However, there are pros and cons to all types of bedding so, before deciding on whether fleece liners are the best option for you, it’s important to weigh up the advantages with the disadvantages.
Why use fleece bedding?
There are several reasons why people like to use fleece bedding.
Fleece is soft and comfortable
Firstly, guinea pigs have very delicate feet so fleece is a lovely safe, soft and comfortable surface for them to live on. In fact, hairless guinea pigs and also those who have had a recent operation or a skin sensitivity should be on fleece as other bedding types may be an irritant.
Guinea pigs are very prone to respiratory illnesses so it’s important to keep the amount of dust in their cage to a minimum. This is one of the reasons fleece is so popular for guinea pigs because it is the only bedding that is completely dust free.
Less messy than disposable bedding
Fleece isn’t a messy bedding and the only mess you’ll get is from the hay and poops. This makes it much easier to clean out without making your home messy.
With shavings, unless you have a Perspex fronted cage, you will get bits of bedding on your floor occasionally.
Fleece looks attractive
Fleece bedding is available in many different colours. And with so many designs and patterns to choose from, you can make your guinea pig’s cage look really stunning.
Many guinea pig owners love this aspect of fleece and spend a lot of time making their cages look really beautiful.
Unlike most guinea pig bedding, fleece does not have to be replaced on a regular basis as do wood shavings and other disposable bedding. So although it’s more expensive than other bedding to buy initially, you won’t have to worry about making regular purchases.
What are the disadvantages of using fleece
The main disadvantage with fleece bedding is that you will have to wash it. So if you are in a shared house with a shared washing machine or if you need to take your washing to a laundromat, fleece may not be the best choice for you.
A full cage clean, changing to fresh new bedding, needs doing more frequently with fleece than any other bedding we’ve tried. Regular spot cleans are also important as the poops sit on top of fleece whereas they tend to get mixed in with shavings and other bedding types.
What type of fleece should I use?
We recommend that you use the specially made Guinea Pig fleece liners. These are made to be absorbent so you don’t need to add anything underneath them.
The ones we found to be most absorbent were the GuineaDad fleece liners and they need changing every 2-3 days. Other fleeces we tried needed to be changed after 2 days and didn’t have anywhere near the absorbency of GuineaDad’s liners.
What are fleece liners made from?
Fleece liners are usually made from a layer of fleece on the top, a waterproof layer on the bottom and some kind of absorbent layer in the middle. GuineaDad fleece liners have a bamboo blend absorbent layer and some of the other fleece liners use uhaul pads.
DIY fleece liners
You could make your own fleece liners and it might work out cheaper than buying the readymade liners but to do this you would need a sewing machine and you'd also need to be fairly confident at sewing.
Alternatively you could lay fleece on top of a safe absorbent layer but again this isn’t ideal and could give you more work than using a simple fleece liner.
We haven’t tried these but some people use puppy training pads or incontinence pads under their fleece. We DON’T recommend the disposable ones but the reusable washable pads should be safe. We're not sure how absorbent they are compared to fleece liners as we haven't tested these.
The reason we don’t recommend disposable puppy or incontinence pads is because they can pose a danger to guinea pigs. If the piggies can get to the pads and chew the material, it can cause blockages in their digestive systems which could prove extremely dangerous and could even be fatal.
Fleece liners are made to fit standard cage sizes
You’ll find that fleece liners are sold in sizes to fit popular cages such as the Midwest Habitat or various sized C&C cages. They also sell smaller sizes so if you have a large 2x6 grid C&C cage, you can buy a 2x4 liner as well as an additional 2x2 liner.
Fleece liners can also be made to order although not from GuineaDad. If you need one to be a more unusual and specific size, take a look on Etsy where you’ll find several sellers who offer this option.
Mixing fleece and disposable bedding
The best place to put the disposable bedding would be where your guinea pigs pee and poop the most. It’s difficult, in fact pretty much impossible to litter train guinea pigs and they are unlikely to go to the toilet in a designated area.
However, they do have a tendency to pee a lot where they eat, especially under the hay rack in our experience. Therefore, putting a litter box with shavings under the hay rack is a really good idea.
Guinea pigs also pee and poop a lot in dark corners such as the corner of a hidey so you could create dark areas and use shavings in those places to reduce the amount of urine getting into the fleece liners.
You can also buy pee pads which are like mini fleece liners. These are also great in the hideys to absorb that extra pee as they are small and easy to swap out for clean ones on a daily basis. Then you can simply add them all to the washing when you do your main fleece liner washing cycle.
Wicking, washing and drying fleece liners
When you first get your fleece liners, they will need “wicking” to get them to absorb properly. This involves washing them several times and you can find out more about how to successfully wick fleece here...
Always follow the washing instructions for fleece liners to ensure you don’t shrink them.
It is important to make sure they are washed thoroughly to make sure bacteria doesn’t build up over time. We have lots of tips and tricks on how to wash fleece liners and keep them smelling fresh here…
We recommend you line-dry fleece liners but it’s not always possible so check out our tips on how to dry your fleece liners in a tumble dryer here...
Can fleece be used in an outdoor hutch?
We wouldn’t recommend using fleece outdoors for the following reasons:
The poops will sit on top of the fleece and may attract flies and bluebottles which is very dangerous for guinea pigs
Damp weather may make the top of the fleece slightly damp and this is really bad for piggies.
What fleece bedding do we recommend?
If you do choose to use fleece bedding for your guinea pigs, the ones we recommend are GuineaDad fleece liners because of their absorbency. They also have the benefit of a pocket which guinea pigs love to hide in. You might also like these patterned fleece liners which you can buy on Etsy.
How many fleece liners will I need to buy?
You will need at least 2 sets of fleece liners but we recommend buying 3 sets. This way, you should always have a fresh clean set of liners to put in the cage when it comes to cleaning day.
Pros and cons of fleece liners for guinea pigs
Fleece liners aren’t cheap so make sure you’ve considered all the pros and cons before choosing this bedding option:
- Dust free
- They look great
- No mess
- Soft and comfy
- Reusable so can save money long term
- Not suitable for outdoor hutches
- Cage needs cleaning more often (2-3 days) including daily spot cleans
- Expensive to buy initially
As well as fleece liners, there are many safe beddings for guinea pigs including
So deciding on the right bedding for your guinea pigs is really down to personal choice and what you find works best for you and your piggies.
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