How to Clean a Pet Rabbit: 5 Easy Steps (plus Dos and Don’ts)

Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by

Should you know how to clean a pet rabbit, even if bunnies are known to be fastidious groomers? The answer is a definite yes!

They are not known to be stinky animals so aside from the usual brushing and nail clipping you don’t necessarily have to be concerned about your rabbit being dirty. 

However, there are moments when you would need to intervene and do the cleaning for your rabbit. This is especially true if you have outdoor rabbits.

Playtime can have them jumping into dirty things like mud or even feces. Worms, Insects, or parasites can grow and lay eggs in your rabbit’s fur so it is better to keep your rabbit clean just in case they go home looking extra dirty than they usually are. 

This article will give you all you need to know about how to clean your rabbit. Always remember, rabbit cleaning need not be complicated.

How to clean a pet rabbit
Source: Hanna Knutsson (

How to clean a rabbit

Rabbit bathing is not recommended! So how to clean a rabbit? It is very easy, but there are certain dos and don’ts you need to watch out for.

Scroll further down below to learn 5 steps on how to clean a pet rabbit.

When do rabbits need baths?

Rabbit bathing is not recommended, do that unless absolutely necessary! The only time rabbits can have baths is if they get a build-up of urine around their genitals. Also, rabbit bathing is allowed only if it is very very dirty.

If you find yourself in this type of emergency, be sure to make the bath as brief as possible, and keep the bunny warm until she/he’s dry. However, do not forget to use safe bunny shampoo. 

They generally don’t like getting submerged and remember that bunny fur takes a long time to dry. Bunnies usually hate sinks and will kick out and twist when you try to put them in water.

TIP: After rabbit bathing, put a hot water bottle to cuddle next to if they feel chilled. A rabbit can catch hypothermia or go into shock very easily if they get cold when they’re wet.

5 easy steps to cleaning your pet rabbit 

Bathing rabbits isn’t always recommended and should be done rarely. Rabbits are not used to water so you shouldn’t put them in a basin that is filled with water. T

This will stress out your rabbit and that’s something you would want to avoid as much as possible. 

Spot cleaning is the recommended way of cleaning rabbits. This means that you don’t have to submerge your rabbit in water. It is okay for you to clean just the dirty part of your rabbit’s body.

If their hind leg got into the mud for example,  then you spot clean that part only by cleaning it with water. You do not need to clean your entire bunny’s body. 

Also, remember to use lukewarm water. This means that the water should be at room temperature, be careful of using too cold or too warm water. 

I outlined here other ways to clean your rabbit: 

Step 1: Clean Scent Glands 

Scent glands can be found in the bum of your rabbit. Make sure that your rabbit is calm and not agitated. You do not want to stress out your rabbit unnecessarily.

Rabbit scent glands can be found in the anus of your rabbit. Unpleasant smells can build up in this area so you may need to have to clean them. 

Clean this area using a Q-tip or a cotton ball. Dip the Q-tip or the cotton in lukewarm water. Afterward, swab the Q-tip/cotton around the anus area to remove any build-up of fecal matter.

Your rabbit might not be fond of being touched in this sensitive area so make sure that you have someone to help hold your rabbit steady while you do this activity.

This will both be safer for you and your rabbit. Your rabbit won’t have to be unnecessarily injured if they jump and bump into something and you also will avoid scratches or bunny kicks if your bunny gets listless. 

Rabbits also have scent glands under their chins. However, since no unpleasant pellets come out of these scent glands then I suggest you best leave it alone. 

Step 2: Use rabbit formulated Shampoo 

Do not use human shampoo on your rabbits. I have heard of people making use of baby shampoos cos they’re “gentler” but you have to remember that babies and bunnies are different species. Babies for one, do not have fur. 

Your favorite pet store should carry shampoo that is formulated specifically for your rabbit’s needs. 

Step 3: Avoid the use of soap liberally  

Do not lather your rabbits with soap. Soap can have chemicals that can be harmful to your rabbit. Make sure to make use of rabbit formulated shampoo.  

It is also important to remember to keep the basin from filling in with water if you plan to bathe your rabbit. Start bathing your bunnies from their rumps up to their necks.

Avoid washing your rabbit’s face. I will get into cleaning rabbit ears and eyes in the next steps. Rinse the shampoo off the rabbit thoroughly. 

Step 4: Dry the rabbit fur 

Drying rabbit fur can be a chore because their fur clumps when wet. Therefore, this would need patience from the groomer. You can towel dry a rabbit using fast-absorbing soft towels.

Make sure that you are not drying your rabbit with a very coarse towel because their skins break easily. 

You may also try to use a hairdryer to help speed up the process. Do not use the hair dryer at its highest setting. Set the temperature and the fan speed to their lowest.

You can test the heat by using the hairdryer at the back of your hands. Other hair dryers have a cool setting. Usually, this is set at room temperature so you can also use this to dry your rabbits. 

Outdoor rabbits should also stay indoors for 24 hours after bathing. This is to ensure that they do not go out still damp. Avoid bathing outdoor rabbits during the cold months as well. 

Step 5: Check other parts of their body likes ears and eyes. 

You shouldn’t get your rabbit’s face wet during bath time but you can still try to clean them. Cleaning your pet’s ears and eyes is part of a good routine for rabbit grooming. 

Use cotton to clean the area around our rabbit’s eyes. This cotton must be moist and soaked in room temperature water.

You may also use a mascara wand or an eyebrow brush to brush the fur away from your rabbit’s eyes. Clean around the eyes, make sure to never touch the eye of the rabbit itself. 

Rabbit ears should also be checked regularly to avoid ear wax build-up. You can use cotton for this task as well. Never use a Q-tip to clean your rabbit’s ears.

You only need to clean the outer ear canal of your rabbit, meaning the places where your fingers can reach. Do not push into your canal’s ears as you might cause the wax to be lodged inside.

For ear cleaning solutions you may ask your vet for their recommendation. 

How to clean rabbits feet

One good way how to clean rabbits feet is using a vinegar solution. Best way to get it off is to place the rabbit in a new, clean wire cage, and let it come of on its own. Vinegar works wonders. 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water is a pretty solid mix.

Soak a cotton ball in it for a few seconds, and then really, really run it into his feet. Leave it on for a bit, and then wash it off. Just make sure it stays on their feet. Not only is it nasty for them to lick off, it might make the fur a little icky.

How often do rabbits need to be washed? 

Now that you know how to clean a pet rabbit, don’t bathe them too often! Frequent rabbit bathing will do more harm to your rabbit than good. Even if you use rabbit formulated pet shampoos, frequent bath times will strip your rabbit’s fur from its natural oils (which is good for them).

Rabbits do not need to be washed unless they are especially dirty or if they have build-up in their scent glands.

Even then, it is more advisable to do spot cleaning rather than having to wet your bunny’s entire body with water. This could lead to skin problems such as lack of luster in the coat, itching, and bald spots. 

Trust your rabbit’s grooming skills and let them live as they are. You may wash them infrequently but make sure that you know all the dos and don’ts.

If you notice that your rabbit has been grooming itself and that you have kept their hutches and cages clean but they still smell, then there might be another underlying cause. A visit to the vet is always advised when a situation like this presents itself.