Purchasing bedding for mice can be an expensive proposition, especially if you purchase it in small quantities from pet stores, which often charge the highest prices. Buying in bulk can be cheaper, but there's an alternative that is even more economical: making your own homemade mouse bedding. You can do this with simple materials that you have around the house, and it only takes a few minutes to do.
Newspaper, or any type of paper, makes one of the best bedding materials for mice. It's cheap, readily available and easy to dispose of in the garbage or recycling bin. Newspaper or other types of paper that are used should contain as little color as possible (don't use the slick, colored ads that come with Sunday papers), and don't use pages of the newspaper that are taken up by full-page ads that contain lots of ink. The less ink there is, the better. Cut the paper up into thin strips, about 1 to 2 inches wide by 6 to 12 inches long, and scatter them in the cage.
Wood chips can make a fantastic bedding for mice, as long as you don't use wood that contains aromatic oils. Stick to non-aromatic wood chips, and–if you can cut them yourself–try to avoid cutting sharp corners. If you cut the wood chips too roughly, the mice may not be able to find an area that is comfortable enough to sleep in, and instead spend their days running around their enclosure. Try to cut the wood chips as thinly as possible, no longer than about 1 to 2 inches.
Cloth, fabric or old pieces of clothing that have been cut into strips all make great bedding for mice, and cloth has the advantage of being reusable, unlike newspaper or wood chips. Be sure that the cloth is clean before cutting it, and don't wash it with cleansers that leave a scent or any residue. A mouse's best sense is its sense of smell, and foreign odors in their bedding can cause mice to be uncomfortable and develop allergies. Like newspaper, cut the cloth into strips that are around 1 to 2 inches wide by 6 to 12 inches in length.
Bedding to Avoid
Try to avoid bedding that contains lots of dust, such as sawdust or hay. This type of bedding can irritate your mouse and cause him to develop allergies. Also avoid pine shavings, or any type of wood that has aromatic oils. These can be harmful, and even deadly, to your mice.
Margaret Worthington has been writing and editing since 2001. Her work includes editorials and articles for a college newspaper, toy articles for Hasbro, copy-editing a romance novel and rewriting a publication for "GreenBlue." Worthington holds an Associate of Arts in English and journalism from Piedmont Virginia Community College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Virginia.