Before you put your pet chinchilla in their cage, it must be cleaned thoroughly. Once they've made it their home, you should clean it at least once a week. To keep the cage smelling fresh, you can use baby cornstarch powder or baking soda (preferably the Arm & Hammer brand). It should be sprinkled in the areas where they urinate. Usually, your pet won't venture into those areas, but if they do, they may contact a fungus.
If your pet's cage has solid flooring, the bedding needs to constantly stay fresh. Keep the flooring area clean and use a disinfectant for the area. Pull-out litter pans that have a wire mesh may be in conflict with solid flooring. If the flooring is wire-based, make sure that you have shelves and mats installed to give your pet relief from standing on the wire mesh.
If you're cleaning your pet's cage at in your shower or outside, you must use disinfectant by scrubbing the cage with pet-safe cleaner soaked brush. Make sure you scrub the cage thoroughly and with lots of elbow grease. Only use hot water to rinse; it is easier to use something that sprays it off, like a hose or a shower attachment. Be sure that the cage is completely dry after rinsing. Any damp spots can produce mold or fungus, which would be detrimental to your pet.
It is strongly suggested that an opaque sheet is used around your pet's cage. This is to contain the dust and other mess that is in the cage. It is also used as a barrier to chinchilla conflicts, in particular from the opposite gender. The sheet gives them the assurance that their area is safe and secure. It also shields them from some of the light during the daytime.
The mesh in the chinchilla's cage should be no more than 1" by 1/2" on the sides and 1/2" by 1/2" on the flooring area. Do not get any mesh that exceeds those measurements; it is dangerous for your pet. If you're not sure about the cage measurements or recommendations, do a search online for assistance. Because they're so active, having ample room to run around is crucial. If you install mesh that is more than what's required, you risk the chance of your chinchilla breaking the leg or foot bones if it gets caught in the mesh. The legs and feet are the most fragile parts of their body.
If your pet does experience difficulty with the mesh, they can suffer the loss of their legs and feet. They can also experience stress from being in the state of being caught up in the mesh. If this stress is not relieved and they remained trapped, your pet can succumb from shock related to the stress. Some chinchillas won't even run around in the cage if they sense that there is too much mesh in there. Somehow they have a sense of their surroundings and know when they can move about freely. Not until they know their area is safe will they resume activity in the cage.