I saw on a forum once that hot water is enough to clean a reptile water bowl and I'm a little skeptical of this. Is this enough to clean it or should I use diluted vinegar, disinfectant such as Wipe Out, or a bleach solution?

Presently I have been using hot water and rinse every day, then every week or two I will do a "deep clean" and use a diluted vinegar solution to clean it, then let it stand for a while. I was thinking i maybe should disinfect it every time with a diluted vinegar solution but I wanted to know if this is needed?

Also is Wipe Out in the water dish bad? I use it for disinfecting the cage so it shouldn't be THAAAAT bad for the snake to be around but it could be different for the water dish.


Technically hot water would be enough to clean the bowl, but not really sanitize it. Unless we're talking about boiling hot water. It also might be a bit different with snakes, but my lizards defecate in their water dish all the time. So I want to keep their bowl sanitary if they're also going to drink out of it.

Personally I use dish soap, but I also have a "non-toxic" brand cage cleaning solution that's main ingredient is vinegar. Bleach should be fine as long as you rinse it out thoroughly before refilling it and putting it back in the vivarium.

Even if your reptile doesn't defecate in the water dish, I'd suggest using a bit of cleaning solution. Because they might have stepped in/through some of their feces, and then into their water dish. So even though it looks clean it might not be. Soap also helps break up the slime that builds up in water dishes that comes from their saliva as they drink.

  • Yeah my snakes have never defecated IN the bowl but sometimes they will in places i dont catch until later (aka the hides) and they crawl through the bowl all the time. so you think non-toxic dish soap is fine? Where can i get said dish soap? Is there a specific brand you use?
    – Ian
    May 6 '16 at 15:12
  • I use Dawn dish soap, which you should be able to find in most grocery stores or supermarkets in the cleaning aisle (though I'm not sure about outside the USA). Though I'm sure the formulas are similar enough that other brands should work as well.
    – Spidercat
    May 6 '16 at 15:27
  • Oh cool. I didnt know dawn was non toxic. I assume just the regular dawn then? I think I have some of that at my house already.
    – Ian
    May 6 '16 at 15:55
  • Plain or scented doesn't matter since you're rinsing it all off anyways. ;)
    – Spidercat
    May 6 '16 at 17:44

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