I didn't use bleach to clean it every week when I had rats. I bought Chlorhexidine (I'm seeing the widely available brand Nolvasan on most websites) because it's safe to use around animals (non-toxic, non-irritating, which was also important to me--I'm very sensitive to most cleaning chemicals) as well as humans. I think I scrubbed my rat cage down two times a month--but I changed the bedding every week and cleaned out the pan. If the cage itself was really dirty I would either wipe it down (the shelves, the outside) or full-out clean it more than twice a month if needed. If you don't have or want to buy Chlorhexidine, diluted bleach solution (I heard it's ineffective if used full-strength) is always helpful to kill off any unwanted bacteria and other nasties that could make you or your rats sick. Just be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse.