How Often Should I Clean My Tortoise Enclosure? (Explained)

A pet tortoise can bring years of joy, but they do require some work on the owner’s part. As a pet owner, it is important to keep your animal’s living space clean. But how often should you clean your tortoise enclosure?

In general, Tortoise enclosures should be cleaned once a week. However, if your tortoise enclosure is small or if you have multiple tortoises, you may need to clean it more often.

Cleaning frequency depends on a few factors, including the size of the enclosure, the number of tortoises, and whether or not you have plants in the enclosure.

So, continue reading, I’ll explain everything you need to know to keep your tortoise enclosure clean and tips on how often to do so.

Why Cleaning Tortoise Enclosures is Important

Tortoises are one of the most popular reptiles kept as pets. They are unique creatures that have specific needs. One of the most important things you can do for your tortoise is to keep their enclosure clean. A clean enclosure will help your tortoise stay healthy and happy.

Here are a few reasons why enclosure cleaning is important for pet tortoises:

  • Tortoises are susceptible to diseases and parasites, which can be easily spread through their environment. So, keeping your tortoise enclosure clean is vital to prevent illness.
  • A clean enclosure will help keep your tortoise healthy and free from potential bacterial threats.
  • Enclosure cleaning is especially important for baby tortoises, who are particularly delicate and vulnerable to health problems.
  • A clean enclosure will provide your tortoise with a more comfortable and stress-free environment.
  • It also helps to maintain a healthy appearance for your tortoise.

How Do I Know if My Tortoise Enclosure Needs Cleaning?

How Do I Know if My Tortoise Enclosure Needs Cleaning

A clean environment is crucial for your tortoise’s health and well-being. But how do you know when it’s time to give their enclosure a good cleaning?

Here are a few signs that it might be time to break out the cleaning supplies:

  • There is visible mold or mildew growing in the enclosure.
  • The substrate is significantly stained or soiled.
  • There is an unpleasant odor coming from the enclosure.
  • There are more insects than usual in the enclosure.
  • If the water in the enclosure is dirty, it’s time to clean it out and replace it with fresh water. Tortoises need fresh, clean water to drink and bathe in.

If you notice any of these things, it’s time to give your tortoise’s home a good cleaning!

How Often Should You Clean Your Tortoise Enclosure?

Tortoises are generally kept as outdoor pets, so their enclosure will be subject to the elements. This means that it will need to be cleaned more often than if it were indoor-only.

A tortoise enclosure should be cleaned at least once a week, and more if necessary. The schedule will depend on the size of the enclosure, the number of tortoises, and the amount of waste produced. A larger enclosure with more tortoises will need to be cleaned more often than a smaller one.

Things like food and water dishes along with other accessories in the enclosure should be cleaned weekly. And the substrate should be replaced every four weeks or so.

The best way to clean a tortoise enclosure is to remove all the substrate, or any other accessories and then wash everything down with a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to rinse everything thoroughly before putting it back in the enclosure.

Deep cleaning is only necessary once every two weeks. This also involves taking everything out of the enclosure and washing it down with a bleach solution.

How to Remove Parasites from Tortoise Enclosure

If you suspect your tortoise has parasites, take action to clean its enclosure and get rid of the pests. These tiny creatures can hitch a ride on your tortoise and make themselves at home in your tortoise’s enclosure.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to remove parasites from your tortoise’s enclosure:

  • First, remove all the substrate from the enclosure and dispose of it. Then, thoroughly clean the enclosure with a disinfectant solution. Be sure to rinse the enclosure well afterward. Allow it to dry completely before adding a new substrate.
  • One way is to manually remove the parasites with a tweezer or another tool. Be sure to pay special attention to any cracks or crevices where parasites might hide.
  • Treat the enclosure with an insecticide labeled for use on reptiles. Follow the directions carefully and be sure to ventilate the area well while the insecticide is drying.
  • You can also treat your tortoise with a deworming medication as directed by your vet.
  • Finally, give your tortoise a bath in lukewarm water with a mild reptile-safe shampoo.

Tips for Keeping Tortoise Enclosures Clean

Tips for Keeping Tortoise Enclosures Clean

Here are some tips for keeping your tortoise enclosure clean:

  • Remove all waste daily. This includes feces, uneaten food, and dead leaves or other debris. This will help prevent mold and bacteria from growing in the enclosure.
  • Spot clean the walls and floor of the enclosure as needed. A mild soap and water solution can be used for this.
  • Keep the substrate dry. Wet substrates can lead to bacterial growth, which can make your tortoise sick. If you need to use a wet substrate, make sure you change it out frequently.
  • Provide plenty of hiding places and basking spots. This way, the tortoise can choose where it wants to be, and won’t have to worry about getting too close to its waste.
  • Give the entire enclosure a thorough cleaning at least once a week. This should include washing all surfaces with soap and water, as well as disinfecting the entire area with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). Be sure to rinse the area well afterward with clean water.
  • Allow the enclosure to dry completely before putting your tortoise back in it.


It is critical to keep your tortoise enclosure clean for the health and well-being of your pet. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the size of the enclosure and the number of tortoises in it. A good rule of thumb is to clean the enclosure once a week.

A regular cleaning schedule will help you keep on top of the mess and ensure that your tortoise has a safe and clean environment to live in.