Secrets of Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs Revealed - Part I, Basic Overview and Benefits

Coppy & Morry cuddling together for a nap on Carefresh bedding

Since our post featuring our cage setup, we pigs have had some interest in the type of bedding we use. Increasingly, more guinea pig owners are choosing to turn to alternative bedding. We switched from traditional bedding (wood chips and Carefresh) to fleece bedding a bit over a year ago. Fleece bedding is a layering combination of fleece fabric and towels.

How it works
In traditional wood chip or paper bedding, a piggy's excrement soaks and mixes into the material, which remains damp. In contrast, properly prepared fleece bedding allows the urine to pass straight through the fleece, so the piggy's bottom and the top layer remain dry. Towels placed underneath the top layer of fleece absorb any liquids that pass through while piggy poops remain on top.

Benefits of using fleece bedding
A fact sheet created by Guinea Pig Helpline lists the pros and cons of using fleece bedding:

  • Reusable, one set of bedding can last many years;
  • Highly cost effective long-term, not spending money regularly on bedding; (this is especially true for large cages!)
  • Readily available online and in shops;
  • Can be cut to size;
  • Does not harbour parasites or fungal spores when washed correctly;
  • Kind to piggies feet, skin, coat and respiratory tracts;
  • Ideal for elderly guinea pigs;
  • Surface remains dry – urine and moisture wick down through the bedding, thus encouraging optimum  hygiene;
  • Excellent for post-operative recovery

Drawbacks to using fleece bedding
The fact sheet also summarizes the drawbacks to using fleece bedding. We don't find any of these to be a significant problem and believe the benefits far outweigh any minor inconveniences.

  • Need regular access to a washing machine and dryer;
  • Debris such as hay and hair may stick to the bedding; 
  • we vacuum up or shake out before washing
  • Initial outlay may be expensive depending on which bedding is chosen; 
  • fleece can be found on sale at fabric stores
  • Must use an “underbedding” – something absorbent underneath the bedding to absorb fluids;
  • use furniture pads and towels
  • Bedding may shrink with very long term use, so when first fitting to size of cage must allow at least an additional 3 inches on all sides; 
  • can buy larger fabric swatch when purchasing, have not personally experienced significant shrinkage
  • Fleece is not a weighty bedding so some find it difficult to spot clean and remove poops daily
  • easily remedied with a handheld pet vacuum 

Cost Breakdown

  • For a simple 2x3 grid C&C cage, bedding needs to be changed on average twice a week. A 60 liter bag of Carefresh costs about $25. Each change uses about 1/2 a bag. So each 2x3 enclosure needed four bags of Carefresh, which costed our humans about $100/month.
  • Our current cage size is an equivalent total of four 2x3 enclosures. If using Carefresh, this would mean a total of $400/month. 
  • Carefresh is the most costly traditional bedding to use. For example, aspen bedding costs about $10 for 60 liters. With our current cage size, this would cost a total of $160/month.
  • Fleece bedding should also be changed and laundered at least twice a week. Since fleece is reusable, with each changing you only pay for the cost of water, electricity and detergent. 
  • At our current location in California, it costs $0.91 per each load washed and dried ($0.13/kw electricity, $0.14/load of detergent, $4.00/1000 gallons of water, and $1.00/therm). 
  • Since the cage should be changed 8-12 times per month, the total cost is $7.28-10.92/month for our current large cage.

Monthly bedding cost comparison chart (click to enlarge)

What a great opportunity to save money to use towards piggy toys and cage accessories instead! Keep an eye out for our next post about fabric selection and preparation.


  1. is fleece better than newspaper , hay and kitty litter ( separately)?
    I currently have kitty litter and I want fleece and a c and c cage .please help
    piggie crazy

  2. 100% polyester fleece, ideally anti-pill.

  3. what type of fleece should be used? should it be made from wool or should it be made from polyster? please answer.....

  4. what type of fleece should be use .wool or polyster

  5. Hi Piggie Crazy,

    Cat litter isn't recommended for use as guinea pig bedding - it's dangerous if ingested and the dust/dampness can lead to a URI (upper respiratory infection). Fleece is certainly a better bedding alternative. There are quite a few different options for bedding you can read about here:

    C&C cages are fairly straightforward to put together. Search on Youtube for "how to build a C&C cage for guinea pigs", there are quite a few helpful tutorials there.

    Hope that helps!