Author Topic: How often to clean completely?  (Read 2498 times)

Offline 1lila1

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How often to clean completely?
« on: June 15, 2006, 07:23:29 PM »
After reading the thread about wipe downs I think I clean my cage too much.  I do a complete scrub down every week in the shower.  A few days later and I can smell my boys again.  And this is with using BiOdor in their water.  I change the litter out every week but that is not really what stinks.  I use CellSorb which is great at odor control but it's the upper levels of their cage that smell like pee a few days later.  I always put a little bit of old litter in thier cage so it has their smell and I don't wash one or two cage items so that it still smells like home to them.

I read that too much cleaning can cause them to mark more...and my boys are definitely markers.  Do you think I should be wiping more instead of cleaning so much?  Do you think once a week is making them insecure and causing them to stink up their cage so fast?  Any suggestions would be much appreciated as I love my boyz but only want to smell their wonderful rattie fur smell..NOT their pee smell!   :BlueDumboBigEyes:

*edited to add:  Cage size is a Martin's R-695, 30x18x36.  There are five boys in there.*

Here's a bit of cuteness for everyone, off topic of course.  This is Theodore when he was a baby.  He's 5 mos old and is a big rattie boy now.  I think baby PEW's are just the cutest things ever!!!!


Lila, the dog, saying hi to the new member of the family:


Ok, that's it for now, more to come later!   ;D
« Last Edit: June 15, 2006, 07:29:19 PM by 1lila1 »
Mama to 5 rattie boyz, 1 kittie boy, and 1 doggie girl.

Offline Lise

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 10:07:35 PM »
I don't know anything about boys, so I can't help you there but I do a full scrub in the shower once a week as well.

Wipe-downs don't work very well unless you have something covering your floors such as the linoleum it seems lots of people are using now.  The pee can get caked onto the power coated bars and really does need to be scrubbed off, I find.
|| Lise ||

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& Always Remembered: Molly, Nora, Tevy, Lucy, Guinness, Seagram, Pixie, Cleopatra, Skye, Bella, Juno, Sasha, Gibson

Offline wonderrodent

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2006, 12:52:41 AM »
Are the upper levels covered with anything? If not, try plastic needle point canvas or plastic shelf liners or pieces of fleece. They are all easy to clean or wash.


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Offline 1lila1

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2006, 08:52:54 AM »
I see, so the shelves are covered with something.  It is a pain to wipe down bars.  I usually cover certain areas with cloth and fabric remnants so I can change them out frequently.  They have really delicate respiratory systems so I have to keep everything as clean as possible.

I think I'll continue my weekly scrub downs then and leaving a little of thier smell in there for them.
Mama to 5 rattie boyz, 1 kittie boy, and 1 doggie girl.

Offline wonderrodent

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2006, 09:19:06 AM »
I think you are doing just fine scrubbing every week. Especially if they have respiratory problems the urine build up is a big issue. Great that you care so much. There is nothing wrong with cleaning - even if the ratties might be insulted for a day  ;D
I think it's hard to get the urine out between the wires that's why I cover mine up. I use the needle point canvas and cut it to the size to fit the levels. I clean it in bleach water every week and there is no smell whatsoever. On top of the canvas I have fleece pieces. I also have the canvas on the ramps. Since the canvas has little holes zip ties (or whatever they are called) fit through them perfectly to fasten the canvas to the ramp. Well, I still scrub down the whole cage every week but I think covering up the levels (and changing the fleece pieces every few days) helps tremendously. Also, it's all cheap stuff.


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Offline SweetTwinks

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2006, 11:00:25 AM »
I have two boys and I do a weekly scrubdown, daily wipe down (I use the plastic canvas) plus daily scooping.  My boys are litter box trained so I scoop the areas where they pee.  I still smell some odor but it's not overpowering and some of it is their boy musky scent.

Offline Amykins

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2006, 11:08:01 AM »
I take everything out of the cage and do a complete wash down once a month.  Bedding is changed daily or once every few days (if it's not soiled).  Bowls and water bottle are daily.  Poop scooping is also daily.  My new boys don't seem to stink too much though- my other boys were a constant cleaning disaster.

Offline jorats

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2006, 12:09:30 PM »
With such sensitive lungs, once a week scrub downs are a must. I've got two cages: one with 13 rats and one with 7 rats. Everyweek, I do a big scrub down and wash all the toys, change linens. Everyday I clean out their litter trays. Every second day I change their linens. I have Martin's cages, I put down fleece and bathmats on their floors, I change those every second day and wash the level as well with either baby wipes or soap and water.
Ammonia build up in urine is fast and deadly. So don't worry about the cleaning, it can never be too much for rats.
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Offline 1lila1

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2006, 12:59:55 PM »
Thanks for the replies, I feel better about the weekly scrub down.  What I do is put the whole cage in the shower (minus accessories, of course) and let the shower pour down on it for about 5 min straight.  Then I use a vinegar water solution with a teeny bit of dish soap and scrub everywhere.  Then I let it rinse for another five minutes.  Sometimes I spray ZerOdor on the cage but I think I'm going to stop that because the cage doesn't stink right after cleaning and when I spray it on inbetween cleanings it only works for a few hours or so. 

Next time I go to the store I'm going to pick up that Clorox Everywhere spray and see how that does for inbetween cleanings.  I'd have to spray the bars and then wipe them off because I always leave lots of bar space open because sometimes given the choice between soft fluffy sleeping spots my boys will choose to sleep on the bare wire.  Esp. in the summer, I think it's cooler or something.  Anyone else notice their ratties prefering the bare wire?

It's not that my cage reeks or stinks up my whole house or anything, I just really hate to smell anything at all and am paranoid about ammonia build up.  Everything I've read says that if you can smell the cage then it's too dirty so any little smell makes me feel like I'm slacking or something.
Mama to 5 rattie boyz, 1 kittie boy, and 1 doggie girl.

Offline jorats

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2006, 01:24:01 PM »
Smelling a dirty cage and smelling the rat's natural musky body odors are two different things. Does it really smell like urine or just your rats' body odor? You will never rid your home of the natural smell of rats if you keep rats. It's like going into a home and you just know they have a dog.
Be careful with that Clorox Anywhere. I've read the MSDS and it does state that with prolonged use, you need to use ppe (personal protective equipment) So with rats, if they have their cage sprayed everyday with that stuff, that would be considered prolonged use.

Also, the vinegar in water and small bit of detergent is great! That's what I use as well.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 01:25:59 PM by jorats »
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Offline KoalaLou2

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2006, 02:12:39 PM »
I've been wanting to change how I clean my cage and would love if someone could give me a bit more information about the vinegar/water combo.  I clean in the shower as well and have been using household cleaners (that are approved for using on food surfaces so they are safe for the boys) and soap.  Is this just a white vinegar with water in a spray bottle?  How long should it sit with the solution on it?  Any immediate responses would be great as I plan on cleaning the boy's cage tonight.  Its a Superpet so they don't sit on the bars (I wash the shelves seperately) but I try to clean the bars at least once a week.
Thanks!
Adoring slave to three rats (Edward, Templeton, and Theodore) and three dogs (Holly and Mia the Greyhounds, Cadie the Brittany)

Angels waiting at the bridge.... Wendi, Josie, Petrie, Minski, Teebs, Dribbles, Milo, and Mr Smuckers, who took my heart with him.  Always remembered, always loved

Offline SweetTwinks

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2006, 02:26:55 PM »
I scrub my boys cage in the shower w/ a dish scrubber and dish detergent.  After rinsing, i spray undiluted vinegar on the cage...let it sit for 10 min. then i spray the cage w/ undiluted peroxide....let it sit for 10 min. I rinse it all off...some folks leave it on I think?  works wonders and is very inexpensive AND easy to find all the cleaning items.

Offline jorats

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2006, 02:36:47 PM »
If you bring it in the shower, I would spray it on and rinse. You don't need to let it sit too long unless there's heavy soil to clean off.
Joanne
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Offline 1lila1

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2006, 03:58:04 PM »
I just fill up a pitcher with hot water, a squirt of dish soap, and a tablespoon or two of vinegar and wipe the cage down, levels, ramps, and walls.  I also make sure to get under each ramp and level.  I don't let it sit on the cage.  As soon as I'm done scrubbing I rinse it under the shower for about 5 minutes then dry it off with a towel.  The whole thing takes about 20-30 min.  I find what takes the longest is taking everything out of the cage, cleaning all the accessories, then redoing the whole cage.  I wash all the hard surface stuff with the same vinegar soap solution.  The cloth stuff is washed in fragrance free dye free detergent.   

I also never use any antibacterial soaps in my house.  All they do is contribute to the growth of resistant bacteria which renders them useless after one or two bottles.  People underestimate the power of plain old soap and water to get rid of germs.
Mama to 5 rattie boyz, 1 kittie boy, and 1 doggie girl.

Offline ilovedorks313

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2006, 08:38:28 PM »
I have 3 boys in a Coast RC-7 cage.  I do a complete dismantling and scrubbing weekly.  I empty the bottom pan and spray generously with white vinegar (not diluted).  then i spray the rest of the cage making extra sure to get the areas where hair and crud builds up the most.  I spray down all toys, dishes, and other hard plastic items with vinegar too.  then I hose it all down (garden hose now that its summer, but I'll be back in the shower in a few months).  I let it air dry until I can't stand it anymore then I dry everything off completely and then wipe it all down with Nature's Miracle DeOderizing Wipes. When the cage gets smelly (3-4 days later) I change out all linens* and wipe down the floors and their favorite hiding places with the Natures Miracle Wipes. that keeps things smelling nice until its cleaning day again.

*I have recently switched from shelf liners for the wire floors to fabric (cut up old clothes).  There has been a HUGE difference in the odor and the cleanliness of the cage.  It smells less and there is way less gunk built up around the edges.  I will never go back to shelf liners again!

Also, it is important to note that I work on a farm and I either can't smell most animal smells or they really don't bother me.
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Offline Ratwings

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Re: How often to clean completely?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2006, 11:33:32 PM »
Right now I am doing weekly cleanings of dumping all bedding, cleaning all toys and furniture, washing the pan, and doing a "through wipe down" of the bars with a wet terrycloth towel and Zer-odor or sometimes Nature's Miracle.  I find that the terry cloth towel works great for getting out gunk.  If you don't let it go too long, it is not hard to keep clean, as it doesn't crust on the bars as much.  I don't like using solid shelves for the entire cage because it seems like no matter how much I try to wipe down the surfaces, they always manage to walk around in their puddles. :P  I tried fabric, but it's ripped down and shredded into a nest within a half hour.  I like using a mix-- some solid surfaces, some wire.  During the week I scoop litterboxes, do quick wipedowns, clean plastic canvas as needed.  Once a month or so (usually longer) I'll scrub/shower them down and wash with vingar and HOT water.  I have a Martin's R-680 with 3 girls and Superpet cage that's slightly larger with 4 boys.
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