Cages should be kept clean. But how often you need to clean them out depends on various factors, from cage size, to the number of gerbils. It also depends on you to a certain extent - are you sensitive to pet odors? Gerbils are great in at they give off only low levels of odour, but this may still be detectable to over-sensitive nostrils. If the odor bothers you, cleaning out the cage slightly more frequently is the best option.
Gerbils' cages need cleaning once a week, on average
The general guidance is that two gerbils in one enclosure will need cleaning out once a week. If you have more than two, then (as well as making sure that the cage is adequately sized for the number of gerbils you have) this may need to up this to twice a week.
You may have some success with a technique called spot-cleaning. Gerbils excrete very little urine, and have very dry droppings, so owners can clean particularly dirty areas in-between major cleans to slightly decrease the frequency with which they need to clean out the entire enclosure. If you spot clean regularly then you may be able to only clean the entire enclosure every eight or nine days.
The only situation in which gerbils should be cleaned out less frequently is when one of your gerbils is heavily pregnant, or has given birth to pups less than two weeks ago. Disturbance during this time can be really stressful for the mother, and can even cause her to abandon her litter. It’s best not to clean them out during this time.
If you’re thinking of breeding your gerbils, it’s worth noting that gerbils are really sensitive creatures, so if you want to produce a litter then you’ll need to be very knowledgeable and prepared for the whole process. We recommend that only experts attempt to breed gerbils, as it’s not uncommon for complications and difficulties to occur during and after pregnancy.