Author Topic: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)  (Read 2394 times)

Offline Foxx

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Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« on: October 02, 2006, 05:11:06 PM »
Hi!  I am a fairly new rat owner with only one complaint about the little guys--they STINK.  The whole room they're in smells pretty strongly of rat urine and I think it's from the cage.  I have done three full cage cleans (removing bedding, cleaning with vinegar/peroxide, replacing hammocks, etc.) since I got them on septemer 24th.  And they still smell.  I'm not sure how to get rid of the cage smell.

There are wo things I think could be a problem.  One, on the middle floor, I put linoleum down on it so they'd have a more solid floor.  It's not really necessary since the wire spacing is fine for rats, and I get the feeling urine might be soaking into the cardboard I put under the linoleum as a backing.  Two, the cage is galvanized wire.  I've heard it traps urine smell and corrodes, however, I've also been told even more that vinegar will get rid of the urine smell issue in galvanised wire.  The cage was also heavily used when i got it and had NO odor whatsoever so I don't think it's the wire.  My best guess is on the linoleum/cardboard.

For economical/environmental sanity I switched to towel bedding and washcloth hammocks... I change them out every 2 days.  Changing aspen every few days and paying for it would have been a nightmare.  it STILL smells after I've changed it out and done the vinegar/peroxide wash!

Any tips on what to do to keep rat cage odor minimal?  Should I just take out that lino?  Here's how it's laid out if it helps any.


Offline ladytiger7647

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2006, 05:17:51 PM »
I personally use Yesterday's News which I think does 10 times better then aspen and is somewhat cheaper if you know where you get it. Cardboard backing would be a problem, I suggest getting rid of the lino.
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Offline jessiree

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2006, 07:51:49 PM »
I don't know of any amount of cleaning that is going to get the urine smell out of galvanized wire.  I'm sorry, but it just plain stinks.

The cage might not have been stinky when you got it because whatever was in it used a litter box maybe?  I know that my boys prefer to pee everywhere, especially on the wire.  yuck.
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Offline Foxx

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2006, 07:55:47 PM »
I don't know of any amount of cleaning that is going to get the urine smell out of galvanized wire.  I'm sorry, but it just plain stinks.

The cage might not have been stinky when you got it because whatever was in it used a litter box maybe?  I know that my boys prefer to pee everywhere, especially on the wire.  yuck.

I know the chinchillas weren't litter trained... I had to scrub their poop off of the bars.  And the bars themselves don't seem to smell at all.  Lots of people have said galvanised will stink... the smell just doesn't seem to come from the wire, if that makes any sense.  I really think it's the lino/cardboard.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2006, 08:03:09 PM by Foxx »

Offline javakittie

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2006, 09:08:17 PM »
[I haven't had enough caffiene today, so forgive any random oddness..]

The cardboard has most likely soaked up all that pee and is a nice, disgusting mess by now.. Cardboard baaaad. It smells funky all on it's own when just wet.. You can just put the lino flat down onto the surface of the cage. from what I understand, it will peel up for those serious cage cleanings.

Okay, when you say full cage cleaning, are you scrubbing the cage with the vinegar/peroxide? Or are you just doing like a wipe down sort of thing with it? Also, if you've scrubbed the cage 3 times in.. what, a week? Anyhow, you may be cleaning too much.. They gotta go around and make it smell like them again. Change the towels out every 2-3 days, and just use a water damp washcloth to wipe down the levels and the lino. The galvanized might not smell directly bad right now, but it holds the smell and kinda amplifies it, from my own experience. It just has this funky smell when the urine hits it. Nasty stuff. I had a wheel for my hamsters outta that stuff. Oi! Did that thing smell godawful! And it does eventually start to smell all on it's own..

Okay..I think that's it..

Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2006, 12:59:17 AM »
Cardboard can smell quite quickly (as does newspaper). The galvanized wire will start to smell if it hasn't already. Sometimes it's not even a urine smell but a funky metallic rusty smell. And vinegar on galvanized wire also smells way funky.

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Offline gem_max

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2006, 03:57:43 AM »
Hey Foxx. I'm pretty new to rat owning now too, but I've managed to get rid of smell issues. I know what you mean though. When I first started the rats cage smelt like a toilet and I kept wondering why people said rats were clean and odorless.

My biggest savour was daily wipe downs with baby wipes. Though they're unscented they left the cage much fresher and made cleaning day much easier as I didnt have to scrub any ingrained stickiness. The rats themselves get wiped about 2wce to once weekly as they can get smelly themselves, sometimes more so than the cage!

Also my guys seem to prefer to sleep on plain hard floors. They toss any fabric out of their igloo and sleep either on it or the lino. So I've been able to limit fabric and I think above all else it's the fabric that smells. And fabric takes so long to dry that the wet urine smell hangs around and gets all over the rats.

I'm Australian so it's the time of year when we open windows and airflow in the room has definitely helped. The cage is also in the open kitchen/dining/lounge/stairwell level so that helps as opposed to a tiny room.

The litter tray in my new cage is now down just above ankle level which has cut smell further as it used to be at couch level.

I have 2 males so you'd expect lots of territory marking, and there was in the beginning but I now have 2 pavers in the cage, also down low, and they prefer to pee on them as they're pourous. They seem to absorb the smell and I just boil them when needed. Basically it means theyre peeing in specific locations rather than all over the cage. I have lots of cardboard boxes in the cage, but they still prefer to pee on the bricks or in big puddles on the lino. I just check and soak them up with a paper towel when I visit the cage.

I've also found the 2cm bar spacing on this new cage (compared to 1cm) has been much less stinky. I've only had them in the cage 24hours yet there's basically no smell, despite the 7 stories that thye could be peeing on and I havent done a wipe today. In my 1cm spaced cage with only 2 levels the pee smell would have been obvious by now.

This is just what I have found works, though my actual cage has never been smelly (as you've said it's probably not the cage either), just the fabric and rats in it. Try these things out though if your season allows and best of luck! Other than that I think your layout looks great and roomy and hope you're having as much fun in this new ratty world as i am!

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Offline Foxx

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2006, 04:58:34 AM »
[I haven't had enough caffiene today, so forgive any random oddness..]

The cardboard has most likely soaked up all that pee and is a nice, disgusting mess by now.. Cardboard baaaad. It smells funky all on it's own when just wet.. You can just put the lino flat down onto the surface of the cage. from what I understand, it will peel up for those serious cage cleanings.

Okay, when you say full cage cleaning, are you scrubbing the cage with the vinegar/peroxide? Or are you just doing like a wipe down sort of thing with it? etc...

I was wiping down the linoleum cover on the second floor with the scrub downs every other day.  But I cut out and pulled out the lino, and the smell was reduced straightaway.  I just did rat laundry so now will be the REAL test--will they mark the cleaned stuff?  If not, the rat room smells just fine as it stands so it should remain good.  The towels and cloths smell very faintly of rat so maybe they'll feel their territory has been established with them.  I sure hope so, anyway.

Cardboard can smell quite quickly (as does newspaper). The galvanized wire will start to smell if it hasn't already. Sometimes it's not even a urine smell but a funky metallic rusty smell. And vinegar on galvanized wire also smells way funky.

-Melina

Haven't noticed anything like that myself, but I guess I'll see.  The cage had been used pretty well before I got it and had no smell.  But it had also been out of use (but not cleaned) for a while when I got it.

Hey Foxx. I'm pretty new to rat owning now too, but I've managed to get rid of smell issues. I know what you mean though. When I first started the rats cage smelt like a toilet and I kept wondering why people said rats were clean and odorless.

My biggest savour was daily wipe downs with baby wipes. Though they're unscented they left the cage much fresher and made cleaning day much easier as I didnt have to scrub any ingrained stickiness. The rats themselves get wiped about 2wce to once weekly as they can get smelly themselves, sometimes more so than the cage!

Etc...

I LOVE these forums!

Awesome tips, thanks.  You and everyone.  :)

The smell got better after I switched to towel bedding that gets changed every 2-3 days.  All of the cloth was marked at some point and has now been laundered.  So if they smell themselves enough and don't feel the need to mark, I'm going to be thrilled.  I'll have to also consider the bit about the pavers... ar ethey just the stone tile type things you see in walkways to houses?  It'll help their claws, too.

Thank you all.  I'll post an update here in a couple of days to see if they've taken to marking or not.

Offline Svenna

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2006, 01:35:33 PM »
I am not sure what it's called, but I saw a product at Petco that claims to eliminate any smells from animal poop and pee. You put it in the water, and it's supposed to work within a week. I'm not positive if it's rat-safe, but it's something to look into if the smell doesnt stop.

Offline Popcorn

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Re: Cage smell issues (tips requested!)
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2006, 01:58:48 PM »
I have a rat rescue and usually have 30 - 40 rats at any given time and most of them are in galvanized cages.  I use aspen as their bedding since using cloth would mean doing 20 loads of laundry a week!   :eek:  Nooo way!

When I first started out I had real issues with smell and it took me a while to work it out.  I now adhear to a strict schedule of changing the bedding - every 5 to 7 days depending on the size of the cage and how many rats are in it.  When I change the bedding I also clean the trays and wipe down the bars with Simple Solution.

Every few weeks I take the cages outside and scrub them down with my pressure washer and a bbq brush.  It has to be a nice day because I then let them dry in the sun and I follow that up by giving them a light misting with a product called Disinfect-Disinfect-Disinfect.  It has been my life saver.  Since I started using D-D-D my odour problems have become almost non-existent.  A lot of people argue that since D-D-D has a light peachy scent that it must be bad but I have to disagree.  I have more rats than most of you but have had no problems with myco or respiratory infections since starting to use D-D-D and I think that speaks for itself.  If scent is so bad for them why are my guys healthy?

http://gallery.bcentral.com/GID5123261P4072002-Sanitize-Disinfectants/Disinfect-Disinfect-Disinfect/Disinfect-Disinfect-Disinfect-8-oz.aspx

I have the 8 oz. bottle and since the mist is so fine it is still almost 1/2 full even after using it for over 6 months.  I use it in my bathroom too!

The funniest part of all this is that Disinfect-Disinfect-Disinfect is meant for use in nail salons! :yelcutelaugh:

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