I keep my leopard gecko on unfinished slate tile.

To clean the tile I use the below reptile-safe disinfectant (image source and more info here):

reptile safe disinfectant

and a scourer or scrubbing brush:

scourer scrubbing brush

(image sources here and here)

However, this leaves me with scratch marks on the slate, which doesn't look very nice.

What am I doing wrong? Is the disinfectant too powerful? Should I be using something softer than the scourer/brush? Should I not be scrubbing when the slate is wet?

I don't want to risk not cleaning the terrarium properly, but I also don't want to keep damaging the slate. What can I do?

1 Answer 1


I just wouldn't use the scouring brush, it's meant to be abrasive in order to scrub baked on food off pots and pans so it's a bit overkill in my opinion.

Here is my cleaning routine for my bearded dragon's tank, I can't imagine that it wouldn't work for you, since the temperatures in my tank will be about the same as yours if not a little bit hotter.

Step 1: I fill a plastic storage tote with hot water (So hot I can't put my hand in it) and dish soap (I always use Dawn), then take the tiles out of the tank and put them into the water to soak.

Step 2: I clean inside the tank with paper towels and disinfectant. There'll inevitably be stuff that gets in between the tiles and underneath them, so it's good to clean under there and get rid of/prevent anything from smelling bad.

Step 3: I wipe down the tiles with some paper towels. Usually by the time I'm done cleaning the tank the water will have cooled down enough so that I can put my hands in to grab the tiles, if I had to guess, I'd say it takes about 5-10 minutes. Because they've been soaking in the hot water, usually all I have to do is wipe the tiles with a paper towel and any residue will come right off. If for some reason you need to have something that is stronger than a paper towel, or just don't want to kill so many trees, you could have a normal sponge set aside for cleaning the tiles.

Step 4: At this point, all I'll do is rinse the tiles off to get rid of the soap, then dry them and put them back into the tank.

Step 5: Clean the plastic tote. I have a lot of the same plastic totes since I got them on sale one time. So just in case I forget which one I used to hold the gross cleaning water, I'll take them after I use them and rinse them out with bleach water. Marking one to use each time would probably be smarter.

Optional: I'll usually wipe down the tiles with the disinfectant after I put them into the tank, just because near the end of scrubbing them the soapy water can get kind of gross, so I just want to be safe and make sure there's no bacteria that makes it through the cleaning process. This isn't necessary since I washed them with soap, but I like redundancy in these types of processes.

  • I find if she craps on the hot end of the tank, it only takes a few hours for it to get kind of "baked on" (leo poos are probably smaller than beardie ones ;) ), which is the reason for the "overkill". Letting them soak is a great alternative, hadn't thought of that. I'll need to buy something big enough to put them in. Is dish soap safe to use? How thoroughly do I need to wash it off afterwards? The tiles I use are unfinished and really rough, so they're quite absorbent. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 15:39
  • This is pretty much exactly what I do now. Soaking in hot water is just so much more effective. Thanks, and a belated green tick. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:18

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