If you’ve read our post on the best types of guinea pig bedding, you know which bedding options are safe and which ones should not be used. A type of bedding that is becoming increasingly popular is bath mats, also called Chenille rugs.
If you’ve been considering switching to this type of bedding, we bring you an overview of the main pros and cons of bath mats.
Let’s find out if bath mats are the right bedding for you and your guinea pigs!
What Makes Bath Mats a Good Guinea Pig Bedding?
Let’s first go over the positive sides of using bath mats as guinea pig bedding.
Disposable bedding, such as aspen shavings and paper bedding, must be replaced constantly. With bath mats, once you make the initial purchase, there are no additional costs. And the initial purchase is not that expensive as you can get bath mats for cheap (under $10) in stores such as IKEA.
So if you can’t afford to spend much on bedding or prefer not to waste money when you don’t have to, bath mats are a great, affordable option.
Of course, money is not the most important factor to consider. Making sure your guinea pigs are comfortable is even more important, and bath mats are nothing short of comfy. You can rest assured that your guinea pigs will not be uncomfortable, as bath mats are extremely soft on their tiny feet.
Besides being extra comfortable for your pigs, bath mats are also completely safe.
One issue with some types of bedding, such as shavings and paper, is the dust that can irritate your guinea pigs’ sensitive respiratory system. But you won’t have that issue with bath mats. If your guinea pigs are prone to allergies or sneezing from the dust when using shavings or paper, switching to bath mats should help.
While shavings and paper bedding can cause allergies due to dust, paper bedding can also cause a blockage if your guinea pig eats it, while fleece can be an issue if you use puppy pads under it and your guinea pig eats it. These issues rarely happen, and those types of bedding are still safe to use, but the fact is that bath mats don’t carry those risks.
Absorbent and Eliminates Odors Well
Another crucial aspect of bedding is its absorbency. The more absorbent the bedding is, the less smelly the cage will be. The good thing is that bath mats are very absorbent!
While fleece needs to be wicked to work properly, and it needs an absorbent layer under it to absorb the pee, this is not necessarily needed with bath mats. Many bath mats are absorbent enough to be used on their own. Although, some people still prefer putting something underneath to protect the cage floor, just in case. You can use old towels, u-haul pads, or puppy pads.
Make sure the bath mat of your choice doesn’t have a rubber backing. That type of mat is much easier to clean and doesn’t get smelly as easily.
Easy to Clean
Considering the amount of poop an average guinea pig produces on a daily basis, it’s important that the bedding we use is easy to clean, for our sake!
If you’ve ever used fleece bedding, you’ve probably noticed that hay tends to stick to it. With bath mats, the hay and poo don’t stick, so it’s easy to shake off or vacuum the hay and poop. Then pop the mat in a laundry bag and wash it in the washing machine. The laundry bag is a must-have to stop the hay and other debris from coming off in the washing machine and wracking it.
Since you can use the same bath mats for years, they also make a more eco-friendly option. If that aspect of bedding is important to you as it is to me, it’s a good idea to use bath mats instead of disposable bedding that has to be purchased and replaced non-stop.
The Cons of Using Bath Mats
Let’s go over the downsides of using bath mats as bedding.
The Mat Sizes Might Not Fit Your Cage
Finding a bath mat that will fit your cage by an inch can be difficult. You might need several mats or do some combos and adjustments to cover the entire cage.
Some people use two different types of bedding and use bath mats only in the “kitchen” area where guinea pigs do most of the pooping.
You Have to Wash Them Every Couple of Days
Bath mats need to be washed in the washing machine every few days, depending on how many pigs you have and how big the cage is. For some people, this is more time-consuming than dealing with disposable bedding, which can simply be thrown away.
You’ll need to scoop up the poops, remove everything from the cage, vacuum or shake off the hay from the mat, and wash it in a machine every few days (I suggest using a laundry bag). While the mat is being washed, replace it with the clean one and return everything back to the cage.
It can be a bit more work than using disposable bedding, but it’s nothing that can’t be handled with good organization.
You can see how the YouTuber from “It’s Pigs!” cleans their bath mat bedding in this video:
Where to Get Bath Mats for Your Guinea Pigs?
IKEA mats are a popular option among guinea pig owners as they are cheap and work well. However, you can find similar bath mats in stores such as Target, Amazon or similar stores in your area.
The IKEA bath mat that many guinea pig owners use and recommended is the TOFTBO bath mat.
What type of bedding do you use for your guinea pigs? Are you going to try bath mats?
Let us know in the comments section!