an absorbent layer might not help you.

Always keep the fleece clean.

Regular maintenance and cleaning of the fleece are very important to prevent it from producing a bad odor.

Do spot-cleaning every day. Clean the fleece and bottom of the cage every day.

If you see too much water or liquid on the top of its surface and it doesn’t dry quickly, do everything to make it dry as fast as possible.

Wash fleece regularly.

You have to wash the fleece once a week to prevent it from smelling. Wash it in a washing machine with high heat. Then, make it dry in the dryer.

But don’t use a dryer sheet for that as it will reset the wicking property of the fleece.

Have good quality fleece.

Not all fleece is made for the guinea pigs. They just market it by saying that it will serve your purpose. But, it’s not right. So, always check the quality of the fleece to prevent odor before your buy.

GuineaDad fleece liner is designed especially for guinea pigs that keep your cage free of odor as well.

Now that you know the causes, it will be easy for you to take preventive measures and get rid of the smell.

Check out the best fleece bedding for guinea pigs.

How do you get the smell out of a guinea pig fleece?

Let’s find out the ways how to get the smell out of a guinea pig fleece.

Wicking the fleece.

If you have a new fleece that forms a smell as a result of poor absorbing ability, you will need to wick the fleece to enable its absorbing capacity.

Check out the all methods of fleece wicking.

Putting an absorbent.

After wicking a fleece, if it still can’t control moisture and odor, you can put an absorbent layer. It will help the fleece to control odor.

Not letting fleece stay wet for a long time.

You have to be careful about fleece bedding getting wet. Don’t let it stay wet for a very long period, especially not more than an hour, and keep it dry. This will reduce the smell.

Washing with the right detergent and hot water.

Simple tricks are using detergent powder or liquid with hot water. This will eliminate the urine or poo and wash the fleece nicely and make eliminate the odor.

However, don’t use detergent with a softener or other bad chemicals that aren’t good for fleece as well as for guinea pigs.

Using a softener reduces the absorbing ability of fleece.

Washing the fleece with vinegar and hot water.

You can wash the fleece with vinegar and hot water. This helps to wick the new fleece and can also remove the smell from it.

Regular poo picking and cleaning.

You must clean the poo every day. Fleece needs some maintenance work to be done every day. Maintain good cage hygiene and clean it regularly and prevent smells.

Wash the fleece every week.

You should wash the fleece every week with a good quality detergent and hot water. This will make the fleece fresh and new and eliminate any bad smell.

You can wash the fleece in a washing machine. This is the best way to clean it and eliminate any bad smell from it.

Let the fleece dry in the sun.

This is one of the most effective ways to get rid of any bad smell from the fleece. Sunlight is a great disinfectant and also helps to make the fleece smell fresh.

You can also dry the fleece in a dryer, but make sure to use the no-heat setting.


Guinea pig fleece bedding produces a smell when they stay wet for some time and can’t absorb liquid properly. You can wick the new fleece to help enhance its absorbing ability and eliminate the odor.

Moreover, you have to maintain proper hygiene inside the guinea pig’s cage, wash the fleece bedding regularly and make them dry quickly with a dryer.

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