How Often should you Clean a Tarantula Enclosure?

Tarantula enclosures might not need to be cleaned very often, but not staying on top of the hygiene can cause problems. Not cleaning the enclosure can lead to mold, mites, and other unwanted organisms outbreaks. These things might not be harmful in low numbers, but they can quickly become a problem.

Tarantula enclosures do not need regular cleaning, but you should inspect the cage for mess and bad smells. Spot cleaning will ensure the enclosure is clean without being too intrusive for the tarantula. A tarantula enclosure only needs to be a slightly more intensive clean every 4 – 6 months.

While deep cleaning a tarantula enclosure isn’t needed, it’s still important to know how to clean up after your eight-legged companion. Not knowing how to care for the tarantulas’ home correctly will lead to problems in the future.

How Often should I Clean a Tarantula Enclosure?

Tarantula enclosures should be spot cleaned regularly, but deep cleans are not often needed assuming environmental conditions are right. The enclosure will only need a good clean every 4 – 6 months. Most enclosures can go much longer than this without receiving a good clean.

The overall tarantula enclosure does not need regular cleaning, but a few things must be done regularly.

  • Residual food must be removed if it has not been eaten after 24 hours
  • Discarded food waste must be removed from the enclosure after 24 hours
  • Tarantula molts should be removed once the tarantula has recovered from the molt (after 24 hours)
  • If the water in the water dish is dirty, it must be replaced with fresh water
  • Tarantula poop should be cleaned up when possible

It’s not always possible to clean specific areas of the enclosure without stressing or risking harm to the tarantula. Tarantulas will sometimes poop in places that cannot be easily cleaned without risking damage to the burrow. In that case, it’s best to leave it alone until it’s possible to safely catch the tarantula and remove them from the enclosure while you clean it.

What Happens if I Never Clean a Tarantula Enclosure?

Not cleaning the tarantula enclosure can result in explosive mold growth, soil mites, springtails and other soil animals. Preventing large outbreaks of these is much easier than stopping an active outbreak. While they might not harm the tarantula initially, they can become a problem later. 

While some enclosure mold is not typically harmful to tarantulas, too much mold can be detrimental. Not cleaning the enclosure will cause mold growth from the food waste, tarantula poop and dirty water. We have a more detailed article here covering tarantula enclosure mold.

Mites are not generally harmful to tarantulas. Parasitic mites are rare in captivity and are only found on wild-caught tarantulas. Soil mites are beneficial to tarantula enclosures, but a high population can be problematic. We have a more detailed article here covering tarantula mites.

How to Spot Clean a Tarantula Enclosure 

To spot clean a tarantula enclosure, check it visually every few days. Remove any obvious and easy to reach waste from the enclosure, such as food remains or leftover food. Check the water dish and replace the water if needed.

Spot cleaning a tarantula enclosure is the best way to clean them. It requires very little work and prevents the tarantula from getting stressed. Simply removing waste products from the enclosure regularly will prevent mold growth and control the population of detrivores such as soil mites inside the enclosure.

Does a Tarantula Enclosure need Cleaning if it Smells Bad?

If a tarantula enclosure smells terrible, there are three potential causes. A mold outbreak, a bacteria outbreak or a prey item has died and begun rotting inside the enclosure. In all cases, the tarantula needs to be rehoused, and the enclosure must be deep cleaned.

Mold outbreaks can happen when an enclosure is humid and lacks ventilation. This can be visually detected and ae obvious to most tarantula keepers. Dealing with mold can be tricky, so we have a more detailed article here covering tarantula enclosure mold.

A bioactive enclosure is more likely to suffer from a bacteria outbreak ( The population of that bacteria in your enclosure will increase for different reasons, but it’s usually due to a lack of microfauna (mites and springtails), or the substrate is waterlogged. When anaerobic bacteria grow out of control, they often produce a terrible smell similar to sulfur or rotten eggs.

If a prey item escapes the tarantula and hides inside the enclosure, it may die without you being able to find the body. When that animal starts to decompose, it will release nasty smells.

If the enclosure smells very bad, you must rehouse the tarantula in all cases. The substrate needs to be replaced, and the enclosure must be cleaned thoroughly. If possible, the enclosure and accessories from it should be sterilized.

How Often does a Tarantula Enclosure need Deep Cleaning?

Tarantula enclosures only need a deep clean if something is wrong such as a mold outbreak or a horrible smell. This is not something that should be done regularly. If the enclosure requires a regular deep clean, this is a sign that the environmental conditions are bad.

If a tarantula enclosure needs regular deep cleaning due to mold, bad smells or a severe outbreak of mites, then this is a sign something is wrong. This is typically a sign that you’re doing something wrong with the tarantulas’ care, which could put their life at risk. You need to investigate the potential causes of these problems and correct them to prevent further outbreaks.

How Often should I change the Tarantula Enclosure Water Dish?

A tarantula water dish should be changed whenever it gets dirty. This means the water must be replaced when there’s waste such as excess food. Some tarantulas will also put substrate in their water dish; the water inside needs to be replaced when this happens.

The dish must contain water at all times for the tarantula, but they don’t need a water change daily. Changing the water should be part of standard spot cleaning for the enclosure. The water dish should be put close to the enclosure entrance, so it’s easy to remove when needed.

Sometimes it will be difficult to remove the water dish due to the tarantula webbing over it or being very defensive. Removing the tarantula from the enclosure and placing them into a catch cup will make changing the water easier in this case. However, if it’s not possible to safely catch the tarantula, you can also wait a few days before trying again. Tarantulas will also drink water on their webbing if they cannot access the water dish.

Should I remove Webbing to Clean a Tarantula Enclosure?

You do not need to remove or disturb tarantula webbing unless you need to remove something moldy from it or a dead prey item. If the tarantula webs over the water dish, you will need to destroy some of the webbing to access it.

Tarantula webbing rarely needs to be removed or destroyed inside the enclosure, even if it looks dirty. Webbing only needs to be disturbed if there’s something in it that might threaten the health of the tarantula or if it’s covering the water dish.

How often should I change the Tarantula Enclosure Bedding?

Substrate rarely needs to be cleaned, changed or removed and replaced. As long as the enclosure is regularly spot cleaned, there should be no need to replace the substrate. Doing this will stress the tarantula and is not advised unless necessary.

Introducing springtails and isopods to a tarantula enclosure as a clean-up crew will help reduce the waste inside the enclosure and drastically reduce mold growth. The substrate would only need to be replaced if there is a severe mould outbreak or uncontrolled growth of beneficial substrate animals such as mites or springtails.

A tarantula enclosure with the proper environmental conditions will not need regular substrate changes.

Is it Dangerous to Regularly Clean a Tarantula Enclousre?

Depending on the species, cleaning a tarantula enclosure can be dangerous to both you and your tarantula. Urticating hairs could be on the substrate, which may become embedded in your skin while working inside it. Cleaning can also be stressful for tarantulas.

Some tarantulas are defensive and will threat pose or attempt to strike at you when working inside the enclosure. Using the spot cleaning method will reduce how much you need to work inside the inclosure to keep you both safe. If required, you could temporarily remove the tarantula from the enclosure, but this is not ideal as it causes them additional stress.

We can hurt tarantulas when working inside the enclosure. If they lunge at us for being inside their home, we may drop the tweezers as a reflex which could injure them. We might also cause a burrow collapse which could crush them if we try to force them out of the enclosure if the substrate needs to be replaced.

When working around a very defensive tarantula, it’s best to take it slow and take steps to limit the need to work inside the enclosure. Adding springtails and isopods will help keep the enclosure clean without you needing to remove tarantula poop. This will also help to prevent the need to replace the substrate.


Tarantula enclosures need to be spot cleaned a few times a week to ensure there’s no build-up of waste which may cause problems such as mold. Regular cleaning of this type will protect the enclosure and the tarantula from needing a deep clean, which is risky. Deep cleaning is very stressful for a tarantula, which could put their lives at risk. It’s best to perform spot cleaning only when needed and only replace the water dish when required.

Written by:


Stuart is the editor of SpiderAdvice.